Maui Sports

Baldwin faces tough challenge in hoops opener

February 16, 2011, 6:45 AM HST
* Updated February 16, 9:33 AM
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By Fred Guzman

There’s no getting around it. Baldwin faces a daunting challenge tonight when it becomes the first of the MIL’s three teams to open play in this year’s state prep basketball tournaments.

Baldwin will meet a talented Kamehameha-Oahu squad that finished the regular-season as the state’s second-ranked team. The Warriors are unseeded at states only because the top-ranked team, Iolani, narrowly edged them out for the title in the powerful ILH.

As always, the Bears are strong defensively and very disciplined when they have the ball. But they lack overall team height and have struggled at times to generate points while compiling an overall mark of 18-7.

Baldwin’s hopes ride on guard Gabe Ross being able to bring the ball up the court against Kamehameha’s intense pressure, the offensive production of forward Timmy Pang and Pasoni Tasini holding his own on the boards against the taller Warriors without getting into foul trouble.

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Kamehameha has a record of recent success at the state level, winning the Division-I title in 2009 and finishing runnerup to Iolani last year.

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Tonight’s game is set for a 5 o’clock tipoff at the Farrington High Gym and will be carried live on Maui’s ESPN 550 and espn550.com.

If Badwin pulls off an upset tonight, it will advance to play against third-seeded Kamehameha-Hawaii in Thursday’s 5 p.m. quarterfinal game at the same venue. A loss tonight would relegate the Bears to a 3 p.m. consolation bracket game on Thursday.

The MIL’s two other qualifiers – D-I Lahainaluna and D-II Seabury Hall – are off today will begin play on Thursday.

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The fourth-seeded Lunas (23-4) will face the winner of Kahuku versus Hilo in a 5 p.m. game at McKinley High.

Seabury (16-4) will meet third-seeded Island Pacific of the ILH in a 5 p.m. game at Kalani High.

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