Hilo Rolls Past Kea’au in League Quarterfinal
Stifling defense and long-range shooting were a winning combination for Hilo High on Wednesday, defeating Kea’au 68-37 in the division I quarterfinals of the KTA Super Stores / BIIF Boys Basketball Tournament.
The difference between the two teams was evident right after the opening tip. Hilo’s defense looked to trap every ball handler and force turnovers, which Kea’au committed 21 of them in the first half alone. Many of those turnovers led to transition baskets and extra shot opportunities. Hilo took 35 shots in the first half, as compared to 12 for the visiting Cougars. Kea’au didn’t make a field goal until Nelson Enos hit a short jumper with 6:29 to play in the second quarter.
After the Hilo lead hit 24 going into the halftime break, Vikings coach Jason Mandaquit sparingly used his starters, taking most of them out by the halfway point of the third quarter. The only starter to see some playing time in the fourth quarter was guard Rico Loeak, who scored 11 points on the evening.
The Cougars trailed by as much as 33 points in the fourth quarter, but to their credit, continued to play hard and slowly gain confidence in themselves as the game went on, avoiding the 35 point league mercy rule for well over a full quarter of play. Nelson Enos scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half, including 9 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Kea’au Cougars in scoring.
Kea’au finishes their season at 4-19 (1-12 BIIF), while Hilo’s season continues on Friday when they face West top seed Konawaena on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, with the winner getting a berth into the Hawaiian Airlines / HHSAA Boys Basketball Championships.
Kea’au 2 12 9 14 – 37
Hilo 13 25 17 13 – 68
Kea’au: 15-43 FG (34.9%), 0-7 3PT (0.0%), 7-17 FT (41.2%)
Hilo: 30-60 FG (50.0%), 5-15 3PT (33.3%), 3-14 FT (21.4%)
LEADING SCORERS: Kea’au – Nelson Enos 15, Cliff Erickson 8, Ayhnes Ines 6, Chase Paulino 4, Nick Pagtama 2, Konner Kanetani 2. Hilo – Jalen Carvalho, Jodd Carter 12, Rico Loeak 11, Isaac Kaleiwahea 5, Austin Dante 4, Kamu Patnaude 4, Jacob Genegabus 4, Nathan Lebouef 4, Drew Kell 3, Brett Ebanez 2, Isaiah Fonseca 2, Brandon Tanoue 2.