Kauai High School’s boys basketball team defeated Waimea 49-41 on the road Wednesday night.
The Red Raiders are 2-0 in conference play.
“We squeaked by and got lucky,” said Kauai head coach Ipo Yoshioka. “Sometimes luck helps.”
Despite a low-scoring first half, Kauai managed a slim lead.
“I don’t think it’s what they did. It’s what we did,” said Kauai forward Melvin Tingzon, who finished with 16 points. “We can’t take games like this lightly. We’ve got to play hard.”
Despite the loss, Waimea head coach Chris Acoba said his team was much improved since its 73-31 defeat to Kapaa the previous week.
However, he also saw his team make the same mistakes again – fouls and turnovers – and hopes to get that corrected.
“Our big men got in foul trouble,” he said. “Got to work on that.”
“I tell them, ‘What you do in practice is what you’re going to do in games.’ You can’t be flopping around at practice and expect to shine at game time.”
Yoshioka said his team should not underestimate any opponent.
“They’re long, big and strong,” Yoshioka said. “Waimea had a good game plan. They got back in transition to set up their defense. That’s what I was afraid of.”
Both team’s offenses picked up during the second half.
Waimea got its first lead when forward Christian Acob hit a three-pointer minutes into the third quarter.
Kauai, however, got the lead back in the next possession and never lost it.
Acob finished with 15 points, including four from three-point range.
“I got more confident in my shots,” he said. “I was getting the arc. They just went in.”
Acob didn’t think he would get a chance to play because he was cut from the team prior to the season’s start.
Acoba said he gave Acob another chance because his roster grew thinner.
“We lost one of our wingmen and we didn’t want to bring up anyone from JV,” Acoba said. “We wanted to bring in players that tried out for us. He was next in line.”
“He’s a humble kid. He just took every step and rolled with it. Now he’s on the court starting.”
Although Waimea has yet to win this season, Acoba said he hopes his team will build on its performance.
“Tonight was a positive because it was competitive,” he said. “We can be competitive. Hopefully we’ll win one game, get over the hump and start rolling.”
Although Kauai is winning, Yoshioka said his team can’t afford to relax.
“You come back, work hard and prepare,” he said. “Next week will be another dog fight, so we have to prepare even better.”
Waimea next takes on Kapaa at Waimea High School on Saturday, with JV action beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Kauai next plays Kapaa Jan. 15 at Kapaa High. Junior varsity leads off at 5:30 p.m.
Kauai’s junior varsity squad defeated Waimea 39-27.
Kauai’s Bryce Johnson-McCormack and Waimea’s Levi Sagucio led in scoring for their team with eight points each.