HPA Routs Kohala to Take Lead in Division II West Race
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by Josh Pacheco
No one who walked into Castle Gymnasium Friday night, regardless of who they rooted for, expected a blowout between Kohala and Hawai`i Preparatory Academy.
Jovan Crnic scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Ka Makani to a 67-36 wipeout of the Cowboys in front of a loud, occasionally rowdy crowd on the HPA campus. The win improved HPA to 5-2 in Big Island Interscholastic Federation play, giving them a game lead over Kohala in the race for the West number one seed in the league tournament.
The game’s pace started quick and physical, and at times was too fast for both teams, who combined for 13 first quarter turnovers. The Cowboys never seemed to grab a hold of the game’s momentum and were caught a step behind, leading to a lot of early fouls.
HPA (8-8, 5-2 BIIF) went to the foul line 10 times in the first quarter because of nine Kohala fouls. Ka Makani were whistled for only one, drawing early frustration from a largely Kohala fan base. Kohala’s Mikala Jordan picked up three of those fouls in the quarter while Hana Carvalho was called for two. Eight turnovers didn’t help their cause, either, and Kohala fell behind 15-9 after one quarter.
Ka Makani picked up the intensity with its trapping defense, leading to transition baskets. Kohala turned the ball over eight more teams and fouls continued to go against the Cowboys, drawing the ire of head coach Don Fernandez. Meanwhile, HPA shot 9-of-11 from the field in the second quarter and hit all six of their free throws to open up their lead to 40-15 at halftime.
Kohala, playing without forward Kala`i Kapeliela due to a thigh injury, tried to dial up not only the speed of the game, but the shots from beyond the arc to try to get back into the contest. Kohala shot 1-for-6 from distance in the third period with their only trey coming from Mikala Jordan. They shot 3-for-12 overall in the quarter and watched HPA balloon the lead as high as 36 with seconds remaining in the quarter as the mercy rule came into play. HPA led 59-23 at the end of the third quarter.
Jordan heated up for Kohala in the fourth quarter. As the HPA lead built up to 40 points early in the quarter, Jordan started to find some rhythm from beyond the three point line. He drained two more three pointers and helped Kohala get the lead down as little as 30 before the running clock expired with a 31 point deficit.
Crnic led three Ka Makani players in double figures in scoring. Kalan Camero scored 16 points and nailed a pair of treys while Buck Thomas added 14 points, including 7 in the third quarter. Nicholas Palleschi added seven second half points off of the bench.
Jordan’s 11 points led Kohala, while sophomore Kealen Figueroa scored eight points to follow.
Kohala 9 6 8 13 – 36
Hawai`i Prep 15 25 19 8 – 67
BIIF Basketball Scoreboard
Waiakea 51, Ka`u 32
Hilo 51, Pahoa 43
Konawaena 58, Kealakehe 40
St. Joseph vs. Kea`au (not reported)