Posted: February 25, 2012 - 6:55pm
Kalaheo tops McKinley 57-42, to win first D2 title
It was the 4th title for OIA champion and #1 seed Kalaheo, their first in Division II. The Mustangs' other championships were in 1985, 1995 and 2001, the last when coach Alika Smith was an assistant under his father Pete, who passed away in 2006. They now have become the first father and son to coach boys' basketball championship teams.
After leading 7-0 and holding McKinley(23-9) scoreless for over four minutes, Kalaheo(30-6) suddenly committed six turnovers, went without a field goal and found themselves trailing 12-9 at the end of the quarter. Mckinley claimed its largest lead of the game, 15-11 and had the momentum when Alex Ironside hit a three pointer with 7:24 left in the second quarter.
"It was a big stage and I told them to calm down and start working the game plan." said an emotional coach Smith after the awards ceremony.
It was a plan that included fewer turnovers, stingy defense and accurate shooting.
Taking a cue from their coach, the Mustangs started to get their act together. Defensively, they held McKinley to a single three-point basket the rest of the quarter and took the lead for good 19-18 on Nainoa Frank's basket with 1:12 left before the half.
"They made a good adjustment and I didn't" said McKinley coach Bob Morikuni.
Shredding the Mckinley defense for several close-range baskets, Kalaheo made 7 of 10 field goal attempts in the third quarter and expanded their 21-18 halftime lead to 38-29.
McKinley stayed within nine at 47-38, but with the Tigers forced to foul, the fourth quarter was largely a parade to the free throw line for the Mustangs, who hit 13 of 19 freebie attempts in the final quarter to pull away to the final margin.
Josh Ko led Kalaheo with a game-high 16 points, including their only 2 three-pointers. Frank added 13 points, 3 blocks and 2 steals, Derick Morgan had 11 points and 4 assists, and Shem Sukumaran 9 for the Mustangs who made 17 of 31 (54.8%) field goal attempts and 21 of 28 (75%) free throws.
Ironside, their season-long senior leader, paced Mckinley's scoring with 15 points, including a pair of three-pointers. No other player scored more than 5 points for the Tigers, who shot 12 of 40 (30%) from the field and 14 of 20(70%) free throws.
It was the fifth meeting of the season between the two OIA White East Division teams. Kalaheo won three of the previous four, including back-to-back four-point wins in last week's OIA playoffs.
"They knew us well and we knew them well" said Morikuni.
"It (playing a fifth time) is tough. They are a great team. Both teams deserved to win" said Smith.
And no one deserved to win more than coach Alika, who had several memorable near misses as a player.
In 1991, he was the sixth man on a team that lost to Hilo in the final. In 1992 and 1994 he was a starter on teams that lost heartbreaking semifinal games. In 1994, he was the starting pitcher on the Mustang baseball team that lost to Castle, which came from behind to win 5-4.
DIVISION II ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM (selected by HHSAA)
Dakota Berman, Hawai'i Prep
Nainoa Frank, Kalaheo
Alex Ironside, McKinley
Shane Jacob, Seabury Hall
Josh Ko, Kalaheo
Most Outstanding Player: Josh Ko, Kalaheo
February 25, 2012
Josh Ko, three-pointer from the right wing.
> more video highlights
Kalaheo's Nainoa Frank battles with McKinley's Alex Ironside for the ball. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Kalaheo's Nainoa Frank puts up a shot attempt against McKinley. Greg Yamamoto | SL
McKinley's Alex Ironside drives to the basket against Kalaheo's Shem Sukumaran. Eugene Tanner | SL
Kalaheo's Derick Morgan puts up a shot attempt over McKinley's Jace Bolosan. Aaliyah Birgado-Ormita | Leilehua HS
Kalaheo players raise the trophy after winning the Division II state title. Greg Yamamoto | SL