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Sabers edge Bears 51-50

Peros’ late 3 lifts Maui High to victory over previously unbeaten Baldwin

Maui High School’s Logan Nagamine drives upcourt against Baldwin’s Owen Nakamura in the third quarter of the Sabers’ 51-50 win over the Bears on Tuesday night. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

KAHULUI — All of a sudden, the Maui High School boys basketball team holds its regular-season destiny in its collective hands.

The Sabers got there with a hard-fought 51-50 win over Baldwin in a raucous, packed house at the Shine Matsui Athletic Center on Tuesday. Maui High is now 6-2 in Maui Interscholastic League Division I play, while Baldwin fell to 7-1 — both have four games to play in the regular season that will award the winner a state tournament berth.

“This win was big because, you know, for first place in the MIL,” Maui High junior guard Jerome Butac said after scoring 12 points. “Now it’s up for grabs, it’s us or them. We’re going to keep practicing hard because we want to get to that spot.”

With the score tied 48-48, little-used Maui High backup point guard Jeremy Peros sank a 3 with 28 seconds remaining. The Bears’ only answer was a follow basket underneath the rim by Quintan Akaka with 3.3 seconds to go.

“When it went up I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, he got a shot off,’ and then when it bounced in, I was like, ‘Yes,’ “ Butac said of Peros’ only points in the game. “It was just a turning point for us.”

Baldwin’s Quintan Akaka (left) and Maui High’s Jerome Butac battle for rebounding position in the first quarter.

After trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half, the Bears closed within 39-38 on Mafatini Mafatini’s three-point play with 7:04 left in the game. Avery Pauole gave Baldwin its first lead of the game, 44-43, on a free throw with 3:32 to go.

The Sabers’ Kobin Harris scored inside and Butac pushed Maui High’s lead to three on a layup before Pauole scored inside for the Bears. Butac sank one free throw in a one-and-one situation, and Akaka tied the game on a baseline jumper for the Bears with 59 seconds to go to set up the final drama.

Peros was in the game late after starter Logan Nagamine was forced to leave with a cramp.

“My program, I play everyone. You get ready, you play a part in this,” Maui High coach Steven Vega said after 10 Sabers played in the game. “I think kids like that, they know when they make a team, they get ready to go in, and it’s evident by Jeremy stepping in and making that big shot.”

Vega never hesitated to make the substitution in the final minute.

Maui High’s Kobin Harris grabs a rebound in front of Baldwin’s Hudson Yarbrough.

“I trusted him enough to take out Logan,” Vega said. “So Jeremy hit that big shot with Logan out hurt — (Nagamine) played a tough game start to finish.”

Efren “JR” Villon finished with 13 points for Maui High, and Harris had 14 points, several rebounds and four key blocks in the first half.

“He’s doing a better job of posting up,” Vega said of Harris, a 6-foot-6 senior center. “I talk to him about shaping up real quick to get the ball and when he gets the ball he does something for us. I told him if they throw him the ball that means, ‘Hey big man, go do something for us.’ … He basically changes the game for us.”

Nagamine and Baldwin’s Holden Ioanis traded 3s in the final minute to send the Sabers to halftime ahead 33-21.

The Bears climbed within 35-29 on a 3 by Kuikawa Ross, his second make from distance in the first two minutes of the third quarter. Ioanis drove the lane late in the third to bring the Bears within 39-35 going to the fourth quarter.

The Bears’ Kuikawa Ross shoots.

If the Sabers can run the table, they will claim the MIL regular-season title and a state berth. Of course, Baldwin can say the same thing.

“We talk about that every day, controlling our destiny,” Vega said. “We don’t want to rely on anyone to help us out. We talk about that every day and it starts with ‘control your destiny at practice.’ “

Baldwin coach Cody Tesoro left much of the in-game coaching to assistant Trenson Himalaya as Tesoro battled the flu.

Ross led the Bears with 16 points, while Ioanis added 14.

“I don’t do those moral victories, we just didn’t come to play tonight,” Tesoro said. “We’re looking forward to Thursday and getting back on the court — hopefully we can make some adjustments and get back into our winning ways. Give Maui High credit, they came to play.”

Baldwin’s Holden Ioanis drives to the basket against the Sabers’ Jerome Butac.

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

BALDWIN (50)

Jerren Manarpaac 0, Owen Nakamura 0, Holden Ioanis 14, Avery Pauole 10, Kuikawa Ross 16, Quintan Akaka 6, Hudson Yarbrough 0, Mafatini Mafatini 4.

MAUI HIGH (51)

Logan Nagamine 5, Jeremy Peros 3, Efren Villon 13, Keoki Agtaguem 2, Charlles Guansing 0, Jerome Butac 12, Dreiden Agaran 0, Christian Alejo 0, Kobin Harris 14, Fidel Ortiz 2.

Baldwin 11 10 14 15–50

Maui High 17 16 6 12–51

Also Tuesday

MAUI HIGH GIRLS 70, BALDWIN 48

BALDWIN (48)

Melissa Caliva 18, McKenzie Schwindler 0, Taylor Manangan 10, Kayla Martin 1, Aya Buttaro 12, Talo Mafatini 0, Rita Wengu 0, Makayla Chung 7.

MAUI HIGH (70)

Jordyn Luna 8, Jacy Anne Dela-Cruz 8, Kayla Thornton 24, Kylenna Rieta 11, Makena Stevenson 7, Atasha Timbreza 2, Sophia Otsuka 0, Natea Rosete-Tokuhisa 2, Kaylyn Cortez 2, Leiana Thornton 2, Ronie-Lynn Butihi 2, Kiana Manuel 2.

Baldwin 13 9 13 13–48

Maui High 22 9 17 22–70

LAHAINALUNA BOYS 45, KS MAUI 36

LAHAINALUNA (45)

Cosner Cruz 0, Tre Rickard 15, Kade Cunningham 0, Juztin Gaoiran 2, Malino Jacinto 13, Toby Mizuno 0, Levi Basturo 7, Josh Tihada 0, Matthew Rabino 6, Kanaau Castro 0, TJ Galoia 2, Sam Fifita 0.

KAMEHAMEHA MAUI (36)

Logan Rickard 0, Jaxon Mossman-Smith 4, Alec Tolentino 0, Steven Gushiken 2, Brevin Carillo 0, Bryson Reformina 6, Kale Spencer 4, Tiliti Adams 14, Michael Kalalau 6.

Lahainaluna 9 13 16 7–45

KS Maui 13 10 6 7–36

LAHAINALUNA GIRLS 50, KS MAUI 38

LAHAINALUNA (50)

Paia Asuela 0, Ashley Akamine 0, Alea Kimokeo 0, Aira Baguyo 9, Piper Pascua 9, Kiera Kaniho 23, Taylor Eldredge 7, Ame Taufa 0, Margie Ruiz-Sana 2, Kyana Brucelas 0, Haley Mahoe 0.

KAMEHAMEHA MAUI (38)

Kuumana Bailey 2, Sienna Poeopoe 0, Alyssia Fernandez-Ruiz 4, Poli Kaia 6, Makamae Kaili-Kramer 11, Lauryn Dubach 6, Tatiana Soon 0, Laakea Hurney 0, Logan Spencer 6, Mikiala Sniffen 3, Alexandria Retuta 0, Angel Pauole 0.

Lahainaluna 10 8 18 14–50

KS Maui 12 5 14 7–38

*****

MIL Standings

BOYS

DIVISION I

W L Pct. GB

Baldwin 7 1 .875 —

Maui High 6 2 .750 1

Lahainaluna 5 3 .571 3

Kamehameha Maui 1 7 .125 6

King Kekaulike 1 7 .125 6

DIVISION II

W L Pct. GB

Lanai 4 0 1.000 —

Seabury Hall 4 0 1.000 —

Molokai 2 2 .500 2

St. Anthony 1 2 .333 2 1⁄2

Hana 0 3 .000 3 1⁄2

Maui Prep 0 4 .000 4

Tuesday’s Results

Maui High 51, Baldwin 50

Lahainaluna 45, Kamehameha Maui 36

Thursday’s Games

King Kekaulike at Lahainaluna, 5:30 p.m.

Baldwin at Kamehameha Maui, 5:30 p.m.

Friday’s Games

Hana at Seabury Hall, 5:30 p.m.

St. Anthony at Lanai, 7 p.m.

Molokai vs. Maui Prep at Lahaina Civic Center, 7 p.m.

GIRLS

DIVISION I

W L Pct. GB

Lahainaluna 9 2 .818 —

Maui High 9 3 .750 1⁄2

King Kekaulike 8 3 .727 1

Baldwin 1 10 .091 8

Kamehameha Maui 1 10 .091 8

DIVISION II

W L Pct. GB

x-Seabury Hall 10 0 1.000 —

Lanai 4 5 .444 5 1⁄2

Molokai 3 5 .375 6

Hana 0 7 .000 8 1⁄2

x-clinched regular-season title

Tuesday’s Results

Lahainaluna 50, Kamehameha Maui 38

Maui High 70, Baldwin 48

Thursday’s Games

King Kekaulike at Lahainaluna, 7 p.m.

Baldwin at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.