KS-Hawai’i Dominates Waiakea at SJS Tourney
Last year’s Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I runner-up, Kamehameha-Hawai’i, is putting the rest of the league on notice with its early non-league success.
Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s biggest win to date came on Friday night in the semifinals of the 2015 Cliff and Kathie Dias St. Joseph School Cardinal Classic Basketball Tournament, beating Waiakea by the final score of 67-57.
The win didn’t come easy for Kamehameha-Hawai’i, led by first-year head coach Vince Ulloa. A 23-point lead in the first half was whittled down to six with less than two minutes in the game, but 9-for-13 shooting from the free throw line down the stretch helped Kamehameha-Hawai’i hang on for the victory.
“This fourth quarter was the first real adversity we’ve had where we’ve kinda lost a lead, but I think overall, we stayed calm, and Ka’eo [Batacan] kinda calmed things down…To their [Waiakea’s] credit, they played hard and pushed us. I knew they wouldn’t give up,” Ulloa said.
Turnovers played a part in Waiakea’s early struggles. The public school Warriors gave the ball away 12 times in the first half and shot 6-for-20 from the field. Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s three standouts – Samuel Kahapea, Bayley-Allen Manliguis, and Pukana Vincent – powered their squad through the dominant first half, scoring 28 of the Warriors’ 40 first half points. To top it off, senior David Kalili put the exclamation point on the first half with a buzzer-beating three point shot to put his team up by 20 at halftime.
Waiakea (3-3) looked like a different squad in the second half. Led by junior Calvin Mattos and seniors Kahinu Alapai and Noah Ferreira, they ratcheted up the defensive effort, forcing 16 second half turnovers.The trio combined for 28 second half points to claw back into the game.
Mattos’ aggressiveness in all facets of the game was especially crucial. Last year’s Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I Player of the Year scored 18 points on 8-for-20 shooting. He also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
In the end, the deficit was too big to make up.
“We’re coming out and executing well and staying within what we do,” said Ulloa of his team’s strong starts this year. “They are just counting on each other, relying on each other.”
Ulloa likes his team’s depth, which will only get stronger as the season goes along. Starter Solomon Escalante and sixth-man Cody Cook were both not able to dress for the game, but in their abscence, ten players accumulated points on the scoreboard.
Especially exciting to Ulloa is the growth – both in height and physicality – of sophomore Kahapea, who, along with Manliguis, led Kamehameha-Hawai’i with 16 points.
“He’s averaged double figures every game, and he’s just a baby. He’s learning how to play in the post,” Ulloa explained. “He’s grown. He’s gotten stronger, and he’s getting a little bit of an attitude out there, and he wants the ball. I think the biggest thing for him is that the guards are finding him and getting him the ball and they are showing confidence in him.”
Both Manliguis and Kahapea each brought down nine rebounds for Kamehameha-Hawai’i, who improved to 6-0 with the win. The private school Warriors shot 21-for-44 (47.7 percent) from the floor and 16-for-27 (59.2 percent) from the free throw line.
Ferreira knocked down three treys and scored 15 points to help Waiakea, who shot 12-for-27 (44.4 percent) from the free throw line and 22-for-62 (35.5 percent) from the field.
Waiakea 6 14 17 20 – 57
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 16 24 12 15 – 67
2015 Cliff and Kathie Dias St. Joseph School Cardinal Classic Basketball Tournament schedule (all games at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium)
Ka’u vs. Pahoa – 3:30 p.m.
Kohala vs. Honoka’a – 5 p.m.
Waiakea vs. St. Joseph – 6:30 p.m.
Kamehameha-Hawai’i vs. Konawaena – 8 p.m.