Kalepa, Gee Unit post opening night wins

KALAHEO — Willis Batol exploded for 27 points to lead the Kalepa Hillsiders over the Ikaika Basketball program, Thursday.

Batol, coming off the bench in the second quarter, netted 16 of his game-total points to lead the Hanama‘ulu boys to a 55-44 showing over the visiting Ikaika out of the Kaimuki area at the Kaua‘i Youth Basketball Association tournament at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.

The Kalepa win joined the Gee Unit as Kaua‘i surviving opening night action that featured four games being played to set the stage for playoffs and the championship round scheduled for this morning (Saturday).

Joe Duronslet netted a dozen points with Tino Ramos and Davone Florence each finishing with 10 points to lead the Gee Unit to its 49-38 showing over the Hornets basketball program, another of the visiting O‘ahu teams.

Earlier in the evening, Jeremy Robinson and Ryan Merkle, scoring 12 and 11 points, respectively, led Kaua‘i Basketball to a 49-35 showing over Waimea.

Malcolm Carter finished the night with a game-high 14 points in that effort.

Mike Makinano showed up Batol’s performance with 37 points to lead the Pu‘uloa Bandits to a 71-43 win in the night’s finale.

Following Makinano, Patrick Ward added a dozen points to the win.

Kekoa Prem and Kekoa Calipano paced the Kapa‘a effort with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Royce Eguchi paced the Ikaika effort by finishing the night with 19 points, 15 marks coming in the second half when the Kaimuki redshirts came alive and stayed close to Kalepa, 24-29, to trim a 26-10 halftime deficit.

Adam Ching finished with 15 points and Brendan Alakatani added 13 points to lead the Hornets’ showing against the Gee Unit.

“The Hornets are a relatively young team,” said Karen Matsumoto, who along with husband Steven and son Tab, are coordinators for the KYBA tournament. “Coach Sean Sugai heard about the tournament from another coach who was here before and decided he would bring his team.”

Matsumoto said the community team is primarily composed of students in private schools and does a lot of traveling to tournaments to get playing time.

“It’s good to see new faces,” said the father of Keane Agoot who was playing for the Kapa‘a team. “Usually, we have to travel to play other teams, but it’s good that we can have this kind of exposure at home.”

Following this tournament, Matsumoto said one for the girls is scheduled for the Fourth of July weekend.

“Dennis Onishi of the Piopio Bears called to say he will be bringing his girls for this tournament, but I don’t know about where they’ll stay because Kalaheo Neighborhood Center is scheduled to be worked on for a new floor,” Matsumoto said.

Also on the schedule for the Fourth of July tournament are a team from Maui, the Kona wahine Wildcats and a team from Ikaika basketball. The visiting teams will be pitted against Kaua‘i teams.

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