Sabers beat Bears in key game

Maui High’s Kevin Cacho scored a game-high 16 points in Thursday’s game against Baldwin. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

KAHULUI – In front of a packed house at the Shine Matsui Athletic Center, the Maui High School boys basketball team churned up memories of Maui Interscholastic League glory from the past on Senior night Thursday.

The Sabers beat Baldwin 57-51 with second place in the MIL regular season hanging in the balance.

Senior Kevin Cacho led the Maui High attack with 16 points.

After the Sabers blitzed the Bears 19-2 in the second quarter to take a 32-16 halftime lead, Baldwin opened the second half on a 7-0 run to climb within nine.

Maui High finished the regular season 8-4, while Baldwin will be the third seed for the MIL Tournament next week at 7-5. One key senior missing for the Sabers was guard JoJo Pacubas.

Baldwin’s Mochi Dukelow drives for a shot as Maui High's Bryceton Boco defends. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“I’m proud of everybody that played,” Maui High coach Steven Vega said. “We had JoJo out, but everybody came to play, next man stepped up. We did a great job. We had to match their energy – they came out swinging.”

Cacho stymied the early second-half run with back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 38-25.

Again after the Bears climbed within nine, Maui High’s Isaiah Richards answered with jumper to push the lead to 42-31 with less than 2 minutes left in the third quarter. Moments later, T-Jay Valle scored inside to give the Sabers a 44-31 lead

Quintin Akaka hit a 3 and Holden Ioanis added a midrange jumper to start the fourth quarter and bring the Bears within 46-40 with 7:17 to play.

Maui High’s Brycetyn Boco scored on a breakaway to push the lead back to eight with 6 minutes to play. Cacho made a layup to increase the lead to 50-40 a minute later.

Maui High’s Isaiah Richards attempts a shot between Baldwin’s Ikaika Raines (left) and Kui Ross. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

John Werner made two free throws with 4:14 to go to bring the Bears within 50-44.

Kobin Harris made made a pair for the Sabers with 3:29 left to up the lead to 52-44. The Bears would not get closer than six the rest of the way.

Mochi Dukelow and Ioanis each scored 14 to lead the Bears.

“We punched them in the mouth first, going on that 8-0 run, but every time we play Maui High, regardless of what it is in the beginning, it’s going to be a game of runs and it’s going to be somewhat close in the end,” Baldwin coach Cody Tesoro said. “That’s always the way it’s been – you can’t get too high, you can’t get too low.”

The win is key for the Sabers, guaranteeing them at least second-place playoff if game regular-season champion Lahainaluna win the MIL Tournament. If the Sabers beat Baldwin in the tournament semifinals, they would punch a ticket to the state tournament if Lahainaluna also makes the final.

Baldwin’s Owen Nakamura soars to the hoop in the second quarter against Maui High's Isaiah Richards. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“It’s huge just because in the past where we don’t take care of what we’re supposed to take care of, at least you have another chance,” Vega said. “I’m trying to get them locked in and focused, so that we just take care of business the first time. That’s my game plan — get them focused.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

BALDWIN (51)

Mochi Dukelow 14, Owen Nakamura 0, Holden Ioanis 14, Reinhard Taidrik 0, Ben Wagner 0, Kui Ross 8, Quintan Akaka 7, Ikaika Raines 0, John Werner 8.

MAUI HIGH (57)

JR Villon 9, DJ Sable 3, Keoki Agtaguem 2, Kevin Cacho 16, Isaiah Richards 7, T-Jay Valle 2, Michael Villon 0, Kobin Harris 6, Brycetyn Boco 8, Chris Rummans 4.

Baldwin 14 2 19 13–51

Maui High 13 19 12 16–57