PUHI — Michael Kaneko triggered a pair of three-point bombs in the final minute of play to pull Ho‘ouila from a five-point deficit to a 42-40 win over Westside Basketball Thursday.
With the lead for either team staying within three points through most of the game, Westside enjoyed its greatest lead with 2:37 remaining when Jed Lagoc dropped the opener of a charity pair for the 35-30 lead.
Mark Lacierna responded for Ho‘ouila with an “and one,” trimming the Hanama‘ulu deficit to just a pair with 2:02 showing.
Briggs Agu pulled Westside up to 38-34 with the tail end of another charity pair before Kaneko unleashed his first trey to pull Ho‘ouila back into the fray, 37-38, and with less than a minute to play, Kaneko tied the match with his second three-ball, 40-40.
Ho‘ouila guard Kelvin Ganotisi netted two of his game-total six points with six seconds showing on the clock, slipping in a layup for the 42-40 final.
That game opened the night of basketball at the 2011 Merv Lopes Kaua‘i Hoops Classic Thursday night at the Wilcox Gym at the Island School campus.
Hosted by Team Central Basketball, Ho‘ouila split its double-header, dropping its second game 48-11 to AAU-Kaua‘i who got 10 points from guard Tystin Gummerus and seven points from Solomone Manupule.
Arick Yasay, marking nine points in its opening win over Westside, was held to just three points against AAU-Kaua‘i. Strong forward Mark Lacierna, dropping six points against Westside, topped the Ho‘ouila effort against AAU-Kaua‘i with seven points.
Christian Acob topped the Westside Basketball effort in the opener with 12 points followed by Lagoc adding the nine points, Kamea Alquiza adding seven points and Reymundo Mendoza finishing with six points.
Tysen Hickcox finished with 11 points to lead the Aiea Blazers to its 26-22 win the the second of four matches played at Island School.
Seven Blazers added two points apiece in the tough win on the hardwood where both teams put up a physical and quick slugfest.
Christian Kessell, Matthew Garcia, Brandon Lee, Aryn Antonio, Benjamin Sakai, Matthew Urcia and Rusty Fontes were the Blazers marking pairs.
Keali‘i Colipano topped the Flying Hawaiians’ scoring with 11 points followed by Tommy Paulwin adding five points. Moses Fifita, Junard Mata and Wheeler Batol each finished with pairs.
Charles Apuna of UpCountry Kings, a team visiting from Maui, finished with a game-high 11 points, but the Maui visitors succumbed to Hanakila, 33-29, the team coached by Philip Baclayon getting nine points from Bryson Nacapuy and six points from James Stevens.
Pool play in the Merv Lopes Kaua‘i Hoops Classic continues Friday with five games on tap starting at 4 p.m.
UpCountry Kings, AAU-Kaua‘i and Hanakila have the double-headers, the Maui team opening against Ho‘ouila at 4 p.m. and against AAU-Kaua‘i at 6 p.m.
Hanakila opens at 5 p.m. against the Aiea Blazers and follow that game with the finale against AAU-Kaua‘i at 8 p.m.
Playoff rounds start from 10 a.m., Saturday with the Championship game tipping off at 2 p.m. at the Wilcox Gym on the Island School campus.
There is no admission charge to view the matches and a food booth is available at the gym.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.