Dominant Start Leads #9 Konawaena Over Honoka`a
Konawaena High School coach Donny Awa may have left Honoka`a High School with a bad taste in his mouth after a sluggish finish, but he could at least feel good that a strong start to their regular season opener gave them enough cushion to get away with it.
Kenan Gaspar scored 19 points to lead Konawaena, the ninth-ranked team in the Star-Advertiser Top 10 poll, over Honoka`a 60-48 on opening night of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation boys basketball season.
Konawaena (16-3, 1-0 BIIF) opened the game with a Trevor Tanaka three-pointer that banked in from above the left wing, a sign that the Wildcats would not take long to get into a groove. Konawaena quickly put together a lead that reached 11 points several times in the opening quarter. They led 19-8 over the Dragons after the opening period.
Honoka`a (4-8, 0-1) cut the lead into single digits several times in the second quarter thanks to a strong showing from Alika Alip. The senior scored eight of his team’s 14 points in the quarter to keep chipping away at the Wildcats’ advantage. As soon as Honoka`a would put a few baskets together, however, Kona’s defense would come up with a key steal and fast break. Jonah Bredeson was the key in creating fast breaks from steals and missed shots. He scored six in the second quarter, and the Wildcats took a 34-22 lead into halftime.
Gaspar would come alive in the third quarter, where he scored 10 of his 19 points. He was 4-for-4 from the field and his aggressive penetration to the basket got him to the free throw line, where he went 2-for-3 in the quarter. While Gaspar heated up, Alip cooled down, and the Konawaena lead pushed out to 16 at 51-35 as the third quarter ended.
The lead would eventually build to 20 in the fourth quarter before Honoka`a finished the game on an 8-0 run in the final two minutes. The Dragons forced eight fourth quarter turnovers and pushed Awa to re-insert his entire starting five in the game with :16 left to play. While the lead was never in jeopardy toward the end, Awa was more interested in proving a point to his players about finishing the game strong.
Gaspar led three Wildcats in double-digit scoring. Bredeson added 17 points and led his team with seven rebounds. Poin t guard Brandwon Awa added 10 points and a pair of treys.
Alip led Honoka`a with 21 points on 7-of-21 shooting, besting his average of about nine points per game, according to coach Cheyenne Meyer. His team’s leading scorer on the season, Isaiah Meyer, was held scoreless on 0-for-3 shooting. Meyer averaged around 11 points per contest going in to Friday’s game.
The Wildcats will look to extend their season winning streak to eight games when they host Kealakehe on Wednesday night at Onizuka Gym. Meanwhile, Honoka`a will travel to Laupahoehoe on Tuesday.
Konawaena 19 15 17 9 – 60
Honoka`a 8 14 13 13 – 48
BIIF Boys Basketball Scoreboard
Pahoa 58, Ka`u 37
Hawai`i Prep 59, Laupahoehoe 21
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 66, St. Joseph 19