Molokai upsets Seabury Hall in MIL semifinals
WAILUKU -It was finally feasting time for the Molokai High School boys volleyball team.
The Farmers, who have had to overcome multiple eligibility issues this season, toppled Seabury Hall 25-21, 25-23, 25-20 on Thursday in a Maui Interscholastic League Division II tournament semifinal at the Baldwin gym.
Dhavin Spencer-Basa had 14 kills and Oli Falealii had 20 assists and five kills for the fourth-seeded Farmers (4-8).
“We were hungry all season,” Spencer-Basa said. “We never had a whole team. We finally got our dinner.”
Molokai will meet Lanai in today’s tournament final at Baldwin. Seabury Hall, the regular-season champion, will play on Saturday at Maui High against the tournament winner for the MIL’s lone berth in next week’s D-II state tournament.
“Nobody seen our 12 players,” said Farmers coach Hale Domingo. “We’ve been handicapped the whole season. No one seen our full team like this. Not even me and the coaching staff.”
The first set on Thursday had five lead changes and 10 ties – the last at 18-18.
Marcus Calairo-Nakagawa’s ace gave the Farmers a 22-19 advantage. The teams then exchanged points before Paka Adolpho’s kill made the score 24-20. After a kill by the Spartans’ Cameron King, Spencer-Basa had a kill to end it.
Seabury (10-2) got out to an 11-4 lead in the second set, but Molokai fought back to tie it 20-20, and scored three consecutive points – on back-to-back kills by Adolpho and another by Spencer-Basa -for a 24-22 lead. After a kill by John Johnson, a dump shot by Falealii ended the set.
“I just kept pushing my teammates, saying positive things,” Falealii said of his team’s early struggles during the set. “If they made a mistake, I just told them to forget about it and move on.”
Said Domingo: “Oli, he is my leader. Being that small stature, 5-4, 5-5, he carries a big load. I look toward him because he’s inspirational to the boys.”
In the third set, Molokai went on a 7-2 run for a 22-15 advantage, and the closest Sea-bury could get the rest of the way was four points. A hitting error ended the match.
King had seven kills, Blake Rizzo added six and Max DeLyon had six kills and 15 assists. The Spartans finished with 27 hitting errors.
“It’s tough to beat a team when you have seven to 10 errors every set,” said Seabury coach Caleb Palmer. “You can overcome some of those, but that’s a large amount to spot a team.”
The Spartans beat the Farmers twice in the regular season, both times in five sets.
“This is very much our team,” Palmer said. “We kind of have dual sides to our team. We can come out and not play well and get beat. D-II this year is great because everyone is really competitive and really close. You can’t win without playing hard. Tonight, we got beat, but we also beat ourselves. Molokai is a great team. They are well-coached. They had the energy, they played well and they beat us.”
Seabury has appeared in the last three state tournament finals, winning the title in 2010.
“We were just thinking they’re humans just like us, they put their pants on just like us, put their shoes on just like us,” Spencer-Basa said. “It didn’t make a difference to us.”
* Kyle Sakamoto is at email@example.com