Monday, Aug. 8, 2022 |
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PUHI — Kauai High School’s varsity boys basketball team defeated Kapaa, 54-42, in Monday’s playoff game at Island School to win the season’s first round.
The Red Raider boys (4-1 KIF, 1-0 playoff) have won four games in a row.
“It’s just hard work. These kids understand what needs to be done every day in practice,” said Kauai head coach Ipo Yoshioka. “It’s defense, defense, defense. They’re starting to understand, and that’s what’s going to happen. If we keep playing defense and our style of basketball, we’ll be OK.
“Nothing is won yet. Nothing is over. It’s just one round,” he added. “We got to stay within ourselves, play defense the way we need to play, and play the game the way we need to play.”
Kauai High had led at the end of the third quarter, 51-29. With a firm lead in hand, the Red Raiders maintained possession as much as possible and ran time off the game clock until the end of the game.
“The whole thing is creating — making things happen on defense that will help your offense,” Yoshioka said. “That’s what we emphasize, and we’re going to keep emphasizing that. That’s how we play. That’s our identity.”
Red Raiders senior forward Kekoa Tecson had 11 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He also had two dunks, including one off a steal and fastbreak at the beginning of the third quarter.
“First, it’s not only me. It’s my team, too,” Tecson said. “Yeah, the dunk hyped us up and it felt good. And the threes were going off today. We can shoot.”
“If felt really good,” he added about winning the first round. “At the beginning, we weren’t playing as a team. We didn’t bond. Now, we started working on our chemistry. It built up, and that’s where we are.”
Kapaa head coach John Kaneholani also said Kauai’s three-point shooting was a factor. The Red Raiders had eight field goals from three-point range and the Warriors had two.
“We thought we came in prepared, but we weren’t prepared for the three-point shooting,” he said. “I thought if we could take away some of it, we’d have a chance. But we couldn’t take away that. A great shooting team, you got to play great defense.”
“No more excuses for that kine loss. We weren’t putting in our shots. If we took our time taking care of the ball, that would have made a difference,” Kaneholani added. “There was a lot of things in the game that could have made a difference, but we weren’t able to do it. I think that was the biggest downfall.”
Yoshioka said the reason the playoff game was played at Island School was because a backboard at Kauai High’s gym is broken. He’s hopeful it will be fixed in time for Friday’s scheduled girls basketball game.
“That one was one me. I was doing maintenance on the board. We were tightening up some screws, and the board just shattered on me,” he said. “We’re going to work hard to make it happen on Friday. We want the girls to have their homecoming game on Friday.”
Sophomore guard Christian Manera had 10 points, three assists and three rebounds for the Red Raiders. Sophomore guard Gunnar Burkman had nine points, all from 3-point range, a rebound and a steal.
Warriors senior forward Mosese Fifita was the game’s leading scorer with 13 points, nine in the second half, seven rebounds and a steal. Junior forward Saxsen Shiira had eight points, seven rebounds and a steal.
The season’s second round begins today with Kapaa (3-2 KIF, 0-1 playoff) hosting Kauai High. The junior varsity game will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
“If they keep focused on what we’re trying to do, what we’re trying to imply, then we’ll have a good time playing basketball,” Kaneholani said.
Kauai will host Waimea (0-4 KIF) on Saturday.
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