LIHUE — The Red Raider boys were nearly perfect on the free throw line in the final minute to edge the Warriors and keep their unbeaten regular season record intact.
Kauai High School’s varsity boys basketball team (6-0 KIF, 2-0 second round) defeated Kapaa, 55-47, at home Tuesday night.
“Getting down the stretch in the fourth quarter, these kids practice for four quarters,” said Kauai Red Raiders head coach Ipo Yoshioka. “Don’t take anything away from Kapaa. They came in with the perfect game plan, the hustle and the power — exactly what I thought they would do. They made some mistakes down the stretch and we took advantage of that. But don’t take anything away from them.”
Kapaa (3-3 KIF, 1-1 second round) committed two technical fouls in the final minute to send Kauai to the free throw line — one for having six players on the court, and the other for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Senior guards Jassem Cumlat and Chavis Garma took the free throws for Kauai and converted all six shots. Kauai made seven of 10 attempts in the final minute.
The Red Raiders were 15-23 from the free throw line overall and Kapaa was 13-19.
“Free throws are a big thing in our practices every day,” Yoshioka said. “It’s part of what we do in our schemes in practice. Free throws are the biggest thing aside from playing defense. We emphasize free throws, and down the stretch, they did their job.”
Kapaa had an 11-4 lead after the first quarter and, at one point, had a double-digit lead in the second. The Red Raiders then made and 11-point run before halftime to cut the deficit, 23-21.
“It’s all part of (having) resilience from the kids. You look at their faces in the first quarter, they didn’t panic,” Yoshioka said. “They knew what they could do, and we just had to hang in there. Whether the outcome turned in their favor or our favor, they didn’t give up. They kept fighting.”
Warriors head coach John Kaneholani said emotions reached a boiling point toward the end and that’s what lead to the two technical fouls.
“The referees didn’t have control of the game, right from the beginning. That’s why everything took off,” The Warriors coach said. “They tried to undercut our players. We came here to play good basketball. Trying to undercut our players is not a good thing because somebody’s going to get hurt.
“To hold the discipline together for all that amount of minutes, I think we did pretty good. We just cracked up at the end,” Kaneholani added. “It’s just too bad that the referees don’t see the danger part of basketball with undercutting players. It goes for two sides. It doesn’t go for one side. We don’t teach that at Kapaa. We don’t teach to undercut. We don’t teach to mouth off to players. We treat everybody with respect, and that’s all we wanted from the game tonight — we wanted some respect. The referees are the ones that control the games. They said things happen. Well, it did happen.”
Sophomore guard Josiah Coatie scored 14 points for Kauai. Senior guard Jassem Cumlat scored 12 points and senior forward Melvin Tingzon scored 11.
“We practice hard together as a team, and we know how to play,” Coatie said. “When we play at our best, we don’t believe anybody can stop us. We just had that confidence. We never panicked. We stayed calm and we got the job done.”
Warriors senior guard Dave Aguinaldo was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points. Sophomore forward Carson Schmick scored nine points and senior forward Joshua Blaine scored eight for Kapaa.
In the junior varsity game, Kapaa won, 64-43. Lexton Camat scored 14 points for the JV Warriors and Bryce Johnson-Cormack scored 18 for the Red Raiders.
Kapaa will play at Waimea (0-6 KIF, 0-2 second round) on Friday. The JV game will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity will follow. Kauai will host Waimea on Tuesday.