Aukai Wong and his Hilo High School alumni teammates knew with Iolani’s Derrick Low on the court, the game was not over until the final buzzer sounded.
So, when the talented Low missed a long, contested 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime, the Viking alums could finally celebrate a hard-fought 67-65 win over the defending champion Raiders in the Hilo High Alumni Basketball Tournament’s open division final Monday afternoon at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.
Wong, a former Vikings and UH-Hilo standout, led the winners with a game-high 25 points. But many in the crowd of about 250 fans were thrilled to see the 6-foot-3 Wong occasionally match up against the cat-quick, 6-1 Low, who plays professionally part of the year in the Ukraine and the other part in Turkey.
Low, who starred collegiately at Washington State, finished with 23 points while dazzling the fans with his clever ballhandling skills, soft touch on his jumper or floaters, and keen ability to find open teammates for easy shots.
Wong, who poured in 13 points in the first half and 12 in the second half, drained six 3-pointers in the game — and like Low, drew oohs and ahs from the fans with his long range shot-making ability.
The Vikings led 36-28 at halftime and the game was tied at 57-57 at the end of regulation.
Wong hit a trey to give Hilo a 60-59 advantage early in the four-minute OT and Jalen Carvalho, the recently graduated Viking star guard, busted a trey and added two free throws with :42 remaining to give the hosts a 65-63 lead. Wong then drilled one of two charity shots to stretch the margin to 66-63.
Iolani sliced the deficit to 66-65 on Cord Anderson’s follow-up at :04. But Hilo guard Clarence Kekaualua was fouled and sank a free throw at :03 to make it 67-65.
The Raiders then threw a long pass to an open player, who tossed it back to Low, who fired up his difficult trey as the buzzer sounded.
Carvalho, a 6-3 all-state guard who will play at Oregon Tech next year, followed Wong with 18 points.
Cord Anderson had 17 points to help Low, while Brad Anderson chipped in with 13.
Wong, who graduated from Hilo High in 2005, was named the open division’s most outstanding player. Low, a 2003 Iolani grad, only played in the championship game.
In earlier games Monday at the Civic, it was:
• In the open division third-place game, Waiakea Blue edged Kamehameha-Hawaii 54-50.
• In the open division consolation final, Waiakea defeated St. Joseph 69-67.
• Hawaii Mix beat Iolani 42-28 in the 35 &over championship game. Hawaii Mix’s Jason Cabral, a former Laupahoehoe High star, was named the division’s outstanding player.
• In the 35 &over third-place game, Kohala topped Hilo Blue 59-39.
Manliguis Scholarship winners
Hilo graduates Aliyah Pana and Austin Dante were named the recipients of the Larry Manliguis Scholarships, offered by the tournament each year.
Both Pana and Dante were outstanding players for their Viking teams’ this past year.
Pana received a $300 stipend provided by the Hilo High Class of 1960 while Dante’s $300 stipend was provided by the Hilo High alumni tournament.
Pana will attend UH-Hilo; Dante, Linfield College in Oregon.
Hilo High alums Bruce Ferreira and Jason Mandaquit run the annual alumni tournament and oversee the Manliguis Scholarships.