Crowd was electric at Kauai, Waimea boys basketball playoff game

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kauai High School’s Gunnar Burkman tries for a basket over the defensive posting of Waimea’s Dylan Balaan as Kai Newall and David Sabo Jr. screen the play action in the fourth quarter Monday during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys basketball game playoffs at the Kauai High School gym.

Surprisingly, I got my pick right.

In last week’s column, I predicted the Philadelphia Eagles would upset the defending-Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

Though I made the pick with my heart over my head (the Patriots don’t need another ring, really), I still wanted to predict the right team at the end. So, I wasn’t too sure of what I had written by the time I clicked send.

But, whew. I got it right, and it was a great game to boot. Scoring galore, record-setting stats and a helluva a finish with Tom Brady’s Hail Mary pass to the end zone.

Should the Eagles have been flagged for pass interference on Rob Gronkowski? Yeah, probably. But it was still a well-played and memorable Super Bowl. Congrats, Philly.

But on to more local matters.

Congrats to Kauai High School’s varsity boys basketball team and girls wrestling team, Kapaa High’s varsity boys soccer team and Waimea High’s boys wrestling team for all winning their respective Kauai Interscholastic Federation championships.

The KIF boys basketball second-round playoff game between Kauai and Waimea, though, is what I wanted to talk about.

I’ve been on Kauai for a few years now and have written about many league championship games. This one, however, stands out.

As I walked toward the front door of Kauai High’s gym, there was a line down the walkway of people waiting to buy tickets. I thought to myself as I walked by, “Huh. That’s different.”

When I made my way inside the gym, the stands already looked packed shoulder-to-shoulder. Each side was either a sea of red and white, or a sea of blue.

The only time I’ve seen a gym on Kauai that full was years ago when University of Hawaii’s men’s basketball team played Chaminade on-island — at Kauai High School coincidentally.

But that crowd wasn’t as loud as the crowd on Monday night. It was almost deafening. One side of the gym roared with every basket scored. It was a game atmosphere I had not seen here before.

It was one of those games where it was a shame that a team had to lose. (To those Waimea boys, chin up. You all played great, too.)

It was definitely one of the more memorable games I’ve covered on Kauai.


Nick Celario can be reached at


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