By BILL O’REAR
Tribune-Herald sports editor
Jodd Carter scored 20 points, including 13 in a roller coaster-like second half, and Austin Dante added 14 to lead the host Vikings to a hard-fought 51-50 win over Pearl City to claim the Larry Manliguis/Hilo High Holiday Basketball Classic title on Saturday night.
In other games Saturday at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, Baldwin beat Kohala 54-35 for third place; Waiakea topped Keaau 60-46 for fifth; and Kamehameha downed Hanalani 65-36 for seventh.
Carter, a 5-foot-9 junior guard with a deadly 3-point shot, was named the tournament’s most valuable player and joined on the all-tourney squad by teammate Dante, Pearl City’s Sonny Glisson and Isaac Amorin, and Kohala’s Kala’i Kapeliela.
But it took an inspired second half by the Vikings to battle past the hustling Chargers out of the Oahu Interscholastic Association.
Pearl City, under head coach Lionel Villarmia, came out on fire and drilled three 3-pointers in the first quarter — two by the smooth-shooting Glisson and one from senior Reymart Rosario — to grab a 16-7 advantage. Carter had all seven Hilo points while his teammates struggled from the floor.
Glisson then fueled a 7-0 run midway through the second period with back-to-back baskets, including a 3-pointer, to extend the Pearl City lead to 25-10 at the 3:33 mark. However, the young Vikings rallied and closed the quarter on an 8-0 run — with Dante, a 5-9 point guard with the brightest lime green Nikes in the state, swishing a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to slash the deficit to 25-18.
Hilo opened the third period with renewed energy and quickly cut the Chargers’ cushion to 25-22 on Kamu Patnaude’s driving layup and then 25-24 on Kian Kurokawa’s two free throws with 5:52 remaining. But Pearl City regained its composure and led by the strong inside play of senior Tyson Hickcox and Amorin, built a 36-29 lead at the 1:12 mark.
Still, the Vikings weren’t ready to give away the title to the Chargers and the high-energy Patnaude and clutch Carter drained back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the hosts within 36-35 at the end of the third quarter.
And with the game still in doubt, Villarmia challenged his team to step up: “It’s mano-a-mano,” he told his players when Hilo answered back strongly in the momentum-shifting third period.
The calm Carter opened the fourth quarter with a long 3-pointer to lift Hilo on top 38-36, but with the way the two teams were battling, it seemed obvious the game could go down to the final buzzer.
The Chargers answered Carter’s trey with baskets from Amorin and senior Bricen Shafer, taking back the lead at 40-38 at the 6:29 mark.
But the improving Dante erupted for a dead-on 3-pointer on the Vikings’ next possession to give the hosts a 41-40 advantage. Then Carter added another trey off a Dante assist and Dante capped the 8-0 run with a layup to stretch Hilo’s cushion to 46-40 at 3:01.
Rosario hit a 3-pointer at 2:26 to cut the Vikings’ lead to 46-43 before Patnaude sank a free throw at 1:29 to make it 47-43.
Pearl City spread the floor and the dangerous Glisson, a 5-7 senior, was fouled on a 3-point attempt that fell short at 1:03. But he missed two of the three charity shots, cutting the deficit to 47-44.
Hilo’s Jacob Genegabus was fouled at :44 and drilled both free throws for a 49-44 advantage.
The quick Amorin, a southpaw point guard, hit a layup and was fouled at :33. Then after he missed the charity shot and no one blocked him out, he hustled in to grab the rebound and follow it in to slice the Vikings’ lead to 49-48.
But Carter broke loose on the inbounds pass and hit a layup to give Hilo a 51-48 lead with :20 left.
Glisson was fouled at :09 and made both free throws to close the gap to 51-50. The Chargers then fouled Genegabus, who missed the front end of a one-and-one bonus free throw opportunity. But the Vikings pressured the ball and Pearl City turned it over without getting another shot at catching the hosts.
Patnaude was fouled at 0.4 seconds and missed the charity shot, however, time ran out as the players fought for the final rebound.
Carter led the offensive charge for Hilo with his game-high 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Dante had 14 points (2 treys) plus five assists while Patnaude and Genegabus each added seven points. The Vikings also got a strong rebounding and defensive effort from junior power forward Drew Kell.
Glisson led Pearl City with 15 points, but only five came in the second half. Amorin and the physical Hickcox each added 11 points.
The soft-spoken Carter credited the Chargers for their inspired performance.
“They were playing really good in the first half,” Carter said. “We needed to play more team basketball. We needed everyone to play as a team if we were going to have a chance to win.”
The young Viking said Mandaquit made the necessary adjustments at halftime and Hilo played a better second half.
“We came out with more energy,” Carter said. “We played more as a team. It’s a good win and I want to thank all of my teammates for helping out tonight.”
After a slow first half, Mandaquit said the Vikings “started doing the things we wanted to do” in the final half. He pointed to better team offense, pressure defense and strong rebounding as keys to the victory.
“It’s about gaining confidence in our system,” he said. “We have a young team and we’re not used to playing against Oahu teams.
“I’m excited for our team. If we play as a team, we have the ability and athleticism to play with the physical Oahu teams.”
Pearl City 16 9 11 14 — 50
Hilo 7 11 17 16 — 51
• Baldwin 54, Kohala 35: Jeremiah Badillo, Phillip Thomas and Teva Eldredge each scored nine points to lead the Bears from Maui over the Cowboys in the third-place game.
Kala’i Kapeliela had a game-high 14 points, including three treys, to lead Kohala.
Baldwin 13 16 11 14 — 54
Kohala 10 7 8 10 — 35
• Waiakea 60, Keaau 46: Owen Sandstrom scored 18 points, Maikai Gahan 16 and Lucas St. George 14 to lead the Warriors over the Cougars in the fifth-place game.
Davin Alviento had a game-high 22 points to lead Keaau and Edgar Ventura added 12.
Keaau 11 10 15 10 — 46
Waiakea 21 10 13 15 — 60
• Kamehameha 65, Hanalani 36: Blaine-Allen Manliguis scored 11 points to lead the Warriors over the Royals from Oahu in the seventh-place game.
Lucas Leamen had 14 points to lead Hanalani.
Hanalani 10 6 11 9 — 36
Kamehameha 19 21 15 10 — 65
3-point shooting champ
Kohala senior Kala’i Kapeliela captured the tournament’s 3-point shooting contest, edging Waiakea senior Owen Sandstrom in the finals. The hot-shooting Cowboy hit 13 treys while Sandstrom had 10.
In the semifinals, Kapeliela made 20 treys in the one-minute session to beat Hilo’s Jodd Carter (18) while Sandstrom slipped past Hilo senior Kamu Patnaude 9-7.
Patnaude, one of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation’s top defensive players, has improved his perimeter shot from a year ago and poured in a career-high 24 points in Hilo’s 84-58 semifinal win over Kohala.
Saturday’s Impact Players
The winners from Saturday’s Hawaii National Guard “Impact Player” of the game were: Game 1, Kamehameha’s Blaine-Allen Manliguis; Game 2, Waiakea’s Maikai Gahan; Game 3, Baldwin’s Bradley Bowlin; Game 4, Hilo’s Austin Dante.