LIHUE — Red Raiders senior guard Jassem Cumlat scored the last four points of the game to put his team ahead in the last minute.
With that, Kauai High School’s varsity boys basketball team defeated Kapaa, 44-41, at home Saturday night.
“I wanted the ball. We had to score, so I shot the ball and it went in,” Cumlat said. “It feels good. We needed this win before we go into the second round. We know what to expect against them.”
Down 41-40 going into the final minute, Cumlat hit a mid-range jumper for the go-ahead score. He then made two free throws to ice the victory.
With the win, Kauai (4-0 KIF) won the first round of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season.
“Halfway doesn’t mean repeating, but we’re halfway there,” said Red Raiders head coach Ipo Yoshioka about possibly winning a second consecutive KIF title. “We got through a squeaker tonight. The kids came through. They worked hard and I’m excited for them.
“Kapaa played really well, and I kind of expected it,” he added. “They came here raring to play. I expected them to play really hard. I’m really glad our team pulled it off tonight.”
Kapaa (2-2 KIF) had a 31-26 lead going into the fourth quarter. Cumlat and Kauai senior guard Chavis Garma each made a 3-pointer to even the score, 34-34, with less than six minutes left on the game clock.
Scoring was neck and neck between both teams until Kauai eventually pulled ahead in the final 60 seconds.
“I think we dominated under the boards all night, but we just couldn’t make the baskets under there,” said Kapaa head coach John Kaneholani. “Overall, it’s a big plus for our young team. They’re going to come around. The second round starts Wednesday. We’ll keep working and wait for our next opportunity.”
Cumlat was the game’s leading scorer with 17 points. Senior forward Melvin Tingzon scored 12 points and Garma scored five for Kauai.
“What happened, for us, was that we weren’t really blocking out. We all said that we got to block out,” Tingzon said. “We did, and we just pushed the ball.”
Junior forward Mosese Fifita was Kapaa’s leading scorer with 14 points. Sophomore forward Carson Schmick had nine.
“We basically did everything that was told by our coach. Nothing (more we can do). Just more running and getting conditioned,” Fifita said about gearing up for the second round.
Kauai senior guard Michael Booth sprained his ankle in the second quarter and didn’t return. Yoshioka said he expects him to be back for the team’s next game.
“We talk about this every day in practice — picking it up for the next guy,” Yoshioka said. “When something happens like that, yeah it’s unfortunate. But there’s guys on the bench. That’s why they’re on the team. They’re not there just to sit there.”
Kauai also won the junior varsity game, 58-56.
Kapaa will host Waimea (0-4 KIF) on Wednesday to start the second round of the season.
The JV game will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
Waimea will then host Kauai on Friday.