WAILUKU - The snazzy play doesn't carry a cool name, but it worked when the King Kekaulike High School boys basketball team needed it most on Friday night.
Jacob Havron, Na Alii's 6-foot-4 center, took an inbounds pass from Chase Iwata-Bartelme at midcourt with 50 seconds left in a tight game against Baldwin in front of a packed house at the Bears' gym.
Before the Baldwin defense had a chance to react, Iwata-Bartelme raced past Havron, and got the ball back while streaking to the basket for a lightning-quick layup that gave Na Alii a six-point lead on the way to a 47-41 win in a key early-season Maui Interscholastic League Division I contest.
King Kekaulike High School’s Chase Iwata-Bartelme tries to block a shot by Baldwin’s Jacob Valle as Jansen Agapay also defends during the second quarter of Na Alii’s 47-41 win Friday at the Bears’ gym.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"Our coach had called that and we had been working on it," Havron said. "He just gave me the ball and they didn't know what was happening, so we got an easy layup and it really put us up."
The play gave Na Alii (2-0) a 44-38 lead after the Bears (1-1) had chopped down a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to three on a couple of occasions and to four after a free throw with 58 seconds left by Kody Takushi.
So what is the game-clinching play called?
"Um, out of bounds," Havron said.
King Kekaulike threatened to make the showdown between last season's MIL state-tournament representatives a blowout early as Baldwin struggled with 17 first-half turnovers. Na Alii opened a 6-0 lead before Bradley Bowlin broke the ice for the Bears, making a layup with 3:41 left in the first quarter off an assist from Teva Eldridge.
Up to that point, Baldwin was 0-for-5 from the floor and 0-for-2 from the free-throw line, and had four turnovers. Back-to-back baskets by Havron pushed the lead to 11-2, but the Bears trailed just 19-15 at halftime by forcing 11 turnovers in the first half.
Havron finished with 11 points and five rebounds - he was 5-for-6 from the free-throw line - while battling the 6-3 Bowlin inside all night. Iwata-Bartelme had 14 of his 16 points in the second half.
Bowlin had 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds despite shooting 2-for-9 from the free-throw line.
"I always hear about how it is going to be, like, a rivalry and all that," Havron said. "But to me it is just another game. You know, (Bowlin) is a good player, it was a good matchup, and I love playing against him."
Baldwin pulled within a point on a putback by Matt Demichelle, but a three-point play by Iwata-Bartelme started a 12-4 run that made the score 38-29 with 4:48 left to play. Bowlin forced home a miss and Takushi hit a 3-pointer to make it 38-34 with 3:37 to go.
Bowlin made one more inside basket and Agapay sank a pair of free throws to set up the final-minute drama.
"They were feeding off our turnovers and came back," Havron said. "But we just kept strong and we were able to pull through."
Baldwin was 7-for-19 at the free-throw line, and finished with 22 turnovers.
"Yeah, too many turnovers in the first half, that was exactly it," Bears coach Wayne Gushiken said. "We are young and we make a lot of young mistakes."
Na Alii were 19-for-24 from the line. Iwata-Bartelme had four steals and Gabe Gunter had seven rebounds.
"Any win is a big win," said King Kekaulike coach Bill Naylor. "You have to get out there and play your hardest. Both teams busted their butts tonight. . . . We made our free throws tonight and that was huge. We have struggled at the line all year long. It was a great fan game, I'm glad people came out and watched. I guarantee you there will be a lot more games just like this."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
KING KEKAULIKE 47, BALDWIN 41
KING KEKAULIKE (47)
Jansen Agapay 10, Alroy Ferreira 6, Chase Iwata-Bartelme 16, Austin Ferreira 0, Jordan Mauliola 2, Jacob Havron 11, Gabe Gunter 2.
Kody Takushi 6, Jacob Valle 2, Jeremiah Badillo 2, Matt Demichelle 5, Semisi Malafu 0, Phillip Thomas 5, Randy Wong 4, Bradley Bowlin 14, Teva Eldridge 3.