KALAHEO — Manas Kshirshgar came up with three big baskets in the fifth period to pull Team Central into the lead Wednesday night.
The outside defender snagged a Gee Unit ball and broke away at the 2:09 mark to give Team Central the lead in the county’s 14 and Under boys basketball matchup at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.
Team Central went on to down the Gee Unit 31-23 in Game 2 while the Lihu‘e Lakers, outfitted in Kalepa Hillsiders shirts, overcame a tenacious Kaulupono defense for a 35-19 win in Game 1.
Throughout the first half, the Gee Unit and Team Central played intense defense and exchanged leads several times before ending the half on a 10-10 stalemate.
V.J. Carineo paced the Gee Unit in the fourth period with two buckets as the Unit shut down Team Central 4-0.
But that was before Team Central ignited in the fifth period behind three buckets from Kshirshgar, a three-point bomb from Travis Taylan and another bucket from Bryan Andres as the whiteshirts outdistanced the Gee Unit11-2.
The torrid firepower continued in the final period as Keane Agoot took the forefront with 6-of-7 free throws as the Unit generated fouls in an attempt at trying to get the ball.
Duke Pauli nailed two buckets to give Team Central its 31-23 final arithmetic. Pauli topped the Team Central effort with 10 points followed by Agoot and Kshirshgar finishing with 6 points each to round out the scoring leaders.
Carineo led the balanced scoring by the Gee Unit, finishing with 6 points followed by Keoni Kinzie adding 5 points. Donovan Harrison, Dayton Bayot and Winston Gee rounded out the math with 4 points apiece.
Allan Bolante led the Lihu‘e Lakers with 9 points in its 35-19 showing.
Ken Ancaias added 8 points and Patrick Tacata rounded out the Lakers’ scoring leaders with 6 points.
“This is still a new team,” coach Peter Rayno said following their win. “They practice in Hanama‘ulu so decided they wanted ‘Kalepa Hillsiders’ on their shirts instead of ‘Lihu‘e Lakers.’ Wait until their fourth or fifth game, they’re going to get even better.”
Brandon Palacio led Kaulupono’s scoring efforts with 6 points, the Westside boys being held to just free throws until the third period when Palacio, Neil Magajanes and Chase Parongao netted buckets.
Paul Oligo Jr. followed in the Kaulupono scoring with 5 free throw points.
Ariel Lahip was also limited to free throws, finishing with 3 from the line.
Saturday’s games move to the Kaua‘i High School Gym where Wailua opens against the Lakers starting at noon.
Team Central goes up against Kaulupono starting at 1 p.m. and the Island Athletics battle Laukona in the third game starting at 2 p.m.