Three-ball breaks see-saw in Kapa‘a tournament
KAPA‘A — A launch from three-pointland broke the see-saw, Saturday night at the Kapa‘a Warrior Basketball tournament.
McKinley’s Rio Kwon drew the spotlight with 4.8 ticks remaining in the championship game as he pulled in the inbound, drawing a host of Maui Saber defenders to the outside.
As the clock ticked down, Kwon passed to Lesley Machiguchi, also outside the three-point arc, and with about a second remaining, Machiguchi launched the sphere that swished through the net at the .5 second mark.
That broke a 45-45 deadlock and gave McKinley the first place spot for the Warrior tournament, 48-45.
What followed was an explosion as black-and-gold jersies bobbed on the floor in celebration after the Tigers clinched the title for its second straight year.
“I thought we were going into overtime for sure,” said Alan Branco, one of the court officials. “That was one great game.”
Throughout the see-saw contest, McKinley played cool, controlled ball, never letting the pressure interfere with its crisp passes and good ball movement.
Machiguchi and Alex Ironside set the pace for the Tigers, Machiguchi getting seven and Ironside adding five points for a 15-10 lead after the first period that saw three treys launched by the Tigers.
But Cheyne Vega and BJ Vega teamed for five points apiece to lead Maui to an 18-10 second half to take a 28-25 lead into the half.
The rest did the Tigers good as McKinley returned to outshoot Maui 23-17 in the second half.
BJ Vega pulled the Sabers into the final stalemate of the night with a putback at the :43 mark for the 45-45 deadlock before the inbound play that came following a Tiger time out.
McKinley opened the tournament with a 58-17 win over Island School and advanced to the finals with a 645-45 win over HBA.
Maui advanced to the finals with a solid 76-56 showing over the host Warriors.
That match was pushed ahead of the third place game because Maui had a plane to catch, and following the nail-biter, Kapa‘a, opening the tournament with a 59-47 win over Ka‘u, took on Hawai‘i Baptist Academy for third place.
HBA took an early lead behind the long ball as Vesi Uta found the rim from the outside for eight points en route to the Eagles’ 10-point showing in the opening stanza.
But Kapa‘a went to the speed lane and Daniel Reis, the JV football QB, ignited the twine with a pair of three-balls and a charity pair to lead the Warriors ahead 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Reis finished with 21 points, including three from outside the arc, followed by the other speedy guard, Willis Batol adding 16 points.
Spam Lindsey anchored the inside game and finished with 13 points.
Jun Fritz finished with a game-high 25 points for HBA followed by Kalei Hasaka and Laudry Kiyabu adding 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Kaua‘i Red Raiders, dropping to HBA 71-68 on the opening night, came back with a 51-27 showing over Island School and defeated Ka‘u High School 48-38 for the consolation title.
Waimea, a 68-32 victim of the Sabers on opening night, dropped a 46-43 heartbreaker to Ka‘u before defeating Island School 51-28 for seventh place.
The Warrior JV team takes on St. Louis on Dec. 10 and Farrington on Dec. 11. At the same time, the varsity Kapa‘a Warriors will be participating in the Academy of the Pacific tournament on O‘ahu.
The Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation regular season starts on Dec. 22 when Kapa‘a hosts Kaua‘i, the JV games tipping off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity game.