LAHAINA - Teva Eldridge and Wayne Gushiken have something in common.
The senior leader and the coach of the Baldwin High School boys basketball team both enjoy the Lahaina Civic Center, and their love for the building only grew after a 49-43 win over Lahainaluna in a key Maui Interscholastic League Division I game Saturday night.
Eldridge scored a game-high 19 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists in front of a boisterous crowd of about 500. The Lunas' pep band also added to the atmosphere.
Teva Eldridge of Baldwin High School heads toward the basket during the Bears’ 49-43 victory over Lahainaluna on Saturday.
GLEN PASCUAL photo
Baldwin’s Kody Takushi bumps into Lahainaluna’s Josh Chapital while going for a layup.
GLEN PASCUAL photo
"It's exciting playing here," Eldridge said. "It's like a college gym."
Last season, the Bears clinched a state tournament berth with a victory over the Lunas at the Lahaina Civic Center.
"I love playing out here, I think the kids kind of do," Gushiken said. "The atmosphere, it's really like a college feel."
Baldwin (7-1) took a tighter grip on the D-I regular-season race with a tough inside game and a defense that limited Lahainaluna to 5-for-23 shooting from the floor in the first two quarters - the Bears led 23-22 at halftime.
The 6-foot-2 Eldridge got help inside from 6-5 Josiah Maglente-Tonu as teammates Kody Takushi, Ryan Garces and Jeremiah Badillo continually fed the ball into the lane over the final two periods.
Maglente-Tonu had all eight of his points in the second half against the smaller Lunas (4-3).
"The inside opened up well, they switched from a zone to a man and that really opened up the middle," Eldridge said. "That way we could find Josiah and find me open as well."
The Bears took a 34-23 lead on an 11-1 run to open the third quarter, but the Lunas closed within 40-37 on two free throws by Renzo Corpuz with six seconds left in the period.
Eldridge scored inside to start the fourth and then off a pass from Maglente-Tonu to make the score 44-37.
A layup from Ryan Madera with 3:22 to play reduced Lahainaluna's deficit to 46-41, but neither team scored again until Madera took a pass from Marvin Sidon and put it in with 25 seconds remaining. A free throw by Badillo and a breakaway by Takushi finished the scoring.
"I can't begin to explain how big that win was," Gushiken said. "It was really important."
Madera finished with 18 points, but no one else had more than eight for the Lunas.
Lahainaluna had won four games in a row, including a victory over Baldwin earlier this month.
"Our next two games are going to be really important," said Lunas coach John Dudley. "We will just focus on those and see what happens."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Kody Takushi 7, Kelii Kaiama 0, Taje Akaka 0, Jeremiah Badillo 6, Niko Corpin 0, Ryan Garces 5, Phillip Thomas 4, Teva Eldridge 19, Josiah Maglente-Tonu 8.
Nick Vierra 8, Marvin Sidon 0, Kalalani Kaaikala-Caban 0, Josh Chapital 2, Renzo Corpuz 5, Peni Taufa 4, Cyrus Kama 6, Ryan Madera 18.