LIHUE — Kaua’i won a game on Tuesday.
Kapa’a made a statement.
Without Futi Tavana, the Warriors might have won their first game of the season.
Tavana scored 27 points and added 10 rebounds and 8 blocks to lead the Raiders to a suprisingly close 65-51 win at Kaua’i High Gymnasium in Lihue.
The Warriors (0-2), coming off a dismal 58-19 loss to Waimea, bounced back with resilience to give the Raiders a game they didn’t expect they’d have to play.
The Raiders (1-1), intrenched in a rivalry with the Menehune, who they lost to 46-45 in the season-opener, were shocked to find themselves down 15-12 to Kapa’a after the first quarter. Six turnovers and the absence of Tavana, who was shadowed by Kapa’a forwards Ryan Cram and Amini Ta’ufo’ou in the first, sent a message from Kapa’a to the KIF that there is in fact a basketball team on the east-side of Kaua’i, and it will be a factor this season.
Tavana, of course, made sure the Raiders got out alive. The Raider center, held to just 2 points in the first, scored 16 in the second to give Kaua’i a 30-28 halftime lead.
The absence of Cram, who fell into foul trouble in the second quarter, played a major role in the Raider resurgence. Cram finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Ta’ufo’ou’s foul troubles put him on the bench in the fourth quarter, making it difficult for the Warrior frontcourt to deal with Tavana.
The Raiders began to roll in the third. They outscored Kapa’a 18-8 in the period and took a comfortable lead through the fourth quarter.
Alec Reichle, who finished with 14 points, hit several free throws in the waning moments to seal the Raiders’ first win of the season.
The Raiders got 8 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists from guard Aukai Dennis. Warren Lee had 6 points on two treys.
The Warriors had 7 points from Brian Domingo and Brandon Wong. Jonny Po Hooikaika and Randy Vicoy each added 6.