Hilo Survives Late Rally in Kea`au / Waiakea Tourney Opener
Chuck Vallero’s Hilo High coaching debut provided some tense moments Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Kea`au / Waiakea Boys Basketball Tournament.
The Vikings held an 18 point lead at halftime before leg cramps sidelined their two best players for much of the fourth quarter. After losing the lead with under a minute to go, a pair of free throws from Collin Lodivero and Austin Dante pushed Hilo to a 57-55 win over Kealakehe.
Hilo (1-0) played a near flawless first half, led by sharpshooter Jalen Carvalho and crafty point guard Austin Dante. Carvalho scored 17 of his game high 27 points in the first half while Dante scored nine to lead the Vikings to a 36-18 halftime advantage.
The Vikings dominated the rebounding battle in the first half with 20 rebounds, seven more than Kealakehe’s 13. Making matters worse for the Waveriders, their opponents gave the ball away just two times in the first 16 minutes while Kealakehe lost it 12 times.
Despite taking a 48-34 lead into the fourth quarter, the Vikings’ conditioning came into play late. Dante cramped up three different times in the second half, forcing him to miss significant action. Carvalho also suffered a leg cramp early in the fourth quarter, sidelining him for the rest of the game.
This helped to create an opening for the Waveriders, who used a relentless trapping defense to force nine fourth quarter turnovers. Three pointers from Kalani Levi and Arthur Freddy also helped to close the gap.
Freddy tied the game at 55 with 49 seconds left after making the first of two free throw attempts. Hilo took the lead back just 22 seconds later with a made free throw from Lodivero, who finished with nine points.
Kealakehe (3-1) had a chance to grab the lead back when Keanu Tilfas drove to the rim against contact from Hilo’s defense with five seconds to play. Tilfas’ contested shot near the basket was offline, and after another made free throw from Dante, the Vikings were able to breathe a sigh of relief.
Carvalho shot 8-for-22 from the field to finish with 27 points. The senior guard nailed three treys in nine attempts, went 8-for-10 from the free throw line, and added 11 rebounds to lead Hilo to the Blue Bracket semifinals. Dante added 12 points and five rebounds on 4-for-16 shooting.
Tilfas and Arthur Freddy each scored 11 points to lead Kealakehe, who shot just over 37 percent from the field (23-for-62) in the loss.
Hilo 21 15 12 9 – 57
Kealakehe 10 8 16 21 – 55
Paul Lee Victorious in Return to Waiakea Bench
After taking a year away from coaching to tend to family matters, Paul Lee returned to the sidelines, leading Waiakea to a 72-31 win over Honoka`a in Wednesday’s nightcap at the Kea`au / Waiakea Boys Basketball Tournament.
“It was like my first time being out again,” said Lee after the game. “Just excited to be back. Just being around the kids again, I feel good. Maybe for the last 2-3 weeks, I’ve been sleeping at 1-2 o’clock in the morning. I was just so excited, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t wait to be around the kids again.”
Waiakea (1-0) started slow, compounded by an 0-for-9 shooting start from senior forward Lucas St. George and an ankle injury to Dillon Rellez, who slipped after landing on a three-point attempt. Rellez would not return after scoring just two points.
St. George got his game in gear in the second quarter. The senior post player dropped nine of his game-high 15 points in the second quarter, including a rim-rocking right-handed dunk, to help the Warriors outscore Honoka`a 32-10 for the period.
St. George also grabbed a game high nine rebounds. He shot 7-for-18 from the field and made one of his two free throw attempts.
“We’re gonna need him to play big like that,” Lee said.
The mercy rule was put into effect just three minutes into the third quarter. The Big Island Interscholastic Federation calls for a running clock in the second half when a team takes a 35 point lead.
Cjay Carvalho scored 12 points to lead Honoka`a. The Dragons committed 29 turnovers, and were out rebounded 28-13 for the contest.
Honoka`a (1-3) took just 28 shots in the game, making 10 of them to shoot just under 36 percent for the game. In comparison, Waiakea took 26 shots in the first quarter alone. The Warriors shot 29-for-60 in the game (48.3 percent).
Honoka`a 12 10 2 7 – 31
Waiakea 16 32 18 6 – 72
Kea`au / Waiakea Boys Basketball Tournament scores
Blue Bracket (games played at Waiakea High School)
Hilo 57, Kealakehe 55
Hawai`i Preparatory Academy 65, Waiakea 2 33
Kaiser 65, Kohala 49
Waiakea 72, Honoka`a 31
Red Bracket (games played at Kea`au High School)
Ka`u 57, Kea`au 2 41
Konawaena 65, Kamehameha-Hawai`i 48
Kea`au 50, St. Joseph 20
Pahoa 57, Kamehameha-Maui 46
Kealakehe vs. Waiakea 2 – 3:00 p.m.
Honoka`a vs. Kohala – 4:30 p.m.
Hilo vs. Hawai`i Prep – 6:00 p.m.
Kaiser vs. Waiakea – 7:30 p.m.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i vs. Kea`au 2 – 3:00 p.m.
St. Joseph vs. Kamehameha-Maui – 4:30 p.m.
Konawaena vs. Ka`u – 6:00 p.m.
Kea`au vs. Pahoa – 7:30 p.m.