Red Raider boys thwart Warriors’ rally

KAPAA — The Warriors charged back in the second half, but the Red Raiders held their ground to walk away with a win.

Kauai High School’s varsity boys basketball team defeated Kapaa, 60-53, on the road Wednesday night. With the win, Kauai (2-0 KIF) takes an early lead in the first round of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season.

“That was a battle, and I expect that the next game, too,” said Red Raiders senior guard Jassem Cumlat. “We made a lot of mistakes in that run they had. We got to do a better job next time and not turn the ball over.”

After being down by double digits midway in the third quarter, Kapaa (1-1 KIF) surged with an 11-0 run to end the period with a 39-36 deficit. Junior guard Christian Roslin got two steals that led to the four quick points that started the rally.

Later on, Warriors junior guard Junnard Mata made a layup on a fastbreak to tie the game, 42-42, with just more than five minutes left on the game clock.

“I think part of it (Kapaa closing the gap) was that we got a little lax. I got a little lax. I made a couple of substitution mistakes, but it’s OK. The kids pulled it off. They worked hard,” said Kauai head coach Ipo Yoshioka. “It was a good win, but we still got a lot to work on. Hopefully, we’ll improve on those things and get better. The key is to get better every day.”

As time wound down, however, the Red Raiders took advantage at the free throw line as the Warriors committed fouls to stop the clock. Kauai made 11 of 18 attempts in the fourth quarter, and was 15-30 overall. Cumlat made 8 of those 11 free throws in the final period.

“We had so much opportunities to win the game. We were strong under the boards, but we keep missing (shots), and Kauai High was making second chances,” said Kapaa head coach John Kaneholani. “Now, we know what we can do. We’ll try to master that. Hopefully when we play again, we’ll make more points than turnovers.”

Cumlat was the night’s leading scorer with 20 points. Senior guard Michael Booth scored 10 points and junior forward Kekoa Tecson had 8. 

Senior forward Matt Cummings scored 12 points for the Warriors. Mata, Roslin and sophomore forward Carson Schmick each scored 8 points.

Kapaa, however, was 15-27 from the free throw line. Cummings said he and his team could have possibly won the game if they did better on the free throws, and also not have played so sporadically in the fourth period.

“The last quarter, it was more like selfish ball. You’d see guys just driving and throwing up crazy shots,” Cummings said. “I blame myself, too. I missed a lot of free throws. Free throws killed us. 

“Kauai High, they’re a fast team. When they get on the break, it’s hard to stop them,” he added.

Kapaa will host Waimea (0-2 KIF) on Friday. The JV game begins at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity will follow. Kauai will play at Waimea on Wednesday.

Kapaa won the junior varsity match, 62-53.

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