Kalaheo Outlasts Kohala to Advance to State DII Semifinals
HONOLULU – After a two year absence from state tournament, Kohala head coach Don Fernandez was sporting a big smile and a fresh haircut walking into Farrington High School’s gymnasium, feeling confident that his team would give a great effort at the state tournament.
The effort would not be enough on Thursday night, as the Cowboys fell to tourney top-seed Kalaheo 52-39 in the quarterfinals of the Hawaiian Airlines / HHSAA Division II Boys Basketball Tournament.
Kalaheo got started on an 10-2 run over the first 3:19 of the game, fueled by Kalaheo’s size in the paint and strong shooting. Josh Ko scored four of the ten points in that run, capped off by a 15-foot jump shot at the foul line. The Cowboys gave the ball up several times in that stretch. That start propelled Kalaheo to a 15-8 first quarter lead.
The game tightened up in the second quarter, largely due to Kalaheo’s sloppiness with the basketball. Nine mustang turnovers kept Kohala hanging around, even as no Cowboy scored anymore than two points in the frame, helping Kohala trim Kalaheo’s lead to 20-17 at halftime.
The crucial moment for Kalaheo came with 4:43 remaining in the third quarter. With the Mustangs ahead 24-22, Ko rejected an inside shot attempt by Andrew Trump. In transition, Derick Morgan splashed down a three pointer to extend the lead to five. That trey started a 14-0 run, with Morgan nailing another three in that stretch, pushing Kalaheo to a 38-26 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Kohala was able to cut the lead down to nine late in the fourth quarter, but could not get any closer, as the OIA champion Mustangs went a modest 12-for-20 from the charity stripe to solidify their spot in the semifinal round against Maui’s Seabury Hall.
Kohala senior Christopher Roxburgh scored 22 points, including 17 in the second half, in the losing effort. Coach Don Fernandez praised his versatile big man for his effort.
“That’s our main man, so humble, so quiet. He did a great job for us,” explained Fernandez. “He showed us some senior leadership tonight. That’s all we can ask for. We’ve been blessed to have that guy in our program for four years, a guy like Chris. I love that guy.”
Kohala falls to the consolation side the bracket where they will take on St. Francis at 5 pm. The game will played at Kaimuki High School.
Kohala 8 9 9 13 – 39
Kalaheo15 5 18 14 – 52
Kohala – 13-40 FG (32.5%), 3-10 3PT (30.0%), 8-16 FT (50.0%)
Kalaheo – 15-41 FG (36.6%), 3-13 3PT (23.1%), 17-32 FT (53.1%)
SCORING LEADERS: Kohala – Christopher Roxburgh 22, Kealen Figueroa 5, Christian Salis-Kapeliela 3, Makani Kualii 3, Paul Antonio 2, Ryan Carvalho 2, Andrew Trump 2. Kalaheo – Nainoa Frank 17, Josh Ko 14, Shem Sukumaran 8, Derick Morgan 8, Jordyn Reindollar 4, Silila Tucker 1.
Note: The Big Island’s ESPN Radio will air two semi-final games on Friday. At 4:45 p.m., Hawaii Prep will face McKinley in the division two championship game. Then, at 7 p.m., Kamehameha-Hawaii will take on Kahuku in the division one championship. Both games will also be streamed at ESPNHawaii.com.