Hilo Shocks Moanalua in State Tournament Opener
Jalen Carvalho’s three-point shooting was a major reason why Hilo got off to a strong start against OIA representative Moanalua Wednesday night, but it was his last three of the night that made the biggest impact, advancing the Vikings to the quarterfinals of the Hawaiian Airlines / HHSAA Division I Boys Basketball Championships by defeating Na Menehune 50-45.
Carvalho started the game hot, hitting each of his first three shots from the floor in the first quarter. All of them were beyond the arc on the left side of the floor, a comfortable place for Carvalho to be throughout the night, giving him nine points after the first quarter, and helping his Vikings get out to a 16-10 first quarter lead.
As Carvalho cooled down, his entire team picked up the pace. Relentless defense forced Moanalua into 7 second-quarter turnovers, while Moanalua’s offense couldn’t work into a clean, open shot, shooting 2-for-9 in the second quarter, and 6-for-27 in the first half, helping to extend Hilo’s lead to 30-16 at halftime.
The Vikings lead would extend to 18 early in the third before Moanalua made a furious run. That run would be sparked by 10 combined points by junior playmaker Kahanu Puulei-Auld and senior post player Alex Hutson, as Puulei-Auld hit a key they from the right angle, near the four minute mark of the quarter, the team’s first three-point make, while Hutson did his work from fifteen feet and in, hitting 2 of his 3 shots in the quarter. By the end of the third, Moanalua had cut Hilo’s lead down to 6, 38-32.
The game continued to inch closer and closer throughout the fourth, with Na Menehune holding on to the game’s momentum. Then with 2:26 to play, Puulei-Auld blocked a transition lay-in attempt by Jodd Carter, then swished a game-tying three pointer from the top of the arc to even the game at 43.
On the next posession, Carvalho penetrated into the paint and found a wide open Jodd Carter at the low post with about 1:50 to go. Hilo took back a 45-43 lead with about 1:50 remaining in the game. After Moanalua turned the ball over near halfcourt, Hilo gave it right back, when Carvalho had the ball knocked out of his hands from behind, and after a Na Menehune timeout, Moanalua turned it into a game-tying basket from Puulei-Auld as he drove baseline to scoop in a layup to level the game.
Fast-forward to Carvalho’s winner with 12 seconds left, as Moanalua had one more chance to even the game again. They wouldn’t get that chance, as Kainoa Kawaha stole the ball at half-court and went the other way to seal the game with an uncontested layup.
Both Puulei-Auld and Carvalho scored 18 points each to lead their respective teams. Hilo will face tournament top seed Punahou Thursday night at 7 p.m. at McKinley High School’s Student Council Gymnasium. Moanalua will face Kapolei in the consolation game at 3 p.m.
Moanalua 10 6 16 13 – 45
Hilo 16 14 8 12 – 50
Moanalua – 16-49 FG (32.7%), 2-12 3PT (16.7%), 11-17 FT (64.7%)
Hilo – 19-46 FG (41.3%), 4-10 3PT (40.0%), 10-18 FT (55.6%)
LEADING SCORERS: Moanalua – Kahanu Puulei-Auld 18, Alex Hutson 9, Josh Kang 6, Kreig Kepa 4, Dillon Turk 4, Chris Hammond 2, Justin Hudcovic 2. Hilo – Jalen Carvalho 18, Jodd Carter 10, Kamu Patnaude 9, Jacob Genegabus 4, Kainoa Kawaha 4, Drew Kell 3, Austin Dante 1, Rico Loeak 1.