Trojans hold on to edge Rays

St. Anthony, fielding first team in three seasons, improves to 3-0 with win over MIL newcomers

St. Anthony High School coach Darren Aguinaldo talks to his players during a second-quarter timeout Friday at War Memorial Gym. - The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

St. Anthony High School coach Darren Aguinaldo talks to his players during a second-quarter timeout Friday at War Memorial Gym. - The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

WAILUKU — Being away from basketball for two full seasons isn’t bothering the St. Anthony High School boys team.

The Trojans improved to 3-0 in the Maui Interscholastic League Division II race with a 41-39 win over Haleakala Waldorf, which is in its first boys varsity season.

St. Anthony has 79 students in the high school grades; Haleakala Waldorf (0-3) has 43.

“We haven’t had a program since my freshman year, so it’s nice to get St. Anthony back on the map for basketball,” Chris Neilson, the Trojans’ 6-foot-4 senior, said after scoring a team-high 17 points. “It’s been a struggle to get players for athletics for the past couple years, so it’s nice to get it back for my senior year. I’m really enjoying it. We want to keep this run up, keep winning and hopefully keep the program coming.”

The Trojans burst out to a 22-8 lead with 2 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first half on a layup by Nate Rabara, who finished a fast break after a nifty pass from Jake Gage.

Haleakala Waldorf’s Will Pang goes up for a layup against St. Anthony’s Chris Neilson in the second quarter. - The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

Haleakala Waldorf’s Will Pang goes up for a layup against St. Anthony’s Chris Neilson in the second quarter. - The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

The Rays caught the Trojans at 24-24 with 3:35 left in the third quarter on a layup by Patrick Doster, a 6-3 junior who finished with 17 points, 15 of which came in the second half.

“It’s pretty cool, our school is pretty new, so this doesn’t happen a lot,” Doster said. “It’s good, we’re fighting at least, but we weren’t scoring enough. We’ve got, like, 20 percent of our school on our team, so I guess that’s pretty cool.”

Neilson made a free throw to give the Trojans a 27-26 lead with 2:03 left in the third quarter before Doster scored in traffic in the lane to give the Rays their first lead at 28-27.

The game was tied 29-29 early in the fourth quarter before Rabara scored two straight baskets and Bubba Chuckas added another to give the Trojans a 35-29 lead with 5:57 to play.

The Rays closed within 39-37 with 41 seconds to go on a free throw by Will Pang, but could not tie the game again despite two late possessions with that chance.

St. Anthony’s Bubba Chuckas loses control of the ball next to Haleakala Waldorf’s Sean Conmy and Antonio Greco in the second quarter.  - The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

St. Anthony’s Bubba Chuckas loses control of the ball next to Haleakala Waldorf’s Sean Conmy and Antonio Greco in the second quarter. - The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

Neilson gave the Trojans a 41-37 lead with 30 seconds left off an assist from Luke Jones. Doster scored the final basket with 3 seconds left.

“Waldorf gave us a run for our money,” Neilson said. “I mean, we’re both young teams so we’re still in the learning process, but as long as we can keep pushing ourselves in each game we should be good.”

St. Anthony coach Darren Aguinaldo is coaching basketball for the first time after serving as boys soccer coach the last two years — the Trojans are not fielding a soccer team this season.

“Haleakala came to play,” Aguinaldo said. “We took them a little lightly not knowing what they had, so we came out in the second half knowing what they were capable of and that they can play with us.”

Aguinaldo said 3-0 “is a good start for the school. We have come back and it’s a great start. We hope to keep it up and keep the ball rolling. From what I hear from the boys, (the excitement) is coming up, a lot of fans out here tonight to support. I think it’s a positive note on St. Anthony’s part, for the Trojans.”

The Rays’ Patrick Doster drives to the basket on the Trojans’ Nate Rabara in the second quarter. - The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

The Rays’ Patrick Doster drives to the basket on the Trojans’ Nate Rabara in the second quarter. - The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

Haleakala Waldorf coach Kieran Devanney said his team is building. They were swept by eight-time defending MIL champion Seabury Hall last week.

“We played pretty hard, we came out super flat, but we showed a little bit of energy in the second half and started pulling things back,” Devanney said. “We need to come out in the next game with the same fire we showed in the second half.”

The Rays have two seniors and seven juniors on the roster.

“They’re super dedicated,” Devanney said. “This crew has been together since I think they were in 3rd grade largely. We’ve got a couple new ones and they really have a lot of will. They really want to win. I couldn’t work with a better group of kids.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

Luke Jones of St. Anthony shoots a 3-pointer in the first quarter.  - The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

Luke Jones of St. Anthony shoots a 3-pointer in the first quarter. - The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

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HALEAKALA WALDORF (39)

Sean Conmy 2, Niko Conmy 2, Will Pang 7, Jack Groh 0, Patrick Doster 17, Connor Fernandez 8, Aidan Goldberg 0, Sage Anderson 0, Laakea Akeo 0, Antonio Greco 3.

ST. ANTHONY (41)

Khoa Le 0, Chris Neilson 17, Tyson Wu 0, Jake Gage 3, Bubba Chuckas 2, Luke Jones 8, Evan Essner 0, Nate Rabara 11.

Haleakala Waldorf 4 10 14 11–39

St. Anthony 10 12 7 12–41

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MIL STANDINGS

BOYS

DIVISION I

W L Pct GB

Lahainaluna 6 0 1.000 —

Kamehameha Maui 3 3 .500 3

Maui High 3 3 .500 3

Baldwin 2 5 .286 4-1⁄2

King Kekaulike 2 5 .286 4-1⁄2

DIVISION II

W L Pct GB

Lanai 3 0 1.000 —

Seabury Hall 3 0 1.000 —

St. Anthony 3 0 1.000 —

Haleakala Waldorf 0 3 .000 3

Hana 0 3 .000 3

Molokai 0 3 .000 3

Friday’s Results

Seabury Hall 60, Molokai 36

St. Anthony 41, Haleakala Waldorf 39

Lanai 61, Hana 34

Today’s Games

Lanai at Hana, 10 a.m.

Haleakala Waldorf vs. St. Anthony at War Memorial Gym, 10 a.m.

Seabury Hall at Molokai, noon

Lahainaluna at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.

Maui High at King Kekaulike, 7 p.m.

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