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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveJanuary 14, 2020, 11:26pm
Tue, Jan 14, 2020 @ Kamehameha
KAPALAMA HEIGHTS — Christmas Togiai scored 15 of his game-high 27 points in a tide-turning third quarter to lead No. 1 Kamehameha to a 63-45 win over No. 3 Punahou in Interscholastic League of Honolulu boys basketball at Kekuhaupio Gymnasium Tuesday night.
The Warriors improved to 3-0 in league play (16-5 overall) and remain the lone remaining undefeated team in the ILH Division I standings, while the Buffanblu dropped their second straight to fall to 2-2 (12-8 overall).
Togiai, a 6-foot-2 senior and All-Hawaii First Team forward last season, matched his season-high in scoring that he set in a loss to Long Island Lutheran (Brookville, New York) in last month's Iolani Classic.
Kamehameha led by as many as seven late in the first half, but Punahou pulled even at 31-all on Peyton Macapulay's basket that came off a Kanoa Kalahiki assist with 5:32 left in the third quarter.
However, Togiai quickly answered on the other end of the floor. His 3-pointer from the left wing — one of just two triples for the Warriors — gave his team the lead for good. Ioasa Tua's free throw on the Buffanblu's ensuing possession cut the Kamehameha lead to 34-32 with 5:07 left in the period.
And that's when the home team separated.
Togiai scored 11 points during a 17-1 run by the Warriors to close out the third quarter, which turned the 31-all tie into a decided 48-32 advantage for the Warriors by the start of the fourth.
"I think just we stuck together as a team," Kamehameha second-year coach Larry Park said. "Our depth is one of our strengths — so I think at that point we had a few subs in there with Chris (Togiai). Chris got a few buckets in there, but everybody supports each other, so the guys playing defense with that group — EJ (Kapihe), I think, got that offensive rebound and putback — and so again the depth of our team shows up in those critical times."
Punahou went scoreless for a stretch of more than six minutes until Alex Nafarette's 3-pointer 59 seconds into the fourth quarter. By then, however, the Warriors had stretched their lead to 15 points.
"I think it was just more knowing of what we had to do on defense, because I think the first half we were overrunning too much and we were trying to gamble a lot, so just knowing that we could keep them in front, play one-on-one with each other and I think that just led to a lot of buckets and we just didn't wait for them to set-up, we tried to attack the basket as much as possible," Togiai said.
Buffanblu coach Darren Matsuda lamented his team's poorly-executed third quarter, when it was outscored 21 to 8.
"Christmas is tough. I mean, the biggest thing is you gotta be willing to take a charge on him or try to stop him somehow because he's a physical player," Matsuda said. "He gets his head down and he gets going, it's tough to stop him, but I think that we had three possessions in a row where we had a couple turnovers and a blocked shot and I think that kind of opened the gate and that was the ballgame right there, I think. You know, basketball is a game of runs, so we were trying to stem the run but unfortunately today they hit a good one, a real good one."
Kapihe's putback on the offensive glass with 2:25 left in the third forced Matsuda to call a timeout. Togiai kept the pressure on out of the break when he drew Tua's fourth foul and made both free throws to make it a 44-32 lead. On Punahou's next trip down the floor, Togiai blocked a Yoshi Kobayashi shot then raced the other way for an easy fast break layup.
"I think it was Oni (Pung), but he did a good job of pushing Yoshi (Kobayashi) over the screen and I was just in a good position, he put me in a good position to make the play and I just read the shot and then after that it was just a hustle play, who wanted it more," Togiai said.
Park praised the play of Togiai and the defense as a whole, which limited Punahou's duo of Ryder Hsiung (10.7 points per game entering Tuesday) and Kobayashi (15.0 ppg) to 12 and five points, respectively.
"The blocked shot (by Togiai) and he got that breakaway off that blocked shot, so it was both sides of the floor and they all do it, they all commit to defense, so he had some of those spectacular plays, I guess, but they're all still sound, because (Punahou is) good — Kobayashi can shoot it, Ryder can shoot it — so we knew we had to be sound on defense and they support each other doing what they're supposed to do on every possession," Park said.
Punahou cut it to a 12-point deficit twice in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer.
Hsiung accounted for all eight of the Buffanblu's first-quarter points, including a couple of 3-pointers, and had 10 by halftime, but was held to a single bucket thereafter.
Park credited assistant coach Brandon Dumlao for making a key defensive adjustment after Punahou's three first-half 3-pointers.
"We pulled off our press a little bit. Coach Brandon made a good call at halftime and we just went our basic half-court man, just so that there wasn't as much space to chase and recover and that was a great call," Park said. "That was a great call to settle us down and make them shoot tough shots."
Defensively, the Buffanblu sat in a 2-3 zone for much of the night.
"We knew from scouting that when we get the ball in the high post that the big guy is going to come up, so it's easy to play one-on-one with him and we have a lot of good shooters — even though it didn't show tonight — but we have a lot of good shooters that can knock down shots, so once we get in the middle we can just go to the basket, get some fouls," Togiai explained.
While the Warriors struggled with their outside shot, they did well to penetrate the zone and get to the free-throw line, where they shot 85.2 percent (23 of 27). It was in stark contrast to last Saturday's win over Damien, when Kamehameha was a woeful 12 of 25 from the charity stripe.
"We worked a lot on that in practice. After running we'd get on the line, shoot free throws (in) game situations and there's always a punishment if you miss, so it's just incentive to make it," said Togiai, who made 10 of 13 at the line.
Kordel Ng scored 11 points, Bailey Lee was 6 of 6 on free throws and finished with 10 points for the Warriors.
Tua scored nine points off the bench and Kanoa Kalahiki added six points for the Buffanblu, who hit six 3-pointers in the loss.
Kamehameha led 27-24 at halftime.
The Warriors next play Saint Louis — which posted a 58-57 upset of No. 4 Damien Tuesday night — at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at McCabe Gymnasium, before closing out the week at Mid-Pacific Saturday at 5 p.m.
Punahou, which was coming off a 44-32 loss to then-No. 1 Maryknoll Saturday, will look to rebound Thursday, when it hosts Iolani at 6:30 p.m. at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.
"We just gotta stay in the moment. I mean, we played Maryknoll and Kamehameha and they're the two top teams in our league and I feel we didn't play as well as we could have in both games," Matsuda said. "We're not completing games right now. We played well for about two-and-a-half, three quarters of this game and we didn't complete it, and that's the thing, to beat a great team like Kamehameha or Maryknoll you gotta play well; you gotta play a good game."
Maryknoll repeated as Division I state champion with a win over Kamehameha last Friday.
The Spartans avenged three losses to the Warriors in ILH play to capture their second straight championship.
Cowboys outlasted Roosevelt in a frantic finish to claim first-ever state crown.
Cowboys held McKinley to just three combined points in the second and third quarter.
Maryknoll turned back Damien, while Kamehameha rallied past Kahuku in Thursday's semifinals.
Rough Riders win back-and-forth affair against top-seeded Hawaii Prep.