WAIMEA — The Kauai High School boys basketball team rallied from first quarter woes to take a 60-54 win over Waimea High School on Tuesday night before several hundred fans at the Clem Gomes Gym.
“Waimea had a good plan and executed well,” said Kauai coach Ipo Yoshioka. “They played good, tonight.”
The Raiders stumbled through the first quarter, plagued with fouls and turnovers which the Menehune capitalized on and finished the quarter with a 12-7 lead.
Kauai got into foul trouble early, picking up two within the first minute. The Menehune pressure kept the Raiders scoreless until the final three minutes of the eight-minute frame when C.J. Cromartie’s putback of a three-ball and Kaimani Tecson’s trey broke the scoreless run that saw starter Bryce Johnson-Cormack sidelined with two fouls.
“We got better,” said Waimea coach Dino Pabre. “The boys handled the pressure well.”
Kauai chased until the final three minutes of the opening half until a Johnson-Cormack trey knotted the game at 25-25. Waimea pulled ahead, 26-25, on the opener of a charity pair by Joel Soriano. The Raiders forced another tie, 30-30, with 14 ticks showing on the break when Johnson-Cormack bucketed a pair.
The Raiders poured out of the locker room and controlled the second half, pulling ahead on a 19-6 third frame behind six points each from Johnson-Cormack and Joseph Cumlat. Meanwhile,Waimea pulled in four points from DJ Pabre, who finished with high-point honors for Waimea on a game-high 23 points.
“How can you fault the boys?” Pabre said. “Kauai made the baskets when they needed to. Towards the end of the game, I think fatigue was getting to the boys. That resulted in simple mistakes like not making the free throws and turnovers.”
Following DJ Pabre, Soriano netted 13 points for Waimea, followed by guard Kasen Castro finishing with nine points.
“The kids played for each other,” Pabre said. “Team chemistry was one of the goals we set out to accomplish, and the boys represented themselves, and the team, well. All of the Waimea coaches are proud of the way they played out there. We just need to play more up-tempo.”
Johnson-Cormack topped the Kauai scoring on 19 points, including an 11-point second quarter when the Raiders pulled themselves back into the mix. Cumlat added 13 points between the second and third frames, and Tecson added nine points, including a pair of treys. Christian Manera finished with seven points, garnering five in the final quarter to help cement the win.
“We got to go back and work on everything,” Yoshioka said. “We need to play hard, and work more defense.”
Earlier in the evening, Kauai junior varsity’s Makana Tavita nailed the opener of a charity pair to keep the JV Raiders ahead with just seconds remaining in its 51-49 win over Waimea. Tavita scored 14 points toward the victory with Brixdale Ramos adding eight points and Jaron Ruiz Acantilado ending the night with seven marks.
DJ Sabo led the Junior Menehune on 11 points with Wade Pimsaguan and Eilon Jamorabon each adding 10 points.
Kauai High School next travels to the Bernice Hundley Gym on Friday to meet the Kapaa Warriors. The JV contest tipping off at 5:30 p.m.