Warriors win on buzzer-beater

WAIMEA — Warriors senior forward Saxsen Shiira made the game-winning layup to give his team one last win.

Kapaa High School’s varsity boys basketball team ended its season with a 62-61 overtime win over Waimea on Tuesday evening.

“Two second was left on the clock, and that’s exactly how much time was left the last time we played them here. And they hit a game-winner on us,” Shiira said.

Earlier this season, Waimea defeated Kapaa at home on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by junior forward Joel Soriano, 60-59.

“Everyone loves to hit a game-winner. Come on, man,” Shiira said. “It feels great to put your team on your back and have someone appreciate you, to know that they have your back.”

With two seconds left on the game clock and coming off a timeout, Shiira received the inbounds pass and laid it up as time expired. He was then mobbed by teammates.

Kapaa ends its season with a 2-6 record in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation regular season, going 2-2 in the second round.

“This has been a growing experience for our team, our program,” said Kapaa head coach Kamahalo Ka’uhane. “The KIF is just a blessing. Next year should be really interesting. I go back to thanking our seniors, thank them for creating that next stepping stone for us to build on. And get ready for that because the season starts tomorrow.”

Shiira added about playing his last KIF game: “From when I first started in JV my freshman year, I’ve learned a whole lot from then until now — my last game. They taught me everything from basic to advanced techniques. I hope I can take this knowledge and take it to the next level.”

Trailing after the third period, Waimea (2-5 KIF, 0-3 2nd round) outscored Kapaa 14-10 in the fourth period to force overtime.

Menehune senior guard Kasen Castro hit two of his game-high five three-pointers in the fourth quarter.

“I never had the hot hand the whole season. It just felt like tonight was the night,” Castro said. “I had to do something. I just had to let it all out. It was my last (home) game.”

Waimea had one last possession in regulation. Menehune junior guard D.J. Pabre shot a three-point attempt as time expired, but it didn’t go through and regulation ended with a 56-56 stalemate.

“We put ourselves in a hole early, but the kids fought back again,” said Waimea head coach Dino Pabre. “We played as a team. They didn’t panic. They tried to execute our game plan. This time, Kapaa won. The last time, we won on a last-second shot. Both teams played well. You cannot ask, regardless of the outcome, you couldn’t ask for a better effort by both teams.”

Shiira had 14 points, four rebounds and two steals for Kapaa. Senior guard Triston Hawelu-Inanod had 18 points and three assists. Senior forward Carson Schmick had 11 points and seven rebounds. Junior guard Teili Fonua had nine points, two assists, two rebounds and two steals.

Castro had a game-high 24 points with six rebounds, two steals and two assists for Waimea. Pabre had 19 points and four rebounds. Senior forward Keoni Gaoiran had 13 points, four rebounds and a steal.

Tuesday was Waimea’s senior night. Five Menehune seniors were acknowledged following the game: Castro, Gaoiran, guard Rendel Lim, and forwards Zechariah Ponting and Storm Costales.

“It’s just a big pleasure playing for Waimea High School,” Castro said, who is a two-year varsity player for the Menehune. “I got to learn how they played in the old days. I got to learn how we play now, and I see the difference between it. Just learning as we go. As my senior year comes to an end, it didn’t end the way we wanted but it ended pretty well for me.”

Coach Pabre added about his senior class: “They’re all very positive. They’ve very enthusiastic. They believed in what we’re trying to produce out here. All of our goals, they believed in. Some of them didn’t get playing time, but they came to practice every day with the effort and the attitude that you need to succeed as a team.”

Waimea won the junior varsity game, 47-32. Menehune freshman D.J. Sabo and Warriors sophomore Kesomei Fonua each scored 14 points for their teams.

Waimea will play at Kauai High (7-0 KIF, 3-0 2nd round), who had already clinched this year’s KIF boys basketball championship, on Friday. The JV game will begin 5:30 p.m. and the varsity will follow.

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