Saito’s 38 Not Enough as #6 Konawaena Pulls Away from Pahoa
Pahoa junior Tolby Saito turned in a sensational 38 point performance Friday night. The Konawaena Wildcats, however, put together a better team performance in its 71-61 victory over the Daggers at Pahoa High School.
The win didn’t come easy for the Wildcats, ranked sixth in the most recent edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10 poll. Both teams traded the lead throughout the first half, with Konawaena’s trapping defense forcing 16 first half turnovers. Pahoa’s defense, however, hunkered down in the paint and held the Wildcats’ top two scorers, Brandon Awa and Jonah Bredeson, to just seven first half points.
When the Daggers needed a basket, Saito was there to deliver. The junior guard dropped 18 of his 38 points in the first half, providing the singular scoring punch to keep his team in the game, down 34-27 at the halftime break.
Konawaena (11-2 overall, 1-0 Big Island Interscholastic Federation) seemed to take control of the game early in the third quarter when Bredeson dropped a three pointer at the left wing to give his team a 37-29 lead. Po`okela Hanato-Smith added two more free throws to extend the lead to 10 points with just over a minute elapsed in the period.
Saito scored five in a row to cut the lead in half. He would miss a pair of free throws on the team’s next possession, but a technical foul was called on Konawaena’s Zane Gray after losing the missed free throw out of bounds. Keinan Agonias hit a pair of free throws to trim the lead to three at 39-36.
Pahoa inched closer, trailing 44-42 with under two minutes to play in the third period before the Wildcats defense feasted on the Daggers, who were without Saito because of foul trouble. Konawaena forced three turnovers, helping to break open a 9-3 run to take a 53-45 lead into the fourth quarter.
Pahoa (4-7 overall, 0-1 BIIF) continued to hang in the game, knocking down the lead to two points when Joel Rosario Jr. nailed a 15-foot jump shot to cut the score to 62-60 with under four minutes to play. Konawena ratcheted up the pressure once again, however, to keep Pahoa off the scoreboard, finishing the game with a 9-1 run to to get the win.
Saito fouled out with under a minute remaining, but left his mark with 13 fourth quarter points. He shot 12-for-19 from the field, 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, and 9-for-11 from the free throw line, eclipsing the 20.1 points per game average he held prior to the game.
Konawaena’s top two scorers found a groove in the second half. Awa scored 15 points, eight in the fourth quarter, while grabbing six rebounds. Bredeson added 13 points on 4-for-8 shooting, while Kevin Medeiros, who drained a pair of three point shots in the first half to pick up the scoring slack, finished with 11 points.
Torrell Thomas added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Daggers before fouling out. Pahoa shot 20-for-37 (.540) from the field, but committed 31 turnovers in the loss.
Konawaena 12 22 19 18 – 71
Pahoa 9 18 18 16 – 61
Friday’s BIIF boys basketball scores
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 80, Ka`u 56
Kohala 76, Kea`au 55
Waiakea 75, Honoka`a 52
Hawai`i Prep 61, Hilo 53