KAPA‘A — Kaua‘i’s Mikal Moranz had a great game. So did Donavan Harrison, Kerwin Morano and Ricky Tommy.
But three missed free throws, the only three missed by the Red Raiders, and a bad pass sealed its 71-67 loss in double overtime to the Kapa‘a High School Warriors, holder of the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation first round title.
The Raiders and Warriors jousted for the first few minutes of the opening quarter before Kaua‘i settled down to take an 18-8 first quarter lead, its biggest of the night, rolling behind Moranz. He pocketed seven of his game-high 38 points in the quarter.
Harrison added five of his game-total 15 points in the frame, including a three-ball, the Raiders’ only one in the game.
Kapa‘a guard Willis Batol, leading the Warriors with 36 points, fired off seven from outside the three-point arc, those treys critical to keeping the Warriors in the game.
His first one was launched in the second period when he pushed the button on four three-balls to keep Kapa‘a to a 33-24 half-time deficit.
The intermission was marked by Kaua‘i guard Kerwin Morano pulling the trigger on a buzzer-beater which came a breath too late. But the move ignited the audience with the long-distance swisher.
Perhaps that was an omen of things to come as Kapa‘a re-adjusted in the locker room and came back to outscore Kaua‘i 31-22 in the second half.
The press went into action and Kaua‘i stuttered in the third frame, losing the ball twice to the 10-count in getting the ball past mid-court, Moranz being limited to just six points in the second half.
Batol pulled Kapa‘a into the lead with seven minutes left in regulation with the last of his treys to give the Warriors a 48-47 edge.
The see-saw teetered and, with just 24 seconds showing, Ricky Tommy, struggling to find the net in traffic throughout the game, forced the overtime in heavy traffic, the buzzer sounding on a 55-55 deadlock.
Kapa‘a’s Lance Miyashiro gave a final gasp, netting a plus-one with 2:01 showing in the first OT for the 60-59 go-ahead before being buzzed out with his fifth foul.
But Kaua‘i choked on three free throws, one being the opener of a one-and-one before Batol dropped the opener of another one-and-one for the 61-59 edge with 1:32 showing.
Harrison forced the second overtime from under the basket with just eight ticks remaining, the first OT ending in a 61-61 stalemate.
Moranz, spreading 12 points over the two overtime periods, pulled the Raiders to within a digit, 68-67 with 45 seconds showing in the second OT, Kapa‘a pushing ahead on the tail end of a charity pair by Batol with 34 seconds remaining.
Kaua‘i’s fate was sealed on a bad pass in the paint, Kapa‘a taking the ball and Makana Aki bucketing the assist from James Paik for the sealer.
Following Batol, Kapa‘a marked 16 points from Aki, 15 from Miyashiro, 10 from Kainoa Colipano and a pair from Kala Kauhane.
Moranz topped the Kaua‘i effort with 38 points followed by Harrison with 15 marks. Morano and Tommy both added eight points, and Angelo Ramento finished with four marks.
Earlier in the night, Keali‘i Colipano and Denmark Aladin set the pace for the Junior Varsity Warriors with 10 points each in its 61-29 win over the JV Red Raiders.
Jassem Cumlat finished with seven points for Kaua‘i with Kalawaia Judd adding six points, including a three-ball.
Kaua‘i next travels to the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea on Friday as the KIF enters its final week in the boys basketball season.
The JV game tips off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity about 20 minutes after the JV match. Kapa‘a will be at Wilcox Gym at Island School for a single JV exhibition match starting at 5:30 p.m.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.