Na Alii Ends Hilo’s Season in Quarterfinal Sweep
King Kekaulike will be returning to the state semifinals, thanks to a sweep of Hilo High Saturday afternoon at Koai’a Gym on the campus of Kamehameha-Hawai’i.
Don Thompson picked up a game-high 15 kills, nine in the first set, and University of Hawai’i commit Colton Cowell added 10 kills with six aces to push the Maui Interscholastic League champions on to next Friday’s quarterfinal, where they will get a rematch with three-time defending state champion Punahou.
Set scores in Saturday’s quarterfinal matchup were 26-24, 25-21, and 25-18.
Hilo (13-4) led by six midway through the opening set, carrying the momentum of the previous night’s win over Kahuku with them. Their 20-14 lead dissipated quickly, however, thanks to a 5-0 run by King Kekaulike. Cowell’s hard jump serve, mixed with an occasional changeup with a lot of spin, produced three consecutive aces during that stretch.
The Vikings were fortunate to get a service error from Cowell, and pushed the lead back up to three, but King Kekaulike was able to dial up every right number near the end on the attack. Cowell gave Na Alii their first lead at 25-24 and Thompson, a middle blocker that Hilo had no answer for all day, finished the set off.
Neither squad dominated in the second set, but Hilo’s attack percentage of -.100 set it back, tallying nine errors and seven kills. The Vikings did hold a 17-16 lead, but couldn’t keep it, picking up just one kill the rest of the set.
King Kekaulike (13-2) kept itself down to open the third set, committing a service error and three attack errors to give Hilo an early 6-3 advantage. Hilo would give the set back to Na Alii as its defense and and passing, usually crisp and tenacious, struggled as the match went on. A ball handling error by setter Kaimana Kawaha gave the MIL champions the final point in the third.
Justice Lord led Hilo with 13 kills and just three errors. Bradley Comilla had 10 kills, but committed 11 errors, hitting -.037
All semifinal matches will be played next Friday at Moanalua High School. King Kekaulike’s match with Punahou will start at 5 p.m. and will air on OC16 XCast.
Hilo 24 21 18 – 0
King Kekaulike – 26 25 25 – 3