By J.R. DeGROOTE
Stephens Media Hawaii
It’s been quite a week for Kohala. The Cowboys captured their first Big Island Interscholastic Federation boys basketball banner since 2009 last Saturday, and they remained hot Thursday in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II quarterfinals, knocking off Kauai 71-56 at Kalani High School on Oahu.
“It was tough win for us,” Kohala head coach Don Fernandez said. “It was a close game all the way through, but we kept fighting and plugging away.”
Mikala Jordan followed up his stellar BIIF championship performance with 26 points against the previously undefeated Red Raiders (8-1), including three 3-pointers.
“He’s a confident player,” said Fernandez of his junior forward. “He isn’t afraid to shoot it and he hits the big shots. He has come up big for us this last week or so.”
Kealen Figueroa added 15 points for the Cowboys (11-3), Ryan Caravalho added 10 and Justin Agbayani had nine.
“They are confident in themselves and stay cool throughout the day leading up to the games,” Fernandez said. “They are really different bunch. Sometimes I have got to push them plenty to get more excited about things. They get so focused.”
Melvin Tingzon was the leading scorer for Kauai (8-1) with 19 points.
The Cowboys held a slight lead through three quarters, but blew the game open in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys outscored the Red Raiders 25-13 in the final quarter to cement the 15-point victory.
“It opened up in the fourth quarter,” Fernandez said. “Before when we went up, they would always find a way to come back. They even tied it a couple of times. But we kept plugging away and we were able to pull it out.”
Kohala advances to play Kalani (7-7), the Oahu Interscholastic League runner-up, in the semifinals at 5 p.m. today.
Kalani knocked off the No. 1 seed and defending D-II state champions Saint Francis 54-41 on Thursday. While the win was a monumental upset, the Falcons had the advantage of the game being played on its home court. Kohala will have to face Kalani at the same venue.
“It’s a big advantage to play at home,” Fernandez said. “On top of that, they can hit 3s and have real athletic forwards that always drive hard to the basket. They kept up a full-court pressure for most of the game, too, so they are well-conditioned. I expect it to be a tough one for us.”
Kauai 10 12 21 13— 56
Kohala 13 15 18 25— 71
HPA 44, Kaiser 41: BIIF runner-up Hawaii Preparatory Academy (14-1) rallied late against No. 2-seeded Kaiser (8-7) to advance to the semifinals.
Ka Makani entered the fourth quarter down six points, but outscored the Cougars 13-4 in the final period to secure the win.
Junior guards Justas Gecas and Hide Akai each had 13 points and David Ovbagbedia added seven points.
Chance Kalauger led Kaiser, the OIA champion, with 20 points.
HPA’s scoring leader, Kalan Camero, missed a third consecutive game with an injury.
Ka Makani advance to play undefeated Seabury Hall in the semifinals today at 7 p.m. at Kalani
The Spartans won the Maui Interscholastic League Division II title with a perfect 14-0 record, and squeaked by Damien 58-55 on Thursday in its quarterfinal.
Hawaii Prep 14 9 8 13 — 44
Kaiser 16 10 11 4 — 41