KALAHEO — Cee Jay Vidinha of Na Koa shot the lights out Thursday during the county’s Winter League Boys Division I championships at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.
Vidinha was just one of two scorers for the Eastside team, coached by Kamahalo Kauhane, and launched three 3-point bombs for a game-high 17 points to lead Na Koa to a 32-30 edge over Team Lihue Warriors A for the Division I title before a large crowd.
He was joined by low post Mone Malafu who finished with 13 points, including a first-half trey that pushed Na Koa to a 19-11 lead over the Warriors at the break.
The Lihue Warriors battled back against the eight-point deficit, holding Na Koa scoreless in the fourth period while piling up nine points behind four points from Syrus Delos Reyes and three marks from Hans Carlos — his only score in the game.
The seesaw lead tetered throughout the night Delos Reyes pulled the Warriors to another stalemate by dropping the tail end of a charity pair in the final three minutes of play.
But Na Koa answered with a Vidinha three-ball followed by a bucket for the 30-25 go-ahead with 2:38 remaining.
Delos Reyes dropped another bucket at the minute mark. Elijah Lautej, Lihue low post, bucketed with 38 ticks remaining to pull the Warriors to within a point 30-29.
Vidinha found the net with less than 25 seconds remaining to seal the 32-30 win as the Na Koa bench and family erupted in cheer.
“We had our chances,” said Max Manera, Team Lihue Warriors A coach. “But we couldn’t make the free throws. We could have turned it when Na Koa drew a technical foul, but again, we couldn’t make the free throws, and we turned over the ball.”
Overall, the Warriors drained just two points on eight attempts at the foul line in the sixth period.
Delos Reyes topped the Warriors’ scoring with 11 points followed by Lautej with 10 points.
The Warriors finished by accepting the Sportsmanship trophy for its performance by players, coaches, and fans throughout the season for students in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades.
Westside, coached by Tony Magaoay, was presented the Participation trophy for having the most number of players turn out consistently during its scheduled games.
Evan Batalucco netted eight points to lead Papalina A to a 33-15 win over the Kauai Thunder for third place honors in the league, which is hosting games for Division II, or students in grades 6, 7 and 8.
AJ Wilson and Tyrus Kaawai each finished with five points to help fuel the win.
Kala‘i Esteban found the net for nine points, including a trey in the first period, to lead the Kauai Thunder scoring. Kailer Chow-Agor, Joshua Rego, and Kapono Sullivan each added a pair in the effort that earned them a special prize for its efforts that earned them a spot in the playoffs.