Red Raiders place fifth at state tourney

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Kaua‘i High’s Ricky Malu Ralston is defended by Waimea’s Mason Broyles, Arnie Fernandes and Isahn Ulanday in the third quarter during a regular-season varsity boys basketball game in the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation at Kaua‘i High. Ralston, one of the team’s four seniors, was one of the key players in the Red Raiders’ third-consecutive fifth-place finish in the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Division II Snapple boys basketball championship tournament.

HONOLULU — The Kaua‘i High School boys’ basketball team capped its season with a fifth-place finish at the 2020 Snapple boys’ basketball Division II fifth-place game with a 52-49 victory over Seabury Hall Friday morning at Stan Sheriff Center.

This marks the third season in a row the Red Raiders placed fifth place at the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Division II basketball tournament.

Kaua‘i High School coach Ipo Yoshioka said he felt the team bought into his philosophical approach towards the end of the season.

“The whole season, I emphasized having a balanced, team-oriented attack,” Yoshioka said. “Towards the end of the season, our team started to come around, and we were pleased with how the kids responded very well. They were a more balanced team, and everyone is looking forward to next year.”

The Red Raiders’ first-round opponent, Kohala, will play for the state championship crown against Roosevelt after an unseeded Roosevelt team upset top-rated Hawaii Prep Academy 41-37 in the semifinal round action.

Locking down the Spartans

The Red Raiders (15-3, 11-1) finished its season three of their starting players scoring in double-digits.

The three leading scorers for the Red Raiders accounted for 41 of the 52 points the team produced in their victory over Spartans (12-0, 14-4), a private school based out of Maui.

Kaua‘i High’s Jim Ehia finished with a team-leading 20 points, Keane Tibon had 13, and Ricky Ralston finished the game with 10 points.

The Red Raiders contained two of the Spartans’ scoring threats, including Kai Preseault, Caden Granum, to a total of eight points each.

The Spartans finished their season with a sixth-place finish.

Kai Preseault finished with eight rebounds, nearly scoring a double-double in the game.

Other Kauaʻi High School players that scored in the fifth-place finish were Jaron Ruiz-Ancantilado, who finished with five points, Ellsworth Kaleiohi scored four, and Easton Luis had three for the game.

Aloha, seniors

As the Red Raiders start to prepare for the next season with open gyms beginning in April, they will be losing four of their contributing seniors on their roster.

The seniors, who Yoshioka said played a critical role on this year’s team include Keane Tibon, Ricky Ralston, Jaron Ruiz-Ancantilado, and Easton Luis.

“Their leadership was very important to us this year, and they did a great job,” Yoshioka said. “We have to continue working hard and keep trying to get better every year.”

Yoshioka was not only pleased with his senior’s performance, but said he was also happy with the team’s overall results.

He was pleased they came to the state tournament with a business-like approach.

“We came up to play basketball, and the kids took the time, we sat them all down, studied and did some film work,” Yoshioka said. “The kids wanted to finish strong after the first night’s loss, and I am proud of the kids, especially our four seniors.”

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Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.

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