KAPAA — Kapaa’s Noah Rall dropped a trey and a bucket late in the second quarter to keep the Warriors in the fray against Waimea for a 14-14 deadlock at the break Saturday night at the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa.
The Warriors broke the frustration of a let-down second half and held the Menehune to just three points in the third quarter, and outgunned them, 18-17 in the final frame to claim the 46-34 victory before an appreciative home crowd.
“The boys played better defense, executed better,” said Kapaa coach Kamahalo Kauhane. “We turned over the ball 11 times in the first half. The boys settled down and we lost just four times in the second half. The boys also worked hard on adjusting in defense. You can never count out Waimea because they’re a good team and will come at you — hard.”
Waimea coach Dino Pabre acknowledged the strong Kapaa defense.
“Their zone did us in,” Coach Dino said. “They were well-prepared for us. Basketball is a game of adjustments, and they made the right adjustments. We also couldn’t do the simple things like hitting the free throws, and turnovers — we only had three in the first half, but turned the ball over 10 times in the second half.”
Waimea hit one-for-six from the charity stripe in the first half, Keoni Gaoiran being the only Menehune to find the twine. The performance improved to eight-for-15 in the second half, Gaoiran getting two-for-four en route to his game-total nine points.
“We let them back in,” Coach Dino said. “Our boys played well. This is the team concept — the boys played hard, together, and they played to the end.”
Kapaa showed a five-for-seven performance from the charity stripe in the first half, and continued with a 10-for-17 performance in the second half.
Waimea guard Kasen Castro demonstrated the need for the three-ball to keep teams in contention, leading the Menehune effort with 10 points, including netting three of the five treys in the game. D.J. Pabre added two three-balls toward his nine points before fouling out in the final quarter. Joel Soriano, normally the clutch shooter for Waimea, was held to just four points — all dropping in the second half.
“We finally shook the monkey off our back,” said Kauhane. “Not only the monkey, the whole zoo.”
Carson Schmick topped the Warrior scoring on 11 points, and added value by snaring rebounds inside along with Saxsen Shiira who ended the night with six points, five coming in the final stanza. Rall finished with nine points, including the five critical second-quarter marks that kept Kapaa in the fray.
Rafael Roslin finished with six points, including four in the final quarter, Teili Fonua added five critical second-half points despite taking a break for a checkup following his bleacher-crashing saving lunge, and Tristen Hawelu shook off the cold bug to add four points.
“This is the good thing about the KIF,” Kauhane said. “We still have two more big games ahead of us. We just need to look at it one game at a time. It’s back to work for us. We made some simple mistakes that we need to correct for the next game.”
Earlier in the evening, Waimea junior varsity’s D. J. Sabo peeled off six of Waimea’s seven points in overtime to lead the Menehune JV to a 49-46 win in overtime.
Sabo finished with 17 points and Eilon Jamorabon added 13 points in the win. Kaulu Rittmeister topped the Kapaa JV scoring on 15 points, including two of Kapaa’s four OT marks. Kurtis Fujito-Pascua finished with 12 points.
Waimea next hosts Kauai High School Tuesday at the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea when the junior varsity match tips off at 5:30 p.m.
“This is a totally different game,” Coach Dino said. “We’ve already started doing things, but we start at practice from Monday.”
Kapaa enjoys a bye until Friday when it hosts Kauai High School.