WAIMEA — Bernie Ned took aim as the crowd cheered, screamed and raised thunder while the final 10 seconds ticked down in overtime Saturday night at the Clem Gomes Gym.
Amid the din as spectators rose from their seats, the ball left the guard’s fingers from outside the three-point arc.
The buzzer sounded midway through the ball’s flight and the sphere clanged harmlessly off the rim, giving Kauai High School a 55-52 win in overtime.
“They (Waimea) played well,” said Kauai coach Ipo Yoshioka. “They made their shots, and they took good shots.”
Waimea battled from the onset as Kauai low post Melvin Tingzon, firing six points in the opening stanza, built the Kauai lead to 10 points, 12-2 before Waimea coach Chris Acoba called a time out.
The 10-point deficit was as large as the Menehune fell throughout the night, the Menehune trimming the gap to 15-8 at the end of the first quarter.
“I don’t know what happened to them,” Acoba said. “Late bloomers? We knew they always had it in them.”
Outgunning Kauai 16-10 in the second frame behind eight points from Kelly Ragasa, Waimea entered the break chasing just a digit, 24-25.
“We’re down to just eight players,” Acoba said. “With just eight players, they gotta come out and play. They gotta play loose.”
The Menehune did just that, coming out in the third quarter behind eight points from guard Jamin Fernandez, including a sorely-needed trey which put Waimea up for the second time in the match, and edging the Raiders 10-9. The performance deadlocked the match 34-34 at the buzzer.
Fernandez’s trey put the Menehune up by one, and at one point, held a three-point lead before Kauai guard Jassem Cumlat responded to deadlock the match at the end of the third quarter.
“In the stretch, they forced us to do a lot of things,” Yoshioka said. “We took a lot of shots, but they didn’t drop. We made some mistakes.”
More seesaw basketball controlled the fourth stanza, Waimea getting its firepower from Bobby Oliver who bucketed five points and Fernandez adding four marks.
Kauai got five points from Cumlat, including a trey which forced overtime following the 47-47 stalemate at the buzzer. Chavis Garma and Kekoa Tecson each dropped four points as Kauai outgunned Waimea, 15-13.
“We keep telling the boys to ‘just have fun,’” Acoba said. “Keep it simple, stick with the basics, play hard and have fun.”
Kauai opened the overtime when Melvin Tingzon, quiet since nailing 10 points in the first half, dropped a two-bouncer for a pair.
Waimea answered when Fernandez launched his second trey of the night, igniting the crowd as Waimea pulled to within one, 53-52 with 35 ticks remaining in overtime.
Kauai’s Josaiah Coatie locked up the win in the final 10 seconds, nailing two free throws for the 55-52 final.
“We’ve been dealing with turnovers the entire season,” Acoba said. “We’ve been averaging more than 20 each game. Tonight, we cut down on that. We just kept the game simple and stayed with the basics.”
Fernandez topped the Menehune scoring on 17 points, including two three-balls with Oliver coming up with a pair of treys and ending with 16 points. Ragasa added eight points, all dropping in the second quarter, Bernie Ned added five points and Seaton Farias chipped in four points.
“They’re big and strong, and we knew that,” Yoshioka said. “Tonight, they showed up to play.”
Cumlat topped the Kauai scoring on 15 points, including his fourth quarter trey to force overtime. Tingzon finished with 14 points with Kekoa Texson and Chavis Garma each ending with six points.
“We’re going to continue to work on what we’ve been doing,” Yoshioka said. “We go back to practice Monday and we’ll be working hard to prepare for Kapaa Tuesday night. They’re another tough team.”
The junior varsity match tips off at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Kauai High School gym followed by the varsity match starting 20 minutes following the completion of the JV match.
Earlier in the evening, Kauai junior varsity rolled to a 56-24 win over Waimea.