KAPAA — Joel Soriano scored 12 points to lead Waimea over Kapaa, 42-39, in Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys basketball Wednesday night at Bernice Hundley Gym.
His biggest mark came with just two ticks remaining when he dropped the opener of a charity pair to widen the Menehune’s gap to three points.
Kapaa’s Saxsen Shiira screened out Waimea’s Keoni Gaoiran, and Warrior Carson Schmick grabbed the ball, going for a long pass to Tristen Hawelu who crossed the midcourt stripe. But Menehune Dylan Balaan plucked the aerial, moving out of danger as the clock sounded.
“These guys are fighters,” said Kapaa coach Kamahalo Kauhane. “It’s simple things like finishing. The ball rolls their way, but it’s the same situation as before — we need to finish. Kudos to Waimea who came to play.”
Waimea led Kapaa in all quarters except the second frame when Kapaa outgunned Waimea, 16-13. Soriano scored six in the second period. DJ Pabre added four points and Taylon Yadao hit a trey.
“The boys did a great job handling the pressure,” said Dino Pabre, Waimea coach. “This was a team effort. I liked the collaboration between the bench and the boys on the court. Sometimes, you need the extra eyes, and when we called the time out, the bench put in their observations, and the boys on the court listened.”
Gaoiran’s build and strength came into play in the second half where he put up nine points while snaring his share of rebounds and lane-clearing. Pabre finished with eight points and Yadao finished with five points.
“Oh boy,” said Waimea coach Dino Pabre. “I gotta catch my breath on this one. The key for us tonight was execution, and the kids holding their composure. Kapaa played a tight game all the way, and both sides were strong defensively. This was a fun game to watch.”
Saxsen topped Kapaa with 13 points followed by Hawelu with nine points. Schmick added six points, with Noah Rall and Teili Fonua each contributing four points.
“We’re lucky we have two rounds,” Kauhane said. “It’s time to get ready for Round 2. We have work to do.”
Earlier in the evening, Eilon Jamorabon dropped 13 points to lead the Waimea JV team to a 43-30 win over Kapaa’s JV, who got nine points from Kesomi Fonua.
Waimea next hosts Kauai High School on Saturday when the junior varsity tips off at 5:30 p.m. at the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea, followed by the varsity.