By BILL O’REAR
Tribune-Herald sports editor
Kalaheo High School’s Alika Smith believes if you have shooters on your team and you can make the extra pass to get them wide-open looks, only good things can happen.
On Saturday night, the extra pass helped the hot-shooting Mustangs drain 10 of 18 3-pointers on their way to an impressive 62-45 win over Konawaena in the Waiakea/Keaau Boys Basketball Tournament championship game at the Warriors Gym.
Josh Ko scored 18 points, Kalei Zuttermeister had 14 and Derick Morgan nine points to spark the red-hot Kalaheo performance. Ko hit 3 of 6 treys; Zuttermeister, 4 of 6, and Morgan added two treys in the explosive attack.
The Oahu Interscholastic Association powerhouse jumped to an 11-0 first quarter lead and held a 29-point advantage midway through the fourth period before senior Kenan Gaspar fueled a late Konawaena run that chopped the final margin to 17. Gaspar scored 18 of the Wildcats’ 25 points in the fourth quarter. He was the lone Konawaena player in double figures, in a nightmarish shooting evening for the Wildcats, who were 1 for 11 from the field in the first half.
Smith, the Kalaheo coach and a former standout for the Mustangs and University of Hawaii, was pleased with his talented team’s effort against a dangerous Konawaena squad.
“I’m really proud of my team tonight,” Smith said. “It was a total team effort. The last two games, our guys did a much better job shooting the ball. They were willing to make the extra pass and I’ve told them, if we’ll do that this year, we’ll be there in the end (state tournament).
“There are six to seven teams in the state this year that are capable of winning the state championship. There’s a lot of parity, it’s wide open.”
Smith sees strength in the OIA as well as the highly competitive Interscholastic League of Honolulu.
“Moanalua is tough out of the OIA and Punahou has been a force in the ILH. But you can’t sleep on any ILH team,” the Mustangs coach said. “And it’s going to be interesting to watch the Big Island teams — Hilo, Konawaena and Kamehameha — to see who comes out of there.”
The Mustangs finished the four-day, 14-team tournament with a 4-0 record.
Kalaheo rolled over defending Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II champion Hawaii Prep 57-29 on Friday night in the Blue Bracket final at Waiakea before taking on Konawaena on Saturday. The Wildcats fought past Kamehameha 55-38 on Friday in the Red Bracket final at Keaau to set up the Kalaheo-Konawaena overall finale. But the Mustangs first survived a scare on Thursday, holding off fired-up Honokaa 44-43 in a game in which the Dragons had two shots to win it in the last five seconds.
“I’m really impressed with Honokaa,” Smith said. “They played well against us and had a chance to win. But I was glad to see our guys respond and play better in our final two games.”
Against Konawaena, the game plan was simple: Make the extra pass on offense and play good team defense.
“We wanted to push their big guy (6-foot-7 Brenton Shropshire) out from the paint and guard their shooters,” Smith said. “I thought we accomplished that and Derick Morgan had a terrific defensive game for us.”
The Mustangs’ defense suffocated the Konawaena shooters through three quarters before Gaspar finally heated up and finished with a scoring burst. Shropshire, the Wildcats’ center who had 19 points and 15 rebounds in the win over Kamehameha, was constantly harassed by Kalaheo’s defenders and wasn’t a factor on Saturday.
“It was good tournament for us,” Smith said. “We did what we needed to do, and we’ll try to build on our momentum.”
In other final round games Saturday at the Waiakea High gym, it was: Kamehameha 57, Hawaii Preparatory Academy 49; Honokaa 45, Ka’u 39; and Kealakehe 47, Kohala 43.
In earlier games at the Keaau High gym, it was: Keaau 48, Pahoa 46 in overtime; Hilo 72, Kalani 47; and Waiakea JV 34, St. Joseph 30.
Kalaheo 14 14 16 18 — 62
Konawaena 6 8 6 25 — 45
• Kamehameha 57, Hawaii Prep 49: Senior Shaun Kagawa scored 20 points, including 13 in the second half, and Blaine-Allen Manliguis had 16 points, including three treys, to lead the D-I Warriors to a high-intensity win.
Senior Javon Crnic led the D-II Ka Makani with 26 points, including 17 in the first half. He also had two crowd-thrilling dunks in the opening half, when Kamehameha carried a 27-25 lead into the intermission.
Senior Kama DeSilva added 10 points for Hawaii Prep.
“The game had the feel of a semifinal playoff game,” said ESPN talk show host Josh Pacheco after the contest. “The intensity was at a very high level.”
Hawaii Prep 11 14 14 10 — 49
Kamehameha 20 7 15 15 — 57
• Honokaa 45, Ka’u 39: Keanu Freitas scored 16 points and Darus Ignacio 15 to lead the D-II Dragons to a come-from-behind win.
Gregory Javar topped the Trojans with 13 points.
Dragon shooting guard Isaiah Meyer had the shot of the night, banking in an off-balance 30-foot 3-pointer at the end of the third period to give Honokaa a 28-27 lead.
Ka’u 11 13 3 12 — 39
Honokaa 7 10 11 17 — 45
• Kealakehe 47, Kohala 43: Senior guard Deion Utrera scored 23 points to lead the D-I Waveriders.
Maikala Jordan led the D-II Cowboys with 10 points.
Kohala 14 9 7 13 — 43
Kealakehe 10 6 15 16 — 47
• Keaau 48, Pahoa 46, OT: Davin Alviento scored 20 points and Edgar Ventura 15 to lead the host Cougars.
Senior Nick Fisher led the Daggers with 17 points.
Keaau led 30-17 at the intermission and the game was tied at 42-42 at the end of regulation. The Cougars then outpointed Pahoa 6-4 in the extra session to earn the win.
Pahoa 7 10 21 4 4 — 46
Keaau 13 17 8 4 6 — 48
• Hilo 72, Kalani 47: Jalen Carvalho scored 19 points and Jodd Carter had 18 to lead the Vikings to a convincing win.
Dallas Asuncion led the Falcons from Oahu with eight points.
Kalani 8 11 13 14 — 47
Hilo 8 23 28 13 — 72
• Waiakea JV 34, St. Joseph 30: Kahinu Alapai scored nine points to lead the young Warriors.
Ben Uhlmann had a game-high 15 points to top the Cardinals.
Waiakea JV 9 9 7 9 — 34
St. Joseph 2 11 11 6 — 30
Kalaheo’s Josh Ko was named the tournament’s most valuable player on the Hawaii Tribune-Herald’s all-tournament team.
He was joined on the all-tournament squad by teammate Derick Morgan, Konawaena’s Kenan Gaspar, Kamehameha’s Shaun Kagawa, Hawaii Prep’s Javon Crnic and Honokaa’s Keanu Freitas.
Kalaheo also has one of the most promising sophomores in the state in sophomore Kupaa Harrison, who started and delivered a well-rounded performance throughout the tournament. He can score from the perimeter or by taking it to the rim, is a quality passer and a steady defender.
Kupaa is the son of former Kailua High coach Tim Harrison, who helps the Kalaheo staff this season as what he calls “a consultant.”
Dunk you very much
Hawaii Prep’s Jovan Crnic, a 6-4 point guard, had the best two dunks of the tournament — both coming in Saturday’s loss to Kamehameha. The first came in the first period when he drove the length of the court through the Warriors’ defense and hammered home a one-handed dunk.
The second came later in the first half when Crnic went back door and flushed a wide open two-handed dunk that brought oohs and ahs from the crowd.
Viks, Wildcats on deck
The Larry Manliguis Hilo High Holiday Classic will be held Thursday through Saturday at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.
The host Vikings will be joined in the eight-team field by four Big Island schools, Baldwin from Maui and Pearl City and Hanalani from Oahu.
In first round games Thursday, it’s Kohala vs. Keaau at 3:30 p.m., Baldwin vs. Waiakea at 5 p.m., Kamehameha vs. Pearl City at 6:30 p.m. and Hanalani vs. Hilo at 8 p.m.
The four-team Konawaena High Basketball Tournament will be held Thursday through Saturday at Onizuka Gym. The Wildcats are joined in the round-robin event by Kealakehe, Pahoa and Laupahoehoe.
Email Hawaii Tribune-Herald sports editor Bill O’Rear at firstname.lastname@example.org.