Kohala Stuns #9 HPA to Win BIIF DII Championship
One guaranteed state tournament berth was on the line Saturday night at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, and the Kohala Cowboys snatched it right away from the top-seeded Hawai`i Preparatory Academy Ka Makani.
Behind nine three-pointers, Kohala upset HPA 67-53 to win the KTA Super Stores / BIIF Division II Boys Basketball Championship. The Cowboys will be the BIIF’s top representative in the Hawaiian Airlines / Hawai`i High School Athletic Association Boys Basketball Championships, which open Thursday in Oahu.
Hawai`i Prep (16-7 overall, 12-1 BIIF) had all of the momentum early, riding the aggressive play of guard Justas Gecas and the hot shooting of Kenji Stinson to take a 24-11 first quarter lead. Gecas scored 11 points in the quarter on 4-for-6 shooting while Stinson, starting in place of injured senior Kalen Camero, drained a pair of threes and scored eight points in the period.
Ka Makani’s lead thinned to nine at halftime as both teams struggled to shoot from the field. Out of the locker room, Kohala began to claw back thanks to a three-point shooting barrage. The Cowboys drained four treys in the third quarter, including a go-ahead shot from Mikala Jordan and a pair from Shawn Ray Ramos, to take a 43-42 advantage.
The aerials from beyond the arc continued. Jordan hit two more in a row in the fourth quarter with counters coming from Stinson and Hide Akai. Kohala could not be quieted, however, shooting 8-for-10 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free throw line in the quarter to pull away with the victory.
Jordan scored 19 points for Kohala, shooting 5-for-6 from long range. 10 of those points came in the fourth quarter. Hana Carvalho added 15 points and four steals. Justin Agbayabi scored 12 points and Ramos added 11.
Gecas and Stinson were silenced following their first quarter production. The pair combined for just nine points the rest of the way. HPA also struggled from the free throw line, shooting just 5-for-13 in the game.
HPA lost for the first time since Dec. 20 at the Punahou Basketball Invitational to Punahou II. In order to reach next week’s state tournament, Ka Makani will have to defeat University High Monday at 4:00 p.m. on the HPA campus. The play-in game will be broadcast on ESPNHawaii.com
Kohala 11 13 19 14 – 67
Hawai`i Prep 24 9 9 11 – 53