Bears fall to Hurricanes
Kapolei pulls away in OT, tops Baldwin 49-41 in HHSAA first round
WAILUKU — The Baldwin High School boys basketball team has improved each of the last three seasons, but the end came abruptly for the Bears on Monday.
They fell to Kapolei 49-41 in overtime at Jon Garcia Gym in the first round of the Snapple/HHSAA Division I State Championship in a game that appeared to be theirs in the final minute of regulation.
The Bears trailed by nine points twice in the first half and by eight late in the third quarter before rallying to take a three-point lead into the final minute of play.
“That’s the thing with this team, we’re never out of a game,” Baldwin coach Cody Tesoro said. “You saw it — when we were playing against Lahainaluna we were down 27 and cut it back to single digits, Maui High in our close-out game, down nine. This one we’re down nine, might have got to 11, I can’t remember, and we took the lead. That’s the thing about this team, they’re just fighters.”
Kapolei (13-1) advances to play No. 1-seeded Maryknoll in Thursday’s quarterfinals. The season is over for the Bears (9-7), although they return all on their roster except for senior starters Mochi Dukelow and John Werner, and substitute Rommel-Mico Daoang.
Dukelow scored nine points and Werner finished his career with a double-double, 10 points and 10 rebounds. Holden Ioanis led the Bears with 13 points.
“I’m truly proud, I’m truly blessed to have such a good group of kids,” Tesoro said. “I told them to keep their heads up because they made us as a coaching staff and everyone at Baldwin very proud.”
The Bears have improved from losing the first-round game of the Maui Interscholastic League tournament in Tesoro’s first season, to winning that play-in game and losing to top-seeded Lahainaluna in the league tournament last year, to winning two must-wins over Maui High to claim a state tournament berth this season.
“I told them in (the locker room) that our next goal is to win the MIL and be the ones who go to Oahu,” Tesoro said. “If you look at it, at one point tonight, I had a junior, two sophomores and two freshmen on the floor. We’re young, it’s very, very encouraging. Don’t get me wrong, we’re going to miss Mochi, we’re going to miss John. They’re a big part of our success this season, but I told the guys if they come in for offseason work, there’s no reason why we can’t be better than we were this season.”
The Bears worked back in this game and took their first lead on a drive to the basket by Ioanis, making it 33-31 with 4:45 to go. Werner scored inside to make it 36-33 Baldwin with 1:12 remaining.
De’Zhaun brought the Hurricanes within one, and they took a 37-36 lead when Andrew Jones scored off a nifty pass from Ja’Shon Carter with 21 seconds to go.
Werner put the Bears back in front with a putback of a Dukelow miss and was fouled with 9.7 seconds left. Werner missed the free throw, but the rebound went to Baldwin and Dukelow was sent to the free-throw line.
He made the first to give Baldwin a 39-37 lead, but missed the second. Baldwin had two fouls to give, but Carter grabbed the rebound and raced through traffic to score coast-to-coast in the closing seconds.
In overtime, the Hurricanes outscored the Bears 10-2 — the only basket for Baldwin was Dukelow’s drive to the hoop that closed the deficit to 43-41 with 3:01 to go.
The Bears shot 9-for-17 in the second half, but were just 6-of-20 in the first half and 1-of-10 in overtime. They shot 6-for-16 from the free-throw line and committed 14 turnovers in the game.
Carter had 24 points to lead the Hurricanes.
“That’s how it’s been in our last three or four games, it’s been close,” Kapolei coach Gary Ellison said. “I wish it wasn’t, but I’ve got no choice. I’ve got to give it up to Baldwin. I mean, oh my goodness, they kept coming and coming. We’d take a lead, they kept fighting back. That was a hell of a job by them.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
Nathaniel Whitehurst 5, Ja’Shon Carter 24, Kevin Burkel 3, De’Zhaun Stribling 6, Andrew Jones 4, Ikaia Kamelamela 0, Mateo Veazie 7, David Kim 0, Ethan Wright 0, Jordan Tyler 0, Kainoa Mane 0.
Mochi Dukelow 9, Owen Nakamura 0, Holden Ioanis 13, Reinhard Taidrik 2, Ben Wagner 0, Kui Ross 7, Quintan Akaka 0, Ikaika Raines 0, John Werner 10.
Kapolei 9 10 12 8 10–49
Baldwin 5 8 15 11 2–41
Boys Basketball State Championships
Iolani 72, Hilo 45
Kapolei 49, Baldwin 41, OT
Kailua 68, Kalaheo 40
Punahou 64, Kahuku 46
No. 4 Waiakea vs. Kailua, 5 p.m.
No. 1 Maryknoll vs. Kapolei, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Lahainaluna vs. Punahou, 5 p.m.
No. 2 Moanalua vs. Iolani, 7 p.m.