Fueled by last year’s disappointment, there was no stopping Hawaii Baptist Academy.
The Eagles, spurred by pinpoint offensive execution and coach Teoni Obrey’s defensive game plan, swept Seabury Hall 25-22, 25-23, 26-24 in a tightly contested Division II final at the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Volleyball State Championships.
The title is HBA’s third in the D-II state championships, all under Obrey. HBA finished the season 17-3.
A crowd of about 1,000 watched at McKinley Student Council Gym as Chad Barretta and Mike Fisher were cannons from either side of HBA’s attack. Barretta, a 6-foot-4 junior, landed 20 kills (.364) and Fisher, a 6-6 sophomore, pounded 14 kills (.250).
"Last year, we had an unexpected turn in our season and it didn’t turn out how we wanted it to," said Barretta, who also had two blocks and two aces. "We took that on like a burden this year and made sure we pulled it out."
"We have more consistency," Fisher said. "We have a lot of fun when we play and we play for each other a lot more. You gotta have the energy and have fun. It’s fantastic."
HBA’s balanced attack also included 11 combined kills by middles John Kuioka (six), Kaimana Triska (three) and Nathan Le (two).
Setter Mason Ohta, one of nine underclassmen on the roster, dished 41 assists. His high sets to the edge of the net were difficult even for the tall Spartans to defend against. The Eagles hit .344 and added five aces with just six service errors.
HBA’s history was felt. The Eagles fell in last year’s semifinal round to Pahoa. That served as fuel for this year’s title run.
"This was an opportunity for the kids to accomplish their goals," Obrey said. "It feels awesome. Volleyball’s a game and they can enjoy themselves while they get better."
The back row was seamless, led by libero Kalei Hosaka, who had a team-high 12 digs.
"Tonight, everyone in the back row was playing really well," Hosaka said. "We played as a team."
Junior Rocky DeLyon led Seabury Hall (14-2) with 14 kills. Conner Snow had seven kills, while Alex Wright and Shane Jacob tallied six each. Sophomore Max DeLyon had 31 assists and David Dunn had 13 digs.
The Maui Interscholastic League champs hit well (.333), but had nine serving errors with only two aces.
"We made some mistakes here and there. A point here and there and you win. They got those and we didn’t," Seabury Hall coach Caleb Palmer said. "HBA is good in every aspect, their passing, they serve very well. Nothing is easy. Our guys played their hearts out. Nobody thought we’d be here except for us."
HBA put a slight twist on its serving strategy, singling out Seabury Hall’s most productive hitters, including Lyons and Snow. That kept the two weapons under control.
"It was fun. I wouldn’t have it any other way," Snow said. "That’s the sign of a great team, it’s three or four points either way and shows what HBA can do under pressure and what an inexperienced team has to deal with. I’m proud of my team. We’ve put so much effort and work into it. I’ve loved every moment playing for coach with all the ups and downs."
The Eagles were the top seed, but Seabury Hall was on fire this week after repelling Lanakila Baptist and previously unbeaten Castle.
The Spartans led the opening set 12-9, but HBA went on an 11-3 run to take control.
Seabury Hall bounced back from the first-set loss and got five blocks from Jacob, a 6-1 junior, in the second game. A 20-18 lead faded, however, with a serving error, an overpass and a hitting error. The Spartans tied it at 23-all on a kill by Snow, but Barretta came up with a kill, giving HBA the lead. On his next swing, Seabury Hall came up with a dig, but the ball fell from 12 feet up to the middle of the floor as nobody stepped in.
The stunning end to another fierce set left HBA with a 2-0 lead, but a sweep was still unlikely between the Eagles, ranked No. 4 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10, and the fifth-ranked Spartans.
With the match on the line, Seabury Hall battled and forced eight lead changes in the third set. A kill by Snow tied it at 23-all, but Triska’s kill down the middle gave HBA a one-point edge.
Another Snow kill tied it again, but Barretta and Fisher put the match away with kills.
Seabury Hall will lose key seniors to graduation, but will have a talented core of returnees next season.
"I definitely would like playing HBA in the finals next year. It’s just a great rivalry," Rocky DeLyon said. "We have guys on the team who can step up."
Hawaii Baptist leaders–Kills: Chad Barretta 20, Michael Fisher 14. Aces: Barretta 2. Blocks: Barretta 2. Digs: Kalei Hosaka 12. Assists: Mason Ohta 23.
Seabury Hall leaders–Kills: Rocky DeLyon 14. Aces: Max DeLyon 1, David Dunn 1. Blocks: Shane Jacob 5. Digs: Dunn 13. Assists: Max DeLyon 33.
KOHALA DEF. CASTLE
Christopher Roxburgh had 10 kills as the Cowboys (17-1) beat the Knights (16-2) in the third-place game.
Kohala leaders–Kills: Christopher Roxburgh 10. Aces: Elias Hood 1, Johnny Hiraoka 1. Blocks: none. Digs: Donald Wong Jr. 12, Kulia Aveiro-Kalaniopio 12. Assists: Mano Thomson 17.
Castle leaders–Kills: Charlie Hendrix 5. Aces: Hendrix 1, Iyama Faatafa 1. Blocks: Maka Piedad 1, Nu’i Furtado 1, Hendrix 1. Digs: Kam Kam-Aweau 21. Assists: Piedad 6, Faatafa 6.
KAHUKU DEF. HAWAII PREP
24-26, 25-18, 15-9
Shairone Thompson had 22 kills with only four errors as the Red Raiders (14-6) beat Ka Makani (11-7) in the fifth-place game.
Kahuku leaders–Kills: Shairone Thompson 22. Aces: Quayd Ah You 3. Blocks: Joseph Fonoimoana 3. Digs: Joshua Lum 26. Assists: Ah You 27.
Hawaii Prep leaders–Kills: Kyle Katase 11, Keanu Yamamoto 9. Aces: Yamamoto 1, Katase 1. Blocks: Tyler Van Kirk 1. Digs: Yamamoto 29. Assists: Chris Copeland 29.
» OH Chad Barretta (HBA)
» OH Christopher Roxburgh (Kohala)
» OH Rocky DeLyon (Seabury Hall)
» MB Donald Wong Jr. (Kohala)
» MB Shairone Thompson (Kahuku)
» S Mason Ohta (HBA)
» Libero Kulia Aveiro-Kalaniopio (Kohala)
» Most Outstanding Player: Michael Fisher (HBA)