LIHUE — Gunner Burkman put up four of the biggest points for Kauai High School in the final minute for the 50-47 win over Kapaa High School Saturday night at the Kauai High School gym.
With less than 20 ticks remaining in the contest, Kapaa was not out of it when coach Kamahalo Kauhane called a time out.
“Our plan was to isolate the shooters and force the overtime,” Kauhane said. “But hats off to Kauai, they read us right. We had our chance.”
The ball went to Tristen Hawelu on the outside, but Kaimani Tecson swept in to capture the ball, moving upcourt with a smile painted on his face as the clock wound down on the victory before a crowd that nearly filled the gym, including Waimea High School coach Dino Pabre who came to see the game’s end following the Menehune’s junior varsity win over Island School in an exhibition match.
“There was a lot of sloppy play out there,” Kauhane said. “We had our breaks. There were a lot of peaks and valleys for us. Everyone scrapped it out there. But it’s a good thing to see our boys get better. We still see things that need fixing.”
Kapaa controlled the game from the onset, capitalizing on the frustration by the Red Raiders at the ball’s inability to drop in the bucket.
With the exception of the first quarter when Bryce Johnson-Cormack dropped a three-ball and a charity pair combining with Christian Manera’s pair of buckets, Kauai held an 11-10 lead, Kapaa getting its mix from Hawelu’s pair of buckets and Carson Schmick adding another pair of field goals.
From there, Kapaa built a 22-20 lead at the break, and despite a lead that spanned 11 points in the third quarter, continued to hold 41-34 margin at the end of three quarters.
The Red Raiders exploded for 16 points, including a crowd-rousing trey from CJ Cromartie, and the Burkman go-ahead bomb, in the final stanza while holding Kapaa to just six points for the come-from-behind win.
“Bryce said it after the last game — ‘Defense creates offense,’” said Kauai coach Ipo Yoshioka. “You saw that in the last 16 seconds. These are good kids.”
Johnson-Cormack led the Raider victory with 16 points, including a trey in the first quarter. He was followed by Burkman who ended with 10 points, including a three-ball in the second, third, and fourth quarters. His game-winning four points was his only score in the final stanza.
“You got to love it,” Yoshioka said. “It keeps your mind strong. Things like this (ball not dropping in the net) happen. You see it everywhere. But you gotta believe in yourself, and your team. If you can, good things will happen.”
Following the scoring leaders, Joseph Cumlat added seven points, Manera bucketed six points, and Cromartie finished with five fourth-quarter points.
Carson Schmick exploded for eight points in the third quarter, Kapaa’s strongest showing, en route to his game-total 14 points. Hawelu, Saxsen Shiira and Teili Fonua each added eight points, and tall man Morris Unatoa was held to four points.
Earler in the night, Gavin Toyofuku netted 10 points and David Pascua added nine points to lead the Kauai junior varsity to a 41-22 win over the junior Warriors who got four points each from Kesomei Fonua and Kaul Rittmeister.
Kapaa next hosts Waimea Wednesday with the junior varsity starting at 5:30 p.m.
“We still have one game to play Saturday,” Yoshioka said. “We’re going to work on that. It’s game by game.”