Lunas edge Bears
WAILUKU – With one dash down the court, Lahainaluna High School’s Josh Chapital has turned on the race in Maui Interscholastic League Division I boys basketball.
Chapital drove the length of the court and split the Baldwin defense for a layup with eight seconds to play to guide the Lunas to a 38-37 win over the Bears on Saturday night.
The game was played in a packed Baldwin gym on the night the Bears dedicated their season to former standout player, assistant coach and teacher at the school, Kealii Duke-low, who died over the summer at age 42.
“I was just focusing on not turning the ball over,” said Chapital, a 6-foot junior guard. “I had too many turnovers, so pretty much what I thought about was getting to the basket and not turning the ball over, looking for my teammates in the corner if they collapsed. As soon as I saw that lane I took off.”
The final play capped a hard-fought but sometimes ugly contest and left the Lunas (2-2) one game behind the Bears through one round of the 12-game regular season. Baldwin entered the game ranked seventh in the state by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Chapital didn’t know the ball went through the basket until he heard the reaction of the crowd.
“I looked down because I caught a cramp in midair,” he said. “It was a prayer.”
The Bears, who missed their last five free throws after taking a 37-31 lead on a drive by Jeremiah Badillo with 2:15 to play, called timeout three times to work out the final play with six seconds left. Badillo’s long 3-pointer bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Lahainaluna has won two in a row after opening MIL play with two losses following a 12-4 preseason record.
“Huge,” Lunas coach John Dudley said of the win. “We didn’t come out of the gates real good the first two games. I’m not a guy to say we had injuries or excuses, but the last two games we have had everybody. We played OK basketball. It wasn’t pretty, but you know what? It’s a ‘W.’ Baldwin creates that ugliness. Fortunately we made it at the end and they didn’t.”
Chapital and Ryan Madera led the Lunas with nine points apiece, while Madera added a team-high seven rebounds. Cyrus Kama blocked four shots and had four points while severely limited as he was called for four fouls.
Lahainaluna had 25 turn-overs – 11 in the second quarter. Baldwin was 1-for-13 shooting in the first quarter, 6-for-26 in the first half and 13-for-50 for the game.
“Baldwin’s a hell of a team and it is going to be an exciting race for the rest of the year,” Dudley said.
The Bears battled back from seven points down in the first half to take the lead in the fourth quarter. The Lunas got within 37-34 on a 3-pointer by Chapital with 1:17 to go, and a pair of free throws by Madera made it 37-36 with 21 seconds to play.
Ryan Garces, who led Baldwin with 15 points, missed a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left and Madera rebounded to set up Chapital’s game-winner. The Bears finished the game 10-for-22 from the foul line, while the Lunas were 19-for-27.
“It is pretty obvious,” Baldwin coach Wayne Gushiken said of the foul shooting. “We were shooting about 66 percent, but tonight we fell flat on our face. They sank theirs, we missed ours. The first quarter, the first half, actually the whole game, we couldn’t buy a bucket. It’s our home gym and we can’t even put it in the hole.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Josh Chapital 9, Nick Vierra 7, Marvin Sidon 2, Josh Corpuz 2, Kala Cabon 2, Peni Taufa 3, Cyrus Kama 4, Ryan Madera 9.
Kody Takushi 2, Taje Akaka-Foster 0, Jeremiah Badillo 4, Niko Corpin 0, Ryan Garces 15, Liam Wake 2, Phillip Thomas 2, Teva Eldridge 9, Josiah Maglente-Tonu 0, Sam Balantac 3.
Lahainaluna ….. 9 ……. 7 ….. 10 ….. 12-38
Baldwin ………… 3 ….. 10 ….. 14 ….. 10-37