WAIMEA — Kauai High School boys basketball team posted a 57-29 win over Waimea, Wednesday to claim the Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship in that sport.
“Kudos to Kauai High School, and good luck at the state games,” said Waimea coach Dino Pabre. “I think that by winning tonight, the Raiders claim the second round (and the KIF championship following an undefeated first round).”
Christopher “CJ” Cromartie led the Red Raiders with 11 points, including a 3 for 4 showing on the free throw line. Kaimani Tecson added eight points, including a perfect 4 for 4 at the charity stripe.
Kauai started slow, having to catch up to an early lead set by Eilon Jamorabon and Wade Pimsaguan. The Raiders looked comfortable on a 9-6 lead, but the comfort zone disappeared when Pimsaguan nailed a trey in the last remaining seconds of the first quarter to tie the contest, 9-9.
More lead exchanges kept Waimea in the contest after Kauai ignited a 22-point quarter led by Tecson’s four points and Cromartie’s three points. The all-team effort gave Kauai a 23-18 lead at the break before the Raiders exploded in the second half.
“We had a slow start,” said Kauai coach Ipo Yoshioka. “But we made some adjustments in defense, and the boys picked up the tempo to play our style of ball. It was a fun game to watch.”
Miles Davis entered the fray with five points, including a long ball, to lead the third quarter charge where Waimea could only answer with a Jamorabon bucket.
Ricky “Malu” Ralston triggered the fan base to a standing ovation and cheering when he entered the match in the final six minutes, netting a share of boards and adding six points to the Kauai win.
“He’s been sick,” Yoshioka said. “Everybody has been getting the cold. Malu is just coming out of his, playing for the first time after sitting out the last game.”
Jamorabon topped the Waimea effort on 12 points — 10 marks being spread out in the first half. Pimsaguan finished the night on nine points, eight dropping in the first half including the tying three-ball in the first quarter.
“We just couldn’t put the two halves together,” Pabre said. “We had some good quarters, but we just couldn’t get it all together.”
Lacin Montemayor, who along with Mark Placheta were honored during Waimea’s senior night, was limited to three points apiece — both falling in the second half when Waimea was limited to just 11 points.
“The important thing is that when these boys leave the door, it’s not just about basketball. It’s about life,” Pabre said. “We hope we gave them a good foundation to make good choices and the right decisions.”
Earlier in the night, Kauai junior varsity’s Doza Kaleiohi Ellsworth fired off 20 points to lead the Red Raider JV team to the top of another seesaw battle. Xaerys Dela Cruz added 11 points as the Kauai held off Waimea for a 59-55 edge at the buzzer.
Maka Shigematsu topped the Waimea JV effort on 19 points followed by Aden Ringor adding 15 points.
KIF boys basketball action continues Thursday when Kauai honors its nine seniors at senior night. In the team’s last game of the 2019 KIF boys basketball season, Kauai hosts Kapaa at the Kauai High School gym.
With the KIF title in hand, Kauai High School earns eligibility to participate in the 2019 Snapple Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II boys basketball championships that will contest on Oahu on Feb. 21 through 23.
“This is a special night,” Yoshioka said. “Not only are we honoring our nine seniors Thursday. We have the Special Olympic athletes doing a game during the halftime.”
The JV game tips off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity matchup.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.