WAIMEA — With just four ticks remaining in overtime, Saturday, Kauai High School’s Jim Ehia drained a free throw pair to pull the Red Raiders to a 55-51 margin over the Waimea High School Menehune during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys basketball games at the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea.
“Free throws win games, defense wins championships,” said Kauai coach Ipo Yoshioka. “We practice that every day. But we still have a lot more work to do. We got the coaches on the page, we got the players on the page — we just gotta be on the same page.”
The Raiders broke a 44-44 deadlock in overtime when Ehia nailed a charity pair midway through the four-minute extra period. But Waimea was not done, answering with a Wade Pimsaguan charity pair for the 46-48 challenge answered by the tail end of a free throw pair by Kauai’s Micah Agtunong with less than a minute on the overtime clock for the 49-46 go-ahead.
The Menehune refused to go down, and a three-ball from Waimea’s Aiden Ringor, the fourth for Waimea in the contest, aroused the overflow audience as the contest deadlocked, 49-49 with just 20 ticks remaining.
Kauai answered on another Ehia charity pair only to have Waimea come back with a Ringor bucket with 12 ticks remaining.
“We stayed close all night,” said Waimea coach Brandon Moises. “The boys are excited in the locker room, although they would’ve loved a win. We still have plenty of work to do. Hats off to Kauai who executed well — they made the free throws when we couldn’t. That’s why they’re the defending champions.”
Waimea trailed by a bucket at the end of the first quarter, 9-11, stoked by five points from Mason Broyles, including a long three-ball. Broyles added a pair in the second quarter before being benched on an injury during a rebound play.
That did not stop the Menehune who finished the half with a 20-17 edge, fueled by five points from Eilon Jamorabon and four points from Wade Pimsaguan.
“A lot of the boys are playing in new territory,” Moises said. “The coaches are proud of the way they stepped up play when we lost key players.”
Broyles’ absence on the court was countered in the third period when Kauai lost its key player to fouls in a defensive slugfest where Kauai regained the lead 25-24 at the buzzer.
The pounding continued into the final frame until Kauai took the lead on an Ehia bucket and a charity pair, 39-36 with 28 seconds showing in regulation. Waimea answered with a Pimsaguan three-ball to tie, 39-39 with 12 seconds showing, and a missed Kauai bucket forced the overtime.
Pimsaguan topped the Menehune effort on 25 points, including a pair of treys, followed by Ringor contributing nine points, including seven in overtime. Jamorabon added eight points and Broyles finished with seven marks.
Ehia topped the Red Raider win on 20 points and Ricky Malu Ralston finished with 1o points. Jaron Ruiz-Acantilado ended with eight marks, including a three-ball, and Luke Hunadi was held to just seven second-half points, nailing five in overtime.
Earlier in the evening, the Kauai junior varsity set the tone for the night when Austin Renaud broke a 47-47 deadlock on the tail end of a charity pair with 39 seconds showing in regulation. He followed that by breaking up a Menehune JV pass with 29 seconds showing, and Kauai sealed the deal when Xander Martinez dropped the opener of a charity pair for the 49-47 edge.
Hekili Dizol topped the Menehune JV effort on 13 points with Damien Akita lending a dozen marks in the effort that was delayed in starting due to traffic congestion resulting from an auto accident near the Halfway Bridge delaying the Red Raiders’ arrival.
Ridge Serraon topped the JV Raider win on 15 points followed by Mareyon Cromartie adding nine points.
According to fans’ reports from Island School, the contest between the Voyagers and Warriors was cancelled due to slippery floor conditions at the Wilcox Gymnasium.
Waimea next hosts the Kapaa Warriors, Tuesday, with the junior varsity match tipping off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity matchup. Kauai High School will host the Island School Voyagers at the Kauai High School gym in a single contest starting at 7 p.m.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.