HONOLULU – An early fourth quarter run helped Leilehua extend a slim lead into a 46-34 cushion.
Then the Mules held off a furious 3-point barrage late to best Waimea 52-45 in the opening round of the Hawaiian Airlines Boys State Basketball Tournament at the Neal Blaisdell Center on Wednesday.
The loss was the first for the Menehune (8-1) this season. Jeremy Manuel and Jordon Dizon combined for 30 points for Waimea in the setback.
The Menehune will play Friday at 1:45 p.m. in the consolation bracket against the loser of the St. Louis/Kaimuki contest.
Angelo Massey, a five-point per game scorer during the regular season, exploded for 22 against the Menehune including 12 in the third quarter in helping the Mules, which face No. 2 Maui today at 4 p.m, open a 38-32 lead.
Late in the final period, Manuel and Joshua Vinzant nailed several treys to pull the Menehune closer at 46-40.
However, Leilehua hit its free throws to post its 12th win of the 2003 season.
Early on, things didn’t go the Menehune’s way.
After two free throws early in the first quarter gave Waimea a 2-0 edge.
Leilehua scored the next eight points to take a six-point lead. The Mules’ smooth offensive motion prevailed during this run.
However, the Menehune fought back behind the inside play of Dizon.
Dizon bulled his way past Mules’ defenders to score nine points in the first 16 minutes of action.
Waimea eventually tied the score at eight points late in the opening period before a 3-pointer just before the first-quarter buzzer gave the Mules an 11-8 lead heading to the second period.
In the second quarter, neither team could pull away. Waimea would take the lead 17-16 on a trey from Manuel.
Massey answered for Leilehua on a midrange shot to give the Mules a 20-18 halftime lead.
Massey totaled eight points at halftime.
In the third quarter, both teams had better success at the offensive end. Leilehua scored 18 points in the period while Waimea totaled 14.