Farrington Frenzy: Governors Use Huge 2nd Half, OT to Stun Kalani in OIA Div. II Boys Championship

By Paul Brecht
February 2, 2023

ALIAMANU — “Just settle down.”

That was Farrington coach Steven Leopoldo’s halftime message to his Farrington Governors, who avenged an early season loss to the Kalani Falcons on Wednesday night, winning the OIA Division II Championship in overtime, 68-55.

While the result ended up in favor of Farrington, the venture there was anything but smooth and calm. 

Kalani raced out of the gate, flustering the Governors with a full-court press while shooting 46% from the field in the opening quarter to take a 14-7 lead.

The Falcons strong first half, powered by junior guard Joshua Schutter, continued into the second period as turnovers killed the Govs and allowed Kalani the chance to get out into the open court for scoring chances. 

Even when Farrington was able to possess the ball, not much was going right for the second-place team from the OIA East Division II as the Governors failed to make a basket in the quarter. The only three points in the frame for Farrington came from the free throw line as they entered the locker rooms down, 26-10.

With 16 minutes to mount a comeback, Leopoldo remained confident in his team.

“Be patient,” the coach reminded his team. “Get the ball inside. When we start getting the ball inside, we establish the lane, and the ball comes back out for open shots.” 

An offensive game plan for the Governors, who had looked unsteady on offense throughout the entire first half as demonstrated by the numerous turnovers the team committed, proved effective. 

Farrington came out on fire, as Gerald Gallardo found his shooting stroke while the Governors scored 17 points in the quarter to cut the lead to nine. Schutter was held off the board in the period, helping aid the Farrington run. 

Chansen Smith, a junior varsity call-up for the Govs, had himself big bucket after big bucket as well. After chipping in five points in the first half, the guard knocked down a big 3-pointer in the third as Farrington continued to creep closer. 

The fourth quarter was more of the same, as the Govs locked down the Kalani offense. Farrington allowed just one field goal in the quarter and cashed in from the free throw line.  

Senior big man Dominique Mose Smith was a dominant force as the game wound down. The center scored five of his 15 points in the fourth, including two clutch free throws to give Farrington the lead. 

“He’s a big plus to our program,” Leopoldo gushed about Mose Smith. “I wish I could have him one more year, but fortunately [we have him now]. He does all the rebounding. Everybody depends on him.” 

A late foul drawn by Kalani’s Joaquin Manaligod gave the junior forward a chance to win the game at the line, but a miss on the first and make on the second sent the contest instead to overtime.

In overtime, it was once again Mose Smith taking over for Farrington. The big man ripped down multiple offensive rebounds and scored seven points in the overtime period before fouling out with his team up by double-digits. The Governors would go on to close it out, 68-55. 

The 16-point comeback by the Govs not only seemed to stun the Falcons, but leave Kalani unable to snap out of the funk. Farrington outscored Kalani in every period after halftime, including a 25-point offensive clinic in OT.

The veteran Farrington coach thinks the second-half turnaround and the depth of the Govs could be a look to what may be ahead for states.

“Everything is [starting] to come together for the next three games,” Leopoldo said as he alluded to the number of games potentially left between the Governors and a Division II state championship.

Gallardo, who was held scoreless through the first half, led Farrington with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Dominique Mose Smith had himself a monster game, ending with an impressive 15-point, 15-rebound double-double. Farrington advances to next week’s HHSAA D2 State Championship tournament following the win.

Kalani was paced by Schutter’s 16 points, though the Govs held the star junior to a 3-19 shooting performance. Junior Cole Hata came off the bench to score 13 points for the Falcons, who had already clinched a spot in the HHSAA D2 State Championship tournament.