WAIMEA — The Warriors got their first win of the season out on the Westside.
Kapaa High School’s varsity boys basketball team defeated Waimea High School, 50-46, Saturday afternoon at the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea.
Kapaa head coach Kamahalo Ka‘uhane said it was nice to get the win Saturday following a grueling effort on Thursday which Kapaa lost to Kauai High School.
“Thursday’s game was a really emotional game at home. It took a lot of energy out of the boys, too, but they stuck it through,” Ka‘uhane said. “Waimea’s always a tough place to play — the environment, and their community continues to support this program. We knew we were in for a tough game. We’ll take the W.”
He added: “The last game, we played down to the wire. It was a slugfest, and a lot of energy was exhausted in that game. We needed to rest up. We’re kind of banged up this week with some injuries and some sickness, so we’re looking forward to the break, the holidays, to recover.”
Kapaa (1-1) entered halftime with a 27-26 lead. After trailing for most of the second quarter, a three-pointer from Warriors junior guard Kurtis Fujito-Pascua gave Kapaa the one-point lead with less than a minute left on the game clock.
After halftime, Kapaa outscored Waimea in the third quarter, 18-5, to go into the fourth quarter with a 45-31 lead. Four three-point shots helped the Warriors extend their lead.
“We moved the ball a bit better. We noticed that we were hitting our looks the way we should have been,” Ka‘uhane said. “We got some good movement on the ball, and we got some uncontested shots in three-point land. It was evident in the three-pointers that they shot.”
Facing a deficit, Waimea (0-2 KIF) scored seven unanswered points midway through the fourth period to cut Kapaa’s lead to four points.
The Menehune, though, couldn’t close the gap further.
“We picked up the intensity in the fourth quarter. Our boys didn’t back down regardless of what the deficit was,” said Waimea head coach Dino Pabre. “They battled hard until the end. They were in the game. It just didn’t turn out our way, but it’s OK. They played hard. They played the game well. They understood what they were doing out there. That’s all you can ask.”
Pabre added the team had some goals in mind after its first game earlier last week.
“One of the goals was to turn the ball over less. We only had nine turnovers. Another goal was to minimize our fouls, and we only had 10 total fouls,” Pabre said. “Another goal was to increase our free throw percentage. We upped our percentage by 15 percent. But the results still ended the same. Kapaa played well. There’s still some adjustments for us.”
Fujito-Pascua ended with six points. Warriors sophomore guard Alakai Gonsalves led Kapaa with 11 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Warriors senior forward Michael Encinas and junior center Jhencen Cummings each scored eight points. Encinas added three assists and three rebounds. Cummings had seven rebounds and two blocks.
Menehune junior guard Eilon Jamorabon posted a double-double with a game-high 23 points, 10 rebounds and two assists. Junior guard Wade Pimsaguan had 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Kapaa also won the junior varsity game on Saturday, 45-37. Akela Nu‘uhiwa-Gonda scored 11 points for the JV Warriors, and Maka Shigematsu scored 12 points for the JV Menehune.
Kauai Interscholastic Federation play continues Jan. 5 when Waimea hosts Kauai High School (2-0 KIF). The JV game will begin 5 p.m. and the varsity game will follow.
Kapaa next plays on Jan. 8 at Kauai High School.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.