Waiakea Edges Kea`au in BIIF Quarterfinal
Kea`au High School guard Charlie Belmes had an opportunity to send his team to overtime with three free throws after being fouled by Waiakea High School’s Bryson Ita with no time left on the clock.
Facing immense pressure, Belmes missed the first free throw short, and despite making the last two, his team came up a point short of extending their season. The Cougars fell to Waiakea 43-42 in the quarterfinals of the KTA Super Stores / Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I Tournament.
Waiakea (14-8, 10-3 BIIF) opened up a lead as large as six points in the fourth quarter thanks to a strong finishing nudge from Dillon Rellez. The athletic forward opened the final frame with a pair of threes to give Waiakea a 32-26 lead just two minutes into the fourth.
The Cougars were not shaken by the deficit, which was the biggest they had to face in the game. Kea`au capped a 7-1 run with a basket by Edgar Ventura, plus a foul to complete a three point play, to even the contest at 33 a piece with under four minutes remaining. Ventura finished the game with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Waiakea would get the lead back to five at 41-36 with less than two minutes remaining when Rellez slid through the middle of the paint and scooped in a layup. Chaney Simeon-Paulino cut the lead down to three after making a pair of free throws, and hit two more off of a steal to make the score 41-40 with 21 seconds remaining.
The Warriors struggled mightily from the free throw line in the game. Despite failing to appear at the foul line in the first three quarters, Waiakea went 3-for-9 in the final eight minutes to leave the door open for the Cougars. Despite the difficulties, Ita nailed two big shots from the charity stripe to extend the lead back to three with 18 ticks on the clock.
Trailing 43-40 with just over three seconds remaining, Kea`au entered the ball in front of their bench and found Belmes coming off of a screen near the left corner. His three point shot missed but contact by Ita took him to the ground, sending Belmes to the free throw line to decide the game.
Kea`au (9-11, 6-7) held the lead after the end of the first quarter when Davin Alviento drained a 22-foot trey as the clock expired. Alviento scored six more points in the second quarter to help extend Kea`au’s lead as big as five in the first half. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and hit all three of his shots from beyond the arc to led the Cougars with 14 points.
Both teams were tied at 19 at halftime. Out of the locker room, both squads were cold from the field. Kea`au shot 2-for-12 from the field while the Warriors hit three of their 10 attempts. Waiakea, however, took a 26-25 lead into the final period, thanks in part to a key NBA-range trey from Ita. The junior dropped 11 points to aid the Warriors’ inconsistent offense.
Waiakea will face Konawaena, the West’s top seed, in the first Division I semifinal on Friday, slated for a 6:00 p.m. tip.
Kea`au 7 12 6 17 – 42
Waiakea 6 13 7 17 – 43
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 57, Kealakehe 56
Honoka`a 63, Ka`u 54 (OT)
Kohala 54, St. Joseph 13
Friday’s tournament schedule – all games at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium
Honoka`a (W3) vs. Hawai`i Prep (W1) – 3:00 p.m.
Kohala (W2) vs. Pahoa (E1) – 4:30 p.m.
Waiakea (E2) vs. Konawaena (W1) – 6:00 p.m.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i (E3) vs. Hilo (E1) – 7:30 p.m., ESPNHawaii.com