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Pahoa Overcomes Sluggish Start to Defeat Kealakehe

January 10, 2015, 11:16 AM HST
* Updated January 11, 8:55 AM
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An outstanding 2014-2015 season continues for the Pahoa High School boys basketball team.

Friday night’s 61-39 home victory against Kealakehe showed, however, that there is still room for growth and improvement for the 13-1 Daggers.

The Waveriders came out firing from outside the arc early, with its first six shots of the game coming from outside the three-point line. Arthur Freddy hit two of them, and the Waveriders held an early advantage within the game’s first few minutes.

Pahoa (13-1 overall, 2-0 Big Island Interscholastic Federation) showed balance to open the game, countering the Waveriders’ start. All five Daggers scored in the opening quarter, led by Kili Oliveira’s seven points seven points, pushing the home team out to a 19-8 first quarter lead.

The pace of the game grinded to a near halt in the next eight minutes. Pahoa coach Marc Saito decided to use the second quarter as an extended teaching tool for his Daggers, imploring them to hold the ball out in the perimeter and refrain from shooting, in an effort to emphasize ball movement in his team’s half-court offense. The strategy seemed to provide mixed results, as the Daggers turned the ball over six times in the quarter. On the other hand, Kealakehe was only able to take four shots in the period, scoring just seven points. Pahoa’s lead at halftime was eight at 23-15.

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Pahoa senior Tolby Saito took the game into his own hands in the second half. The crafty shooting guard scored 22 of his team-high 28 points in the final two quarters. He hit every one of his 12 second half free throw attempts and picked up a game-high five steals as the Daggers cruised to victory.

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For the night, Saito shot 7-for-13 from the floor and 14-for-14 from the charity stripe. He led his team with seven rebounds and two assists. He entered Friday night’s game scoring 22 points per game.

Pahoa’s success, however, doesn’t just fall in the hands of Saito. The improvement of role players around him make the Daggers championship contenders in Division II. Oliveira and Joel Rosario Jr. each contributed 11 points.

Kealakehe (6-7, 1-1) was paced by Freddy, who shot 4-for-13 from three-point range and scored a team-high 14 points. Kaimi Wilson came off of the bench to score 10 points, six of them in the second half. The Waveriders out-rebounded Pahoa 24-21, but gave the ball away 18 times, five more times than their opponent.

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Pahoa quickly returns to the court to face Laupahoehoe Saturday night at Pahoa High School Gymnasium. Kealakehe will return to East Hawai’i next Wednesday to matchup with Kamehameha-Hawai’i.

Kealakehe 8 7 9 15 – 39

Pahoa 19 4 15 23 – 61

Friday’s BIIF scoreboard

Kohala 61, Kamehameha-Hawai’i 42

Hawai’i Preparatory Academy 68, St. Joseph 41

Waiakea 76, Ka’u 42

Konawaena 50, Kea’au 38

Honoka’a 68, Hilo 61

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