LIHUE — The cold bug showed its head Thursday night during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys basketball game between Kapaa and Kauai high schools at Kauai High School.
“We’ve got only eight players of the 11-member team suited up,” said Kapaa coach Kamahalo Kauhane. “We haven’t been able to get in a good practice all week. The junior varsity team hasn’t had a good run, too. I heard this bug keeps you out for about a week.”
The impact of the influenza took its toll on the Warriors who dropped both ends against the Red Raiders, 59-38, in the varsity contest and earlier in the evening, 49-41, in the junior varsity matchup.
One of the players capitalizing on the situation was Kauai’s Iwi Rivera, who was one of a handful taking deliberate practice shots from outside the three-point arc during the waning minutes of halftime in the gym filled with a strong home stand crowd bundled up against the oncoming nighttime chill.
“Coach (Ipo Yoshioka) saw the eight (compared with the 16-player Kauai roster that overflowed the scoresheet),” Rivera said. “He told us, ‘We got this. Go for it.’”
Led by Miles Davis’ six points in the opening quarter, the Red Raiders controlled the match from the opening tipoff and sounded the buzzer on a 13-6 lead.
“We stuck to our game plan,” Kauhane said. “We had the boys trying to protect the inside and be aware of where Malu (Ricky Malu Ralston) and Kaimani Tecson were on the court. With so many players down, it was really hard to get anything flowing in the offense.”
Rivera entered the scorebooks in the fourth quarter when Kauai ignited for a 21-15 run, contributing six points and four rebounds before an appreciative fan base.
“This was a total team effort,” said Rivera. “Everybody on the team got to touch the ball. This is a good feeling. Everyone plays. Personally, I had a goal of scoring 10 points and getting eight boards entering the game. Finishing with six points and four rebounds, I feel pretty good.”
The Raiders’ scoring was spread among nine players making their mark, led by Christopher CJ Cromartie marking 14 points, including a trio of treys. Davis marked 10 points, and Tecson ended the night on eight points.
Jim Ehia came up with seven second-half points followed by Rivera’s six, and Easton Luis’ pair of three-balls.
Alakai Gonsalves and Moses Ho topped the Kapaa scoring on 11 points apiece to lead the five scoring Warriors. Justin Faidley added nine points and numerous rebounds, Kilakila Hepa ended the night on four points and Michael Encinas was limited to just three marks.
Earlier in the evening, Kauai JV’s Mikey Manera led the charge on 11 points and Xaerys Dela Cruz added 10 points in the win over the JV Warriors who got eight points each from Kala Rall and Poki Tafea.
Kapaa next hosts Waimea on Saturday at the Bernice Hundley Gym when the JV game tips off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity matchup.
“Hopefully, we’ll get one more player back,” Kauhane said. “I saw him around, earlier. But he hasn’t run all week — we’ll see.”
Kauai enjoys the weekend before opening against the Menehune Tuesday night at the Raider gym.
“Nope,” Rivera said. “We’re still practicing hard. We have work to do.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.