Kaimuki roars back from huge halftime deficit, takes down ‘Aiea for OIA Division II Boys’ crown

Kaimuki roars back from huge halftime deficit, takes down ‘Aiea for OIA Division II Boys’ crown

Kaimuki Bulldogs rally from double-digit halftime deficit to win second OIA D2 title in three years. | Photo Credit: Paul Brecht, HSRN

Kaimuki roars back from huge halftime deficit, takes down Aiea for OIA Division II Boys’ crown

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED FEB 14, 2024

HONOLULU — The Kaimuki Bulldogs flipped the second-half script Wednesday night at McKinley High School, taking down the ‘Aiea Na Ali’i by rallying from an 18-point halftime deficit in the OIA Division II Boys’ Basketball championship for the program’s second OIA title in three seasons, 63-58. 

It wasn’t a pretty start for the Bulldogs as ‘Aiea shot 50% from the field in the first quarter to jump out to an 18-11 lead through eight minutes as Kaimuki struggled to find a consistent offense. Things worsened in the second quarter for the top team in the OIA’s D2 East division, watching ‘Aiea continue to light it up from the floor behind the two-headed offensive monster of Taylor Moku and Stefan Ognjanovic as Na Ali’i rattled off nine makes over 16 shots in the second frame to enter the locker room up big, 38-20. 

Despite being held scoreless through one half as his team struggled offensively, Kaimuki’s Jeremiah White remained calm and ready to help his team slowly chip away with 16 more minutes to play. 

“We just kept pushing, kept pursuing because we knew this wasn’t over,” White said of the Bulldogs’ unwavering confidence despite the deficit. “We’ve been down like this before, so we knew what to do. With the shot clock, it gives [us] more opportunities and more possessions as a team … We just leaned on each other as brothers and just kept fighting.” 

That confidence shined brightly to open the second half as the Bulldogs showed off their bite, outscoring ‘Aiea by 11 in the third quarter to reignite the Kaimuki faithful in attendance as Daysen Lupica poured in eight points in the frame to bring the game within single digits heading into the fourth, 46-39. 

That’s when White decided to take the game by the horns. 

The senior guard poured in 10 of his 15 points over the final eight minutes of regulation, going 8-of-10 from the charity stripe while all the guards for the Bulldogs fed forward Harmon Sio down low as Kaimuki completed the improbable comeback to down ‘Aiea in regulation, 63-58.  

“[Jeremiah] is a special guy, they don’t make [players like him] that often so I’m just happy he’s on our team,” Bulldogs’ head coach Greydon Espinosa said of his senior leader postgame.  

Kaimuki outscored ‘Aiea by 23 points after halftime, using Sio’s 19 points off the bench and White’s heroic fourth quarter performance to snag the Bulldogs’ second OIA Division II title in three years. Lupica poured in 19 points while handing out five assists for Kaimuki, who now enters the state tournament on a three-game win streak. 

‘Aiea was led by Shealand Kazama, who posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. Junior guard Taylor Meki closed the night with 12 points, four rebounds and four steals while Santi Sarbeland collected 15 rebounds (six offensive rebounds) in the loss for Na Ali’i. 

Kahuku edges Campbell, 33-31, to win 10th OIA league title

Kahuku edges Campbell, 33-31, to win 10th OIA league title

Kahuku edges Campbell, 33-31, to win 10th OIA league title

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED FEB 1, 2024

PEARL CITY — There is a new champ atop the OIA girls basketball mountain.

Kahuku dethroned Campbell, 33-31, Wednesday night before a capacity crowd in the league’s Division I title game at Pearl City’s gymnasium.

The Red Raiders captured their 10th OIA crown in the process, their first since 2020.

“I’m proud of them, they worked hard” said Kahuku coach Artevia Wily-Ava. “They stayed focused, the energy from our bench carried over. Pretty excited that they got this.”

Junior guard Posia Wily led all scorers and earned ‘Yeah U Player of the Game’ honors with nine points, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

“She’s the one, she’s the leader that has to get all the girls refocused,” said Wily-Ava, the older sister of Wily. 

“She’s probably one of our strongest mentally, probably physically as well. She’s not that big, not that tall, but she’s the one that gets everybody refocused. She’ll push the pace and we can always depend on her when she pulls it out to start things over again.”

Wily said defense has been the main focus for the Red Raiders, who held the Sabers to just 23.9 percent shooting from the field (11-for-46). Kahuku also tallied 16 steals and four blocks in the matchup.

“I think especially during these last practices and towards the end of the season we worked on our defense a lot,” said Wily. “Our coaches were telling us to do the small things, the little things, get rebounds, box out, keep your hands up. We just needed to execute those things and it worked out for us.”

Tuisila Wily-Ava was also key with eight points, six rebounds, four steals and two blocks.

Leading Campbell in the loss with eight points apiece were Jaynalyn Sotelo and Taysia Molina-Schulte.

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL LASQUERO

McKinley holds off Farrington, 41-33, to win 7th overall OIA championship

McKinley holds off Farrington, 41-33, to win 7th overall OIA championship

McKinley holds off Farrington, 41-33, to win 7th overall OIA championship

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED FEB 1, 2024

PEARL CITY — The OIA Division II title is going home with the McKinley Tigers.

McKinley used a dominant first half to build a 24-8 halftime lead before holding off Farrington, 41-33, Wednesday night at Pearl City’s gymnasium to win the school’s seventh overall league title.

The Tigers got it done on both ends of the floor to win their first OIA crown since 2008. McKinley held the Governors without a made field goal in the first half and also used a 16-0 run aided by a number of 3-pointers.

“It feels good, the team hard worked really hard,” said McKinley senior Kailey Reverio, the ‘Yeah U Player of the Game.’

“A lot of sacrifices, all the ups and downs, moments where we had to be motivated by our coach to know what the goal was, but we stuck together and we knew what we had to do which is ‘it’s time to put a banner up.’”

Reverio had a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds in the win and was a presence in the paint to limit Farrington’s size advantage.

Neither team could get anything going offensively early with the first eight points of the game coming at the free throw line.

That changed at the 2:23 mark of the first quarter when Haley Hosino knocked down a triple to give McKinley the lead for good, 6-5.

The Tigers continued their hot shooting in the second quarter when Grace Pham knocked down three 3-pointers in the frame. Pham finished with a game-high 12 points.

“They’re great shooters all around,” said Reverio. “We depend on them, we count on them to knock down the 3. When it’s time to clutch it, they do it. Props to them. I love my teammates so much.”

Ayva Walthall scored eight points with seven rebounds and four steals before fouling out while Hosino finished with seven points for McKinley, who just used a six-woman rotation.

Hunter Garcia had 12 points to lead the Governors in the loss.

PHOTOS BY KUULEI AGBAYANI

Campbell survives Moanalua’s surge in double OT, 57-55

Campbell survives Moanalua’s surge in double OT, 57-55

Campbell survives Moanalua’s surge in double OT, 57-55

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED JAN 30, 2024

This was a Monday night thriller.

Campbell built an early lead before holding off a late charge by Moanalua for a 57-55 double-overtime win in the OIA Division I girls basketball semifinals at Pearl City’s gymnasium.

Aliyah Bantolina led all scorers with 24 points to lead the Sabers, who will try for their third straight title. She also scored the game-tying layup at the end of regulation to force overtime.

Jaynalyn Sotelo added 15 points and Taysia Molina-Schulte scored 10 to round out the top scorers for Campbell, who led by as many as 13 points in the first half.

Rheanna Nobleza scored 20, Akaecia Mateo had 18 and Shailoh Liilii finished with 16 points to lead Na Menehune in the loss.

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL LASQUERO

Kahuku cruises past Radford, 66-37, to reach OIA championship game

Kahuku cruises past Radford, 66-37, to reach OIA championship game

Kahuku cruises past Radford, 66-37, to reach OIA championship game

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED JAN 30, 2024

Four players scored in double figures as Kahuku cruised past Radford, 66-37, in the semifinals of the OIA Division I girls basketball playoffs Monday night at Pearl City’s gymnasium.

Elisa Holakeituai scored 15 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting on the field to power the Red Raiders, who will be seeking their 10th league crown when they face reigning league champion Campbell on Wednesday.

Posia Wily also scored 15 points with four assists and four steals, Makana Kamakeeaina had 12 points and Tailele Wily-Ava chipped n 10 points to round out the leading scorers for Kahuku.

Shanntay Stroman scored 10 points to pace the Rams in the loss.

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL LASQUERO