By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sports writer
PAHOA— No matter how Nick Fisher’s high school career ends, he’s more than done his part in furnishing Pahoa’s shiny second-year gym in the form of the three Hawaii High School Athletic Association banners hanging from the walls.
But as the Daggers raised each of those flags, Fisher ratcheted up his expectations as well. He started his career at the top, and the senior would like to try and finish that way, too.
Fisher banged 20 kills as Pahoa coasted past Honokaa 25-21, 25-23, 25-11 on Tuesday night in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II volleyball quarterfinals.
Pahoa (9-5) can earn a spot at the state tournament with a win at 4 p.m. Friday against Konawaena in the semifinals at Kamehameha’s Koaia Gym.
“It’d be nice,” Fisher said of what would be his sixth trip to states combined between basketball or volleyball. “But I don’t just want to make it to states. I want to actually do something there.
“It was good getting back to states in basketball (in the winter), but it wasn’t up to my standards, losing in the first round, getting fifth.”
Fisher set those lofty standards during his freshman year as an integral member of Daggers teams that won the state title in basketball and took runner-up in volleyball. Pahoa claimed second in basketball at states a year later, but the school hasn’t pulled off the basketball-volleyball state double since Fisher’s memorable freshman year.
Now he’s one of 10 seniors on a veteran-laden Pahoa team.
Caleb Woo-O’Brien stepped up against the Dragons (5-9) to smack 10 kills, drawing attention away from Fisher on the attack and combining with Tanner Dipert to give the Daggers an effective block. Isaac Ekau added seven kills.
“Last season, we just want to go all out,” Fisher said. “Every one us of wants to win. You don’t have to remind us any day at practice. We all know what’s at stake. We all have one goal.”
Honokaa, which has just one senior, lost to the Daggers in the first round at BIIFs for the second straight year.
Junior Chance Salva posted 12 kills, junior CJay Carvalho added nine and sophomore Shyrome Batin had seven, but the Dragons were hurt by 10 service errors.
“Too many mistakes,” coach Steven Kalilikane said. “Too excited to play. Tried too hard to win.
“We’re going to get better. They are all coming back.”
Friday’s semifinal against the Wildcats (9-5) will be a rematch of a five-set contest last Saturday in Parker that Konawaena came back to win. Pahoa coach Wayne Bidal said his team lost that match because of “too many errors at crucial times,” and he also felt that was an issue during the first two sets against Honokaa.
“When we play with less errors, we’re pretty much a flawless team and can pretty much beat anybody,” said Bidal, who is in his first year after previously leading the junior varsity. “We’re starting to peak, but when we make errors, we beat ourselves.”
He counted eight errors apiece in each of the first two sets that gave Honokaa points. However, Fisher’s hammer helped mask a lot of miscues.
The first two games went back and forth. After Fisher’s kill gave Pahoa a 23-20 lead in Game 1, O’Brien put down a point and another Fisher kill ended the set.
Ignited by Salva, the Dragons went on a late run and looked poised to tie the second set at 24-24, but Carvalho got a good look from the left side and hit wide as Pahoa took a 2-0 lead.
That point seemed to take a little fire out of the Dragons, who never recovered in quickly falling out of contention in the third set.
“We kind of started out slow and were kind of looking ahead to Konawaena,” Fisher said. “It will be satisfying to play them on Friday and get that revenge. Practice hard the next two days and come out hard for Konawaena.
“We just want to cut down on the errors. That’s where really all of the other team’s points come from. We put up a good block, we have people in the back row that can dig.”