Hawaiian Electric Game of the Week
Maryknoll stifles Punahou for D1 crown


Sat, Feb 23, 2019 @ Stan Sheriff

Final 1 2 3 4  
Punahou (29-6, 29-6) 6 581534
Maryknoll (30-2, 30-2) 9 12 14 1550
Pts: Marcus Tobin (MS) 17 pts
Ast: Kalai Akaka (MS) 2 ast

MANOA — Kelly Grant can now de-stress for the next couple weeks.

No. 1 and top seed Maryknoll smothered their Wilder Avenue rival and No. 2 Punahou, 50-34, to win their first Snapple/HHSAA Division I Boys Basketball State Championship since 1984 at the Stan Sheriff Center Saturday.

"Super stressful. I had a hard time sleeping every night," admitted coach Grant. "I know we can do a lot of things, but as a coach, you always want your best product meaning your plays, personnel. I'm going to enjoy this a couple weeks, but after that I'm starting to think about next season."

Things have come full circle for coach Grant. He won a state title as a player and 35 years later, he brings the trophy home to his alma mater. He won a state title back in 2007 with Kaimuki, which ironically was against the Buffanblu.

"This year was their year, they hit all the check marks. They were the better team and this was their year. We were in their shoes last year and you could see it, they were hungry and and I'm happy for them, especially for Kelly, this was a special moment for his boys. We had that last year with Darnell (Arceneaux) and his son (Cole)," said Punahou coach Darren Matsuda.

"Looking into the crowd today, there were a lot of proud alumni. It was a proud moment for our for community," said coach Grant.

Marcus Tobin scored a team-high 17 points and five boards and Makoto Kamata followed up with 16 points and was a perfect 8 for 8 from the charity stripe.

"It feels great. Coach Kelly won't be talking about his state championship for a while now. During practice all he would talk about how he was the last one to win at Maryknoll. We wanted to prove him wrong that we can win and that was a great feeling," said Kamata.

Maryknoll beat Punahou in all three Interscholastic League of Honolulu meetings by an average of 10.3 points prior to tonight.

"It's hard. It's like practicing with them because they know all your moves because you played them four times already. You have to be more creative and think outside the box. It's a little harder, but it makes it more fun because it's competitive," said Tobin.

"We have our plays we're going to run and then the next day, I'm throwing something else inside there. We ran two different man plays and a press breaker. You have to show them something different. They ran different plays also," said coach Grant.

It was the fourth time Punahou and Maryknoll were facing off this season. The Spartans had won all three previous matchups. Greg Yamamoto | SL

The Spartans held a 9-6 lead after the first quarter, but the Buffanblu got within one, 12-11, after Kaulana Makaula's layup in the second quarter. The Buffanblu could not get any closer the rest of the way as Maryknoll would close out the quarter on a 9-0 run.

Maryknoll took advantage of Punahou's foul trouble. Makaula and Duke Clemens (nine points) each picked up their third personal foul before halftime. Maninoa Tufono left after a leg injury with 3:02 remaining in the second quarter and never returned.

"Definitely," Matsuda said of how it changed their game plan. "Mani(noa) was ruled out of the game and we're already short a couple bigs and we got really small. That changed things a lot."

"That was huge," said coach Grant. "When you get into foul trouble, it changes the complexion of the game."

Maryknoll as a team shot 7 for 10 from the free-throw line in the first half and was 6 for 8 in the second quarter and shot 18 for 29 (62.0 percent) overall for the game.

Makoto Kamata put in 16 points with many of his scores coming on layups. Greg Yamamoto | SL

"We knew they weren't going to contest our shots so coach told us to take it hard to the rim everytime we got our chance so it worked out for us," said Kamata, as he scored most of his points off of layups.

"It made them more passive so we were able to attack the basket harder. We wanted to make it a priority before the game," said Tobin.

Tobin scored 11 points in the first half on 5-of-7 shooting. He had a putback jumper before the horn sounded as Maryknoll took a 21-11 lead at halftime.

"The last game I missed a lot of shots. I made sure I put up a lot shots before the game. Once the first one fell, my confidence went going and I was in rhthym," said Tobin.

"He's always been confident. Anything within 15 feet, he's money," Grant said of Tobin.

Punahou as a team shot 4 for 16 from the field in the first half and shot 11 for 41 (26.8 percent) for the game.

"We weren't hitting our shots. I thought we got good shots, but we were missing them," said Matsuda.

In their two state tournament games, Maryknoll stymied Kapolei and Kailua to hold them under 30 points and held Punahou to their lowest point output of the season.

"They were an extremely good defensive team," said Matsuda.

"This is not an understatement: this is probably the best defensive team I've ever coached and I honestly think this is probably the best defensive team to come out of Hawaii the past 20 years," said coach Grant.

Maryknoll had a turnover-free first half and committed six turnovers the whole game. Punahou committed 11 turnovers overall.

"We were able to get into all the gaps. We are so long and the guys can break the press and the half court lines," said coach Grant.

Marcus Tobin flushed a big alley oop off the pass from Niko Robben in the third quarter. Pete Caldwell | SL

Niko Robben threw an alley oop to Tobin for a two-hand flush to put Maryknoll up 17.

"I got into the huddle and told them, 'You want to run that play?' They said, 'Let's go and run it,'" said coach Grant.

Jakob Kimura (10 points) scored three points off of free throws and Punahou's next points came off of Clemens' basket at the 1:25 mark as Punahou shot 2 for 11.

Punahou cut a 15 point deficit down to 10 after Makaula drained a 3 from the left corner with 3:38 left in the fourth and brought it within 10 again after Kimura's two foul shots. However, Maryknoll went up by as much as 20 as both teams emptied out their bench in the closing minute.


Snapple/HHSAA Division I All-Tournament Team
as selected by media and the HHSAA

Marcus Tobin, Maryknoll
Duke Clemens, Punahou
Jakob Kimura, Punahou
Kawika Lee, Iolani
Everett Torres-Kahapea, Kailua

Most Outstanding Player: Makoto Kamata, Maryknoll

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].



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