WAIMEA – It was the first of many anticipated matchups between the Kaua’i Red Raiders and Waimea Menehune this season, and as sure as a Jordon Dizon jumpshot, it lived up to the hype.
Dizon scored 21 points to lead Waimea to a thrilling 46-45 win over Kaua’i Tuesday in the Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation season opener at Clem Gomes Gymnasium.
The Menehune (1-0) were trailing 45-44 with just under two minutes remaining when Dizon, who also had 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, hit a short layup to give Waimea the lead.
Struggling on offense without guard Aukai Dennis, who fouled out in the fourth quarter after scoring a team leading 15 points, the Raiders failed to score the game winning bucket with 7 seconds to go. The Menehune, who trailed by as much as 9 points in the first quarter, batted away several Raider inbound passes in the final moments to steal the win.
Menehune guard Desmond Rodrigues played a big role in the Menehune’s fourth quarter stronghold. Key rebounds coupled with a stifling defensive effort gave Waimea the opportunities it needed down the stretch. Rodrigues finished with just 3 points, but he also had 9 rebounds and 7 assists.
Forward Casey Kaohilaulii, filling in for Austin Alquiza, who left the team before the start of the season, finished with an impressive 11 points, 7 rebounds. Josh Vinzant and Jeremy Manuel each added 6 points.
Raider forward Futi Tavana was a menacing obstacle for the Menehune. He finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 5 emphatic blocks.
Kaua’i guard Alec Reichle added 9 points and 4 assists, and Koa Navarro had 7 points.