With Waimea leading 62-60, star player Chris Newcomb fouled out with 10.7 seconds left of the championship game, sending Kaua‘i’s Basil Walton to the line with a chance to tie it up. Walton had to make both free throws to force the much-needed four-minute overtime to try and take the game.
As the first one went down amidst a sea of fluttering arms and jumping bodies, the crowd got louder.
Waimea fans did their best to distract the one player who stood between them and the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation title.
The second Walton free throw dropped. Dana Tayco had a chance to win it for Waimea with less than two ticks on the clock, but he came up empty.
In a game that went bucket for bucket, Kaua‘i prevailed over Waimea 73-70 in overtime, giving them the championship and a spot in the state championship tournament.
Kaua‘i led by one at the half at 30-29, but had built a 40-33 lead in the third, only to have Waimea retake the lead going into the fourth.
The turning point came after Tyrus Ceria-Lux was called on a technical foul for taunting at the 4:06 mark.
Newcomb dropped two buckets and Tayco added another with a minute to play to give Waimea a 42-41 advantage at the buzzer.
After grappling with the tough Kaua‘i defense throughout the night, the Menehune found a solution in Vincent Geronimo’s tough inside game that reaped 12 points, all coming in the fourth and overtime.
When Ceria-Lux, who posted 14 points, fouled out for Kaua‘i, it was time for his teammates to step up.
Walton stepped up, scoring 22 points in the game while giving credit to his team after it.
“It’s all our team. We were working as a team,” he said. “Even our second and third teams stepped it out.”
Walton said he didn’t feel added pressure when his Ceria-Lux fouled out.
“You know, when that happens, we fall together. We got to step it up,” Walton said.
Kaua‘i’s Jordan Cox, who scored 13 points, knew it was going to be a good game.
“Waimea played tough, they brought it tonight,” Cox said. “Winning is just breathtaking.”
Kaua‘i head coach Ipo Yoshioka didn’t doubt his team for a second.
“It’s all about heart and the kids knew it and that’s how they were able to pull it off,” Yoshioka said.
Waimea’s head coach Alton Montemayor acknowledged Kaua‘i’s efforts.
“We didn’t get our free throws in and had our open spots in the end,” he said.
Newcomb finished with 18 points to lead the Menehune before fouling out. Calsen Agrade fouled out in overtime, but not before posting 14 points. Tayco’s ball-handling abilities moved the ball around the taller Raider defense, and combined with his 6-6 showing at the charity stripe, finished with 13 points.
Kaua‘i goes on to the state championship tournament at the Stan Sheriff Center on O‘ahu starting Feb. 20.
• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or firstname.lastname@example.org. Dennis Fujimoto contributed to this story.