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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Brandon Ching | ScoringLiveFebruary 5, 2020, 9:00pm
Wed, Feb 5, 2020 @ Mid-Pacific
MANOA — Survive and advance.
Mid-Pacific rallied in the second half and pulled away late in the fourth quarter to beat Iolani, 39-33, in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I single-elimination postseason tournament at Mills Gymnasium Wednesday.
The Owls defeated the Raiders for the fourth time this season. The two teams met in the preseason at the Iolani Classic and Mid-Pacific edged them twice in ILH play, 35-32 and 32-29 in overtime.
The historic program win gives Mid-Pacific a date to face third seed Punahou tomorrow at Hemmeter Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. The Buffanblu won both regular season matchups 68-56 and 48-41.
"Punahou presents a lot of unique challenges. Opposed to this, it will be a faster pace. So if we can slow that down, we will enjoy it like tonight. The magic number is three," Mid-Pacific coach Robert Shklov said referencing to the number of wins to get a state berth. "You can't get to one until you get two. You can't get to zero until you get to one. We've been telling them the whole week that's what you have to work for."
"It's the first playoff win in school history so you got to love it. We've been working all season for this and coach was saying how we have to play together. Today we got out with in a win and it's a good one for us and the school," Kahue-Parker added.
"It's great to make history for coach Rob and the school and everyone who came before us," Lapina said.
Despite being competitive during a rigorous ILH season, Iolani wrapped it up with a 0-13 record.
"You knew it was going to be a battle because coach Ryan (Hirata) runs such a great program. I know from first-hand experience, he's going to have his guys scouted and playing as hard as they can no matter what the standings are. I'm grateful for his tutelage and everything. You can see the program he built and it was reflected in their character," said Shklov, who assisted Hirata before taking over as head coach this season.
Elijah Kahue-Parker led the Owls with 14 points and Kamana Lapina went to work in the fourth quarter to score seven of his 13 points in the period.
"You saw what kind of a special player Kamana Lapina is down the stretch. Elijah did really good in the beginning and Kala (Nakaya) was strong as ever. The resolve for them earlier in the year, some close ones where we had the lead late and lost our aggressiveness. I think it paid off in the end when they learned from those experiences and that's the sign of a really good team," Shklov said.
Mid-Pacific held a four point advantage to open the fourth quarter until Iolani's Andrew Dawson brought the score within two. Lapina put the Owls back up by four, but Devan Fujinaka, who led the Raiders with 11, drained a triple to bring Iolani within one, 28-27.
Lapina hit a pull up jumper to give Mid-Pacific a little cushion, but Iolani would bring the game within one twice. Lapina hit a 3-pointer near the top of the arc for a 33-31 advantage.
"Kala (Nakaya) got a big stop down low and he set a good screen and I just let it fly and it felt good," Lapina said of the team's lone 3-pointer.
Wesley Yamada tied the game at 33, but Lapina got the go-ahead bucket to fall for a 35-33 lead.
"People have been playing me for the drive and have been sagging off. I didn't want to force anything so he sagged off a little bit and I was able to pull up. I was working on that," Lapina said.
"What a competitor," Shklov said of Lapina. "The other thing I tell him is that, ‘You're our closer and you go get it and make that play.' I have total trust in him and he's been doing that for four years and I'm so happy for him that he was able to have a big game and big moment like this. It's history making for us."
Iolani got the ball back with 21.0 seconds left and tried to set up the final shot, but Fujinaka slipped near the sideline in front of the Raiders' bench turning it over. The Raiders turned over again on the opposite sideline as Lucca Kitashima and Kahue-Parker combined for four points from the free throw line to seal the win.
The Raiders led after the first quarter after Fujinaka hit a triple and opened the second quarter with a 7-0 run to lead, 18-12. Kahue-Parker prevented the goose egg and got the Owls on the scoreboard with a pair of foul shots at the 1:33 mark.
"The second quarter you saw the great defense they (Iolani) played and we settled for jumpers instead of attacking," Shklov said.
Iolani led, 18-14 at halftime.
Dawson put the Raiders up six, but Mid-Pacific attacked the basket and got to the free throw line as Adonis Espania and Kitashima combined to go 3 for 4 to bring the game within three. Kilo Scanlan got two points down low to give Iolani a 22-17 lead. Kahue-Parker sparked the Owls with a four-point spurt of his own and got his basket to drop off a deflection as he was fouled to bring Mid-Pacific within one.
"It was absolutely a turning point," Shklov remarked. "I put him (Kahue-Parker) up there with any defender in the state. He has to guard point guards, centers, but we put him on one of the top scorers. Him making that play doesn't surprise me, he's a competitor. I think that sparked us where we have to score and get points somehow because they packed it so well."
"That gave us a boost. That's where we basically turned the game around. Overall that was the play of the game and we'll roll with that," Kahue-Parker said.
Lapina converted a layup going left as he was falling down to reclaim the lead for Mid-Pacific and James Smotherman converted a pair of bonus free throws to give his team a three point edge going into the final stanza.
"We've been starting off real slow and today again, we got off to a slow start. Coach preaches us about finishing. In the third quarter, we went back to our old selves and balled out for the dub," Kahue-Parker said.
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