Lunas take one of two
LAHAINA – The Lahainaluna High School boys basketball team learned a couple of lessons Thursday.
First, coming out to play on short notice can be beneficial. Playing again a couple of hours later, though, can be a little tougher.
The Lunas won their first game of the day in the Lahaina-luna Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center, beating Chief Sealth (Wash.) 58-47 behind 12 points from Ryan Madera, 11 from Peni Taufa and Marvin Sidon’s 10.
Lahainaluna filled in at the last minute when Molokai made the trip to the tournament short-handed because of academic responsibilities for several players.
In the final game of the day, the competition stepped up for the Lunas in a 62-40 loss to Del Norte (Calif.), a school of 3,000 students with a team ranked in the San Diego region’s top 25.
Nick Vierra scored 20 points against the Nighthawks, but Renzo Corpuz was the next-highest contributor for the Lunas, with five.
“Tired, definitely,” Vierra said after the loss to Del Norte dropped Lahainaluna to 11-3. “We played well in the first game, but we didn’t know we were going to play two today and it was tough.”
The Lunas open Maui Interscholastic League play a week from today.
“It’s good competition for us, a good test for us,” Vierra said. “We played hard, we gave it all of our heart and just came up short.”
Del Norte (5-1) was led by Austin Clyde, whose 25 points were the day’s best.
The 6-foot-3 guard, who is being recruited by BYU-Hawaii and Chaminade, had 12 points in the third quarter – including five in five seconds to end the period, scoring on a break before swishing a shot from midcourt at the buzzer, after a steal, for a 50-36 lead.
“They were real tough, they were real disciplined and they had a great coach and a great player,” Vierra said. “(Clyde) is great – when he first came out I was surprised how good he was.”
Vierra was the only other player in the day’s four games to reach 20 points.
“I felt pretty good, I guess shots were going in,” he said. “My teammates were finding me open.”
Lahainaluna fell behind by as many as 14 in the first half against Del Norte, but closed to 32-22 at halftime and were within 34-26 on a runner by Vierra with 6:32 remaining in the third quarter.
Clyde again showed his ability to change a game by drawing a personal foul on Taufa, who was then assessed a technical. Clyde sank three of four foul shots and then a 3-pointer to make the score 40-26.
The Lunas have been bolstered by football players Taufa, Kiko Kohler-Fonohema, Pousima Galoia and Scott-Isaac Medeiros-Tangatailoa, but that group totaled just five points against the Nighthawks.
“We started off very slow and it showed in the first half,” Lahainaluna assistant coach Nick Webb said. “Our guys are resilient and they came out in the second half ready to go. We cut it down, but then that five-point swing at the end of the third period – that kind of deflated us.”
Lahainaluna’s Cyrus Kama, a 6-foot-3 junior, sat out the game against Del Norte as a precaution after taking a fall in the first contest.
“The Lunas are a hard-, hard-working team,” said Night-hawks coach Brad Spahn. “We came out here and watched them the other day and are really, really impressed with them. We know they were down a guy and No. 35 (Kama) is a really good ballplayer. Having to play twice in one day is no easy task.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org