Kauai High wins boys season opener

KAPAA — Warriors forward Saxsen Shiira scored a game-high 20 points, including 14 in the third quarter on Wednesday against Kauai High School at the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa.

But the effort fell short as the Red Raiders rolled to a 63-54 win over Kapaa.

Earlier in the night, Kauai Junior Varsity’s Gavin Toyofuku dropped 13 points to lead the JV Raiders to a 45-20 win over the JV Warriors to complete a sweep at the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season-opener.

Kurtis Pascua-Fujito set the pace for the JV Warriors with six points on a pair from outside the three-point arc in the second quarter. Moses Ho III and Kesomei Fonua added four points apiece in the effort.

“Most of the boys played to what we expected,” said Kauai varsity coach Ipo Yoshioka. “But we didn’t do everything right. We need to fix those things.”

Shiira got the ball rolling for Kapaa, netting four points toward the 9-point stalemate in the opening stanza. He got help from Tristen Hawelu, who tickled the twine on a three-ball and a bucket from Morris Unatoa.

Kauai answered with four points from Christian Manera, pairs from Bryce Johnson-Cormack and Shawn Paglinawan and the opening end of a pair of free throws from Vhincent Agreda.

“This is the first game of a very exciting season,” said Bronson Bautista, a Kapaa coach. “A lot of our boys were overly excited to play.”

The excitement led to mistakes that Kauai capitalized on, including turnovers and missed shots.

Kauai pulled ahead to a 34-25 lead at the half and never looked back.

Joseph Cumlat exploded for 12 second-quarter points to set the pace for Kauai and finished the night with 16 points. Manera had 14 points, scoring seven points in each half.

“Overall, our game was the defense creating the offense,” Yoshioka said. “But Kapaa is no slouch team, and we need to work on making adjustments.”

Kapaa came back from the 9-point deficit and outgunned Kauai 20-14 in the third quarter, fueled by Shiira’s 14 points. Unatoa, who scored seven points in the first half, was held to just a digit in the third quarter before ending the night with 10 points.

“Hats off to Kauai who came to play,” Bautista said. “We definitely have things to work on.”

Following Shiira and Unatoa, Kapaa got scoring from Lester Manique with six points. Hawelu added five points, and Teili Fonua finished with four second-half marks.

Kauai’s scoring was spread beyond Cumlat and Manera with Johnson-Cormack and Kaimani Tecson, each adding eight points. CJ Cromartie had six points, and Palignawan ended with four points.

“This is why this is a season,” Bautista said. “It’s not just a single game.”

Kapaa next travels to the Clem Gomes Gym at Waimea High School on Wednesday. The junior varsity match tips off at 5:30 p.m., followed by the varsity game starting 20 minutes after the JV game.

Kauai will travel to the Wilcox Gym at Island School for a JV exhibition match starting at 6:30 p.m.

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