Mustangs Soar To Top In Basketball, No Matter The Division
Kalaheo always plays big on the basketball court, despite its small enrollment. “We’re a small community, and that makes it (success) more gratifying,” said head coach Alika Smith.
Smith was talking less than two days after his team took the Division I state title last February with a riveting overtime win over Maryknoll, closing out a perfect season at 17-0. The win placed Kalaheo in an elite class, as it became the first program to win back-to-back OIA and state titles in different divisions. The Mustangs had won the DII state crown in 2011-2012, as well as the DII OIA championship.
It was their fifth overall title and fourth non-DII crown, the first since 2001. The 2001 title was coached by Smith’s father, the late Pete Smith. They now are the only father-son duo to coach a high school team to state basketball titles.
Smith attributed their success in the winter in part to a Las Vegas trip the previous July, where they won the Live-Run Bigfoot Hoops Tournament in the 17-and-under division.
The Mustangs’ 2012-13 roster included Josh Ko, Shem Sukumaran, Alec Macleod, Kurt Vegas, Kalei Zuttermeister, Kalani Green, Derick Morgan, Silila Tucker, Kenny McFadden, Kupaa Harrison, Anthony Rowan, Elijah Eriksson, Michael Leong and Nainoa Frank. Smith added Kekai Smith, Bryant Villarosa, Hano Kohatsu and Fao Atanoa for the post-season run.
Ko was named Gatorade Hawaii State Player of the Year at season’s end. In the final versus Maryknoll, he scored 13 of his season-high 24 points in the fourth quarter. Nine came in the final 1:25 of regulation, including the game-tying 3-pointer with 27 seconds left and followed with the first four points of OT before he fouled out with 19 seconds left.
Kalaheo’s state title run is the top Windward sports story for 2013. A look at other memorable Windward moments follows.
Kailua-Castle football game an “instant classic”
For late-game drama, little could match the excitement in the closing minutes of Kailua’s 23-20 overtime win over Castle in the annual Hammer Trophy football game last August. A statewide TV audience watched the game, which was played in Castle’s renovated football stadium.
Just over a minute remained in regulation time with Kailua trailing Castle 20-14 when the Surfriders’ Jameson White raced 99 yards for a Kailua touch-down to tie the score. Kailua kicker Naia Graham then had a chance to take the lead on the next play with a point-after kick. Instead, there was an errant snap. The score remained 20-20 as the game went into overtime.
Graham got another chance to help his team when Kailua got the ball back following Castle’s missed field goal. Kailua head coach Gary Rosolowich wasted no time putting Graham on the field, going for the win on second down. Graham promptly booted a 32-yard field goal to secure a huge win for Kailua. While neither Castle (3-6) or Kailua (2-7) had winning seasons, their August battle neatly summarized the rivalry’s intensity.
Kahuku volleyball girls win their first 13 games
The 2013 Red Raider volleyball team couldn’t have asked for a better beginning after winning its first 13 games, including all 11 OIA Red East season contests. Such was Kahuku’s dominance that only two of its opponents to that point (Kalaheo and Roosevelt) took them to a third game.
The long win streak spanned Aug. 27-Oct 17. The team finally was defeated by eventual OIA champion Mililani in a conference tournament semifinal and eventually finished third. Kahuku followed up the OIA tourney with an appearance at the Division I state tournament in November. It lost to eventual champ Kamehameha in the quarterfinals but rebounded with wins over Kamehameha-Maui and Kamehameha-Hawaii island to take fifth in the state. Kahuku’s Adora Anae was later named OIA East’s Player of the Year, and Tehani Fiatoa was named Coach of the Year. Teammates Sinamoni Tonga, Rachel Blake and Talia Brown also made the All-Conference team. Kahuku finished its season 16-3 overall.
Kalaheo, Kailua girls battle for OIA White title
Kalaheo girls basketball standout Jayla Tamashiro saved some of her biggest efforts for her biggest games. One of her most memorable performances came Jan. 31 when she tallied 30 points to drive her team across the finish line in its 59-51 victory over rival Kailua in the OIA White championship at Waipahu High.
With a statewide TV audience tuned in, Tamashiro delivered big for Kalaheo, enabling the Lady Mustangs to overcome a 9-point first quarter deficit with four first-half 3-pointers and weathered a fourth-quarter Kailua rally with timely steals.
Tamashiro had entered the game with a 10.5 average, with her previous high-point total 16 points against Kahuku.
For Kalaheo, the win avenged a 51-49 loss to Kailua. Both teams went on to compete in the Division II state tournament. Finishing 10-8 overall last season, Kailua rebounded from a first-round loss to Kohala at the state tournament to beat Hawaii Baptist Academy and University High in the consolation round for a fifth-place finish. Losses to Hanalani and University High ended Kalaheo’s bid for a state title. The Mustangs finished their season at 8-8.
Castle, Kailua baseball teams post solid seasons
The Castle baseball team set the tone for 2013 last spring by winning the first seven games of its OIA slate. Although the Knights would eventually fall short of their goal of making the Division I state tournament, their 9-5 season offered plenty of entertainment. Six of their games in 2013 were decided by one run or less.
For their part, rival Kailua won four of its first five before enduring a three-game losing streak. It then rebounded with five straight wins during an exciting run that extended into the OIA tournament. Kailua lost to eventual champion Campbell in the OIA semifinals, but won the third-place game over Leilehua. It opened state tournament play with a bang, posting a 2-0 shutout of Iolani on day one. A loss to No. 4 seed Hilo in the quarterfinals ended Kailua’s bid for a state title. The Surfriders finished 2013 with an 11-7 overall record. Castle and Kailua split their two games last spring: Castle won the first game 5-1, while Kailua took the second one 18-1.