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Hot Shooting Streak Keeps KS-Hawai’i Perfect

December 22, 2015, 10:29 AM HST
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Koai'a Gym. Photo by Josh Pacheco

Koai’a Gym. Photo by Josh Pacheco

Having someone on your bench that you would normally consider a starter, if not for talented upperclassmen ahead of him, is a luxury for any basketball team.

Luckily for Kamehameha-Hawai’i and first-year head coach Vince Ulloa, he has Solomon Escalante, a streaky shooter who can change the course of a game when his shot starts to fall through the net.

After going 0-for-3 from the floor in the first half, Escalante never missed again, going off for 16 second half points to push Kamehameha-Hawai’i to a 62-44 win over gritty St. Joseph in both schools’ Big Island Interscholastic Federation boys baskeball opener, held at Koaia Gym.

“I think he is a state level player,” said Ulloa of his 5-foot-8 junior guard. “I’ve had him since he was a freshman. He is a really, really good player. Unfortunately, he’s got three seniors, three four-year varsity players playing in front him, so he just bides his time and waits, but I think in crunch time, any kind of close game, he’ll be in there.”

Kamehameha-Hawai’i (9-0 overall, 1-0 BIIF) won the game with its hot third quarter shooting effort, going 9-for-11 from the field and 5-for-6 from beyond the arc. Both teams traded baskets early on in the period. After Samuel Kahapea missed the second of two free throws with five minutes left in the period, the Warriors got the offensive rebound, and Escalante swished a three-pointer to give his team a 35-31 lead.

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Two trips later, Escalante drained another trey from the top of the arc, giving Kamehameha-Hawai’i a 38-33 advantage.

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If you weren’t sure that Escalante was feeling confident with his shooting touch, he proved it in the quarter’s final minute. With Ulloa wanting his offense to slow down, Escalante kept firing away, hitting two shots from distance in the period’s final 23 seconds to turn an even game at intermission to a 49-37 advantage. For the quarter, Escalante shot 5-for-5 and hit all four of his three-point attempts.

St. Joseph (6-8, 0-1) lost steam going into the fourth quarter. Five fourth quarter turnovers allowed the game to slip out of its hands. The Cardinals survived a similar stretch in the second quarter, committing four turnovers, but stayed afloat when Cole deSilva hit a pair of threes to negate the mistakes. In the fourth, however, deSilva couldn’t score, and the Cardinals couldn’t get back on track.

Despite the silent fourth period, deSilva led all scorers with 19 points, shooting 7-for-13 from the floor and 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. Manato Fukuda, a junior guard from Okinawa, added 14 points, but like deSilva, none came in the fourth.

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For the most part, Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s self-proclaimed “big three” – Ka’eo Batacan, Pukana Vincent, and Bayley Manliguis – didn’t make a large impact on the game. Vincent scored 13, including six fourth quarter points as the game’s momentum had been solidly in the Warriors’ corner. Manliguis dropped eight points on 4-for-11 shooting, and Batacan scored three.

Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s unbeaten streak will be on the line Wednesday when the Warriors visit Hilo High. Both teams did not meet during non-league play.

St. Joseph 14 11 12 7 – 44

Kamehameha-Hawai’i 14 11 24 13 – 62

BIIF boys basketball scoreboard

Kamehameha-Hawai’i 62, St. Joseph 44

Waiakea 77, Kealakehe 54

Kea’au 53, Kohala 40

Hilo 78, Honoka’a 72

Garfield (CA) 44, Hawai’i Preparatory Academy 36 (World Youth Basketball Tournament)

BIIF boys basketball standings (overall record in parenthesees)

Division I

Kamehameha-Hawai’i 1-0 (9-0)

Kea’au 1-0 (9-2)

Waiakea 1-0 (8-3)

Hilo 1-0 (6-8)

Konawaena 0-0 (3-3)

Kealakehe 0-1 (0-8)

Division II

Hawai’i Preparatory Academy 0-0 (3-2)

Pahoa 0-0 (4-3)

Laupahoehoe 0-0 (0-3)

Ka’u 0-0 (0-9)

Honoka’a 0-1 (10-8)

St. Joseph 0-1 (6-8)

Kohala 0-1 (3-8)

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