WAIMEA — Kauai High School’s Christian Manera fired off eight points in the final quarter to lead the Red Raiders to a 66-49 victory over Waimea High School Saturday night at the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea.
Manera’s performance erased the single-digit margin that teetered through three quarters and propelled the Raiders to its victory that clinched the first round of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys basketball season. Kauai outgunned Waimea, 15-8 in the fourth quarter, including Manera’s pair of treys for the final.
“We got off to a slow start,” said Kauai coach Ipo Yoshioka. “The boys picked up the pace toward the end.”
The Red Raiders went to the outside for eight three-point bombs, including Manera who finished with four, Bryce Johnson-Cormack who launched three, and Gunner Burkman adding one in the second quarter to help the team stay ahead of Waimea’s pressure defense.
“Kauai shot the lights out again,” said Waimea coach Dino Pabre. “We couldn’t execute tonight. We had three goals entering tonight’s game — execution, take care of the ball, and make the free throws. The boys played hard, but we couldn’t execute. It’s just another learning experience for us.”
Following a tentative beginning, Kauai went to work behind Johnson-Cormack opening the crate with a trey and continuing to fuel the Raider offense in the first half. He dropped six points in the opening quarter when Kauai set the pace for the game with a 16-8 performance.
Waimea responded in the second stanza, posting a 19-18 showing behind balanced scoring from Joel Soriano (5 points), Kasen Castro (4 points), Bronson Kailikini (4 points), and D.J. Pabre (4 points).
“Waimea is a scrappy team,” Yoshioka said. “They’re all hard players and are well-coached. We always need to be prepared for what they’re capable of doing.”
The Raiders answered the call behind Johnson-Cormack dropping another trey in his 11-point stanza and Burkman fired off his game-total five points, including one three-ball to keep the margin at seven points, 34-27 at the break.
Johnson-Cormack finished with game-high honors at 24 points to lead Kauai to its win that clinched the first round of KIF boys basketball. He got help from Joseph Cumlat who dropped all of his six points in the first quarter to help lead Kauai to its opening 18-6 lead. Burkman added his five second-quarter marks.
Manera came off the break to end with 16 points to fuel the second half, and Shaun Paglinawan ended with four points in addition to his value in the paint. Kaimani Tecson came off the bench for five second-half marks.
Waimea got its lead from Soriano who finished with 13 points followed by Kailikini adding eight points, Pabre finishing with seven points, and Castro marking six points along with Keoni Gaoiran.
“We gotta see what changes we need to make for the next game and work on that,” Coach Dino said. “And we gotta execute.”
Earlier in the evening, the Kauai Junior Varsity gave its coach Clyde Vito a 45-28 victory behind Makana Tavita’s 17 points, Gavin Toyofuku and Keane Tibon’s six points each, and treys from Jaron Ruiz-Acantilado and Travis Duran.
Waimea got six points each from Wade Pimsaguan and Joey Perpose, and five points each from Lacin Montemayor and Arnie Fernandez.
Kauai next hosts Kapaa on Wednesday to open Round 2. The junior varsity match tips off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity matchup at the Kauai High School gym.