KAPAA — The Kauai High School boys basketball team ignited for 27 points in the third quarter to catapult to a 69-53 win over Kapaa High School on Tuesday night during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys basketball games at Bernice Hundley Gym.
Led by Kaimani Tecson with eight points and Ricky “Malu” Ralston on six points, the Red Raider defense held the Warriors to 16 points, which was fueled by nine points from Michael Encinas, en route to nailing the first round title for the league.
“This was a good team effort,” said Kauai High School senior Makana Tavita, who finished with three points. “Everyone had a hand in making this happen. There was an incident in the third quarter that resulted in a technical foul, and that motivated us to push harder — you know, fighting back against adversity.”
Ralston topped all scorers with 24 points and more than a handful of rebounds to lead the Raiders. Tecson joined him with 16 points, eight in the third quarter.
“Hats off to Kauai,” said Kapaa coach Kamahalo Kauhane. “They played their game tonight and pulled us out of ours. We tried to swing the momentum, change the face of the game, but we ended up digging ourselves deeper in the hole.”
The Warriors opened strong, controlling the opening frame and taking the lead when Justin Faidley bombed a trey to put Kapaa ahead, 15-14, at the buzzer.
Encinas, fueling the first quarter bulge with six points — both long balls from the outside — went on to finish with high point honors for Kapaa with 16 points including nine points in the third quarter. Faidley also marked 16 points, including a trio of three-balls. Alakai Gonsalves, leaving the game following an injury, finished with 10 points.
“This was a good lesson for us going to Waimea Thursday night,” Kauhane said. “We’re back on the practice floor to try and finish the first round strong to gain momentum for Round 2.”
Earlier in the evening, the Kapaa junior varsity boys held Kauai to five points in the first half and exploded for 32 points in the second half to claim a 42-20 win behind 12 points from Kala Rall.
Samuel Mokuahi, Sage Martin-Oldfield and Waika Rogers each contributed five points. Maluhia Kauhane and Poki Tafea each adding four points.
Micah Agtunong led Kauai with a game-high eight points.
Kapaa next travels to the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea on Thursday to end the first round. The JV game tips off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity match.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.