LIHUE – They blew a 9 point lead with 7 turnovers in the fourth quarter, but forward Jordon Dizon and the Waimea Menehune refused to lose.
Not after leading comfortably for 3 quarters. Not after holding Raider phenom Futi Tavana to just 5 points.
Dizon’s free-throw and emphatic block with seconds remaining gave the Menehune a stunning 48-47 win over the Kaua’i Red Raiders Friday at the Raiderdome in Lihue.
The Menehune (3-0) led 36-31 heading into the fourth quarter, and extended their lead to 9 after back-to-back buckets by Josh Vinzant and Lanikai Kanehele.
The Raiders (1-2) chipped into the lead, capitalizing on 4 consecutive Waimea turnovers with 6 straight points – on a jumper from Aukai Dennis and free throws from Alec Reichle and Jonathan Smith.
Dizon, who finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks, hit a layup with 3:34 left to give the Menehune offense a jumpstart, and guards Jay Parinas and Alan Manuel answered with 4 foul shots to give Waimea a 46-40 lead.
But the Raiders found an answer in guard Koa Navarro, who hit two straight three-pointers to tie the game at 47-apiece with 1:05 remaining.
Dizon, pumping himself up during the ensuing time-out, found enough emotion to lead Waimea to its three-game win streak. His free-throw and emphatic block on the Raiders’ final possession closed the door on the second shocking bout between the Raiders and Menehune.
The Raiders fell to the Menehune in the season opener, 46-45.
The second thriller was similar to the first, except this time the Menehune found a way to silence Tavana. The center, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds in the first meeting, was held to 5 points and 4 rebounds last night.
The Raider backcourt, however, stepped it up in Tavana’s absence. Alec Reichle led the Raiders with 16 points and 5 rebounds. Dennis added 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals. And Navarro’s three treys have him 9 points.
In the absence of guard Desmond Rodrigues, Waimea got an all-around performance from Vinzant, who had 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Manuel and Parinas each had 6 points and Kanahele added 4.