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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Brandon Ching | ScoringLiveJanuary 3, 2020, 11:38pm
Fri, Jan 3, 2020 @ Maryknoll
MAKIKI—Top-ranked Maryknoll (1-0) got all it could handle as the Spartans pulled away from Iolani, 40-31 to open Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I play at the Clarence T. C. Ching Gymnasium.
The Raiders (0-1) held the home team scoreless in the third quarter and took the lead, 30-29 after Wesley Yamada found Andrew Dawson on the left wing for a 3-pointer for Iolani's only lead of the game.
"We didn't have a chance to see them that much. We weren't prepared, we knew they were trapping but we didn't know where the traps were coming from so it caught us off guard," Maryknoll coach Kelly Grant said.
Niko Robben scored a team-high 12 points and got to the rim for four points to give Maryknoll the lead for good. The Spartans shot 7 for 12 from the free throw line in the quarter and outscored the Raiders, 12-4 in the final stanza.
"We unraveled when Niko got into foul trouble. When he came back on the floor, it was back to normal. I think we made free throws down the stretch and I think playing tight games on the Mainland helped us out. We played some close games up there, I think that really helped us out," Grant said.
Maryknoll appeared to run away with the game in the first half as the Spartans used their size advantage. Liko Soares scored 11 points and battered the smaller Raiders on the blocks as Maryknoll led by 12, 28-16 at halftime.
The Raiders came out in the second half with a renewed sense of energy and commitment on the defensive end to force turnovers and frustrated the defending league and state champions. Iolani chipped away as Dawson accounted for five points and Yamada had four. Soares missed a one-and-one free throw and Zacary Tenn made two foul shots with 1.1 seconds left as Iolani trailed, 28-27 going into the final period.
"I told the boys, Iolani is not going to fall down and let you guys win the game. They're going to play physical, they're going to play tough and play 100 percent and run everything at 100 percent. You have to match their intensity. Some of the guys, I felt didn't do it," Grant said.
There's little time to savor the win as Maryknoll travels to play No. 5 Mid-Pacific, who lost to Damien in overtime, 50-47 on Saturday, Jan. 4.
Iolani faces the Owls on Tuesday, Jan. 7 and it will be a homecoming for coach Ryan Hirata, who helped build up that program before taking over as head coach for the Raiders this season.
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