KAPAA — The Red Raiders won on the road to collect a second-consecutive Kauai Interscholastic Federation title.
Kauai High School’s varsity boys basketball team (8-0 KIF, 4-0 second round) defeated Kapaa on Friday night, to not only win another KIF championship, but to finish the past two seasons without a loss.
“It’s like history in the making. 16-0 and two KIF (titles), that’s pretty crazy,” said Kauai senior guard Jassem Cumlat, who was the game’s leading scorer with 19 points. “Everybody was really close. Nobody was jealous. Whoever was playing, nobody was jealous. We played as a team, on offense and defense.”
In the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, sophomore guard Josiah Coatie nailed two 3-pointers to help further Kauai’s lead.
“It’s my first year coming here, coming from South Carolina,” Coatie said. “It means a lot to come here and get a win with players that have really brought me in as a family member.”
When asked what a second-consecutive title meant to him, Red Raiders head coach Ipo Yoshioka deferred and gave the credit to his players.
“Hard work, late nights watching film, talking to these kids and keeping them on track and commitment from the kids. Basically, that’s what it is — commitment from the kids,” Yoshioka said. “We keep teaching and hope it all falls in place. Tonight, it did.”
Warriors senior guard Joshua Blaine injured his ankle in the opening quarter. He returned to finish the game despite the discomfort. He finished the game as Kapaa’s leading scorer with 12 points.
“I just came down wrong on it. It was the worst time of the season, but things happen,” Blaine said. “It was bothering me, but I did what I did to fight through it and help my teammates.”
Kapaa head coach John Kaneholani said the deciding factor was his team’s inability to make shots when it counted.
“We had a lot of crucial shots that we didn’t make. That was the game,” he said. “There were free throws we didn’t make and layups we didn’t make. We ran the fast break and made some bad passes. But that’s part of basketball and part of learning.”
At the end, six Kapaa seniors played their last home game: Blaine, guard Dave Alquinaldo, forward Matt Cummings, forward Majael Cantu, forward Quinten Silva and forward Zebolan Martinez.
Cummings had nine points and Alquinaldo had five.
“We came out firing. I’m proud of this team and to leave as a senior. I know they’ll take it next year,” Cummings said. “It’s a big honor to put on the jersey of Kapaa. We put in a lot of work in practice. We kill ourselves in practice just to play on this court.”
Senior forward Melvin Tingzon scored 13 points for Kauai. Coatie had 11 points and senior Michael Booth had six.
Kauai will play at the New City Nissan Boys Basketball Championships — Division II tournament on Oahu later this month.
“Last year, we were surprised. We weren’t expecting that kind of talent from the other teams,” Cumlat said about his experience playing at states last year. “This year, it’s expected. We just know what to expect now.”