Konawaena Races to Seventh Straight Win
In a game that featured lightning-quick action and a nearly non-stop running pace, it was a bit of strength and power that pushed the Konawaena Wildcats ahead.
A 10-0 third quarter run, powered by second-chance opportunities and quick baskets up the floor, allowed Konawaena to pull away from the Honoka’a Dragons by the final score of 74-62 to pick up their seventh straight victory on the year.
Konawaena head coach Donny Awa described his team’s performance as the best he’s seen this season, based on “the way we came out in the third quarter, follow instructions, and just move the ball and play good solid defense on one end, smart offense on the other end.”
Saturday night’s contest, held at Ellison S. Onizuka Gymnasium in Kealakekua, was played at a high tempo. It was also sloppy in the first half, as both teams’ full-court defenses created bad decisions. Konawaena gave the ball away 10 times in the opening quarter, while Honoka’a turned the ball over nine times.
The second quarter was much of the same, with Konawaena taking a three-point advantage into the locker room, but Awa made a key adjustment at halftime to change the course of the game.
“We basically stopped pressing because they had figured out the press already. They were beating it consistently and that was leading to easy shots for them,” Awa explained. “We figured that we would try to get back and play man [defense]. I think we play a pretty good half-court man defense if we all get back, so we did a good job of that.”
Konawaena opened the quarter on a 10-0 run, with Austin Aukai and Hau’oli Akau dropping four points each during the run. Kamakana Ching anchored the effort on the glass, helping the Wildcats out-rebound Honoka’a 10-3 in the period. For the game, Konawaena grabbed 31 rebounds to the Dragons’ 20.
“Kamakana is a great offensive rebounder because he is so long, and they [Honoka’a] have a big boy that is probably stronger than him, but he didn’t really get a body on him, and if you don’t get a body on him, he’s gonna kill you on the glass,” said Awa of Ching, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds for the game.
Honoka’a was frazzled by the change in the opponent’s defensive strategy in the third quarter, unable to hit a shot from the field. The Dragons were 0-for-9 from the floor in the period with five turnovers. Additionally, Honoka’a shot just 6-for-11 from the foul line in the quarter.
The Konawaena lead grew to over 20 points in the fourth quarter, but Honoka’a didn’t back away. Kelvin Falk hit a pair of three point shots in the final two minutes to slim the Wildcats’ lead to 12, but time was not on the Dragons’ side, as Konawaena was able to run out the clock.
Four players, including Ching, finished with double-digit scoring for Konawaena. Akau led the way with 17 points, shooting 6-for-7 from the free throw line. Austin Ewing and Austin Aukai each added 10 points.
Twenty-three turnovers, compounded by 60.5 percent shooting from the free throw line (23-for-38), were key numbers working against Honoka’a, which saw its four-game winning streak come to an end. Jonathan Charbonneau scored a team-high 15 points and grabbed six rebounds in the loss.
Honoka’a 16 12 6 28 – 62
Konawaena 14 17 21 22 – 74
Saturday’s BIIF basketball scoreboard
Konawaena 74, Honoka’a 62
Waiakea 71, Hilo 32
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 62, Kealakehe 43
Hawai’i Preparatory Academy 62, Laupahoehoe 16