LAHAINA >> Chaminade strikes again. Emphatically.
The Division II Silverswords executed a full-on rout of California of the Pac-12 in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational seventh-place game today, 96-72, their eighth all-time win in their signature event.
The host team’s first win here since 2012 against Texas came courtesy of balanced scoring, hot 3-point shooting and exceptional ball control in the face of fullcourt pressure. The lead was as large as 30 late.
“How ’bout those Silverswords, huh?” Chaminade coach Eric Bovaird said.
With Bovaird playing an eight-man rotation, six ’Swords scored in double figures. Guard Dantley Walker led the way with 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including 7-for-10 from long range. Point guard Austin Pope guided his team with 12 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and just one turnover.
“I think (there’s) about two minutes left and I think Austin scored one of his many late buckets, and I thought, man, we really did it,” said Walker, a 5-foot-10 senior. “I’ve been coming here for three years, and this is the most special moment I’ve had, so it’s pretty awesome.”
It was the largest margin of victory for Chaminade on Maui. The previous mark was 15 points, 77-62 over Davidson in the first edition of the tournament in 1984.
The Silverswords are being rotated out of the tournament starting next year and will only play on Maui every other year.
The Silverswords (3-2) went 2-0 in an Alaska tournament to open the season, then lost to 83-56 to No. 13 Notre Dame in the first round Monday and 102-64 to Michigan in the consolation semifinals Tuesday. They bounced back quickly for today’s 9:30 a.m. game, with the 5-foot-10 senior Walker coming out firing and staking his team to an early lead.
“I knew going in if we played against Cal Berkeley and we played hard, I knew we could beat them, and we got it done,” Pope said. “We didn’t have much time to prepare, but we got it done.”
Chaminade claimed a 10-point halftime lead and shredded Cal’s press after the break. The Silverswords finished shooting 55.6 percent with 22 assists against 11 turnovers.
Walker’s sixth 3-pointer, from way downtown with a hand in his face, made it a 20-point game with seven minutes left. Chaminade finished 14-for-25 (56 percent) from 3-point range.
Big man Erik Scheive scored 14 points off the bench on 6-for-7 shooting, Brett Reed contributed 12 points on 5-for-8, and guards Grant Dressler and Justin Bridges scored 10 apiece.
It was a precipitous drop for Cal (2-4), which led No. 6 Wichita State by 18 points in the first round on Monday before succumbing late and losing by 10. The Golden Bears then lost 83-69 to VCU on Day 2.
“For me, in all the years that I’ve been coaching, I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life from the lack of effort from our guys,” said first-year Cal coach Wyking Jones, who afterward went up to Bovaird to congratulate him.
Honolulu native Justice Sueing, the son of the former Hawaii player of the same name, led the Bears with 23 points on 9-for-18 shooting. He hit a 3 at the final horn.