Punahou Overwhelms Baldwin in Semifinals, 59-41

February 25, 2012, 7:21 AM HST · Updated February 25, 7:23 AM
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Baldwin's Gabe Ross scores two of his game-high 17 points against Punahou in Friday's semifinals on Oahu. Photo by Ben Juan.

By Rodney S. Yap

Punahou School used a seasoned inside-outside game to overwhelm Maui Interscholastic League champion Baldwin, 59-41, in Friday’s Division I semifinal action of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA State Boys Basketball Tournament.

Six-foot, 7-inch center DeForest Buckner finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks and guard Nick Velasquez poured in a game-high 17 points, making 5-of-6 field goals from three-point range to advance the Buffanblu into the state championship game for the first time since 2008.

Top-seeded Punahou will play second-seeded Kahuku, which outlasted Kamehameha-Hawaii, 57-50, in the other semifinal. The Red Raiders relied on an 18-5 fourth-quarter run to turn back the Warriors of the Big Island.

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The championship tilt — tonight at 7 on OC16 — will be a classic brawl between the best private-school team in Punahou of the Interscholastic League and the best public-school team in Kahuku of the Oahu Interscholastic Association.

The Bears are now 0-11 in semifinal games at the state tournament. On the flip side, Punahou has appeared in 18 championship finals, winning nine.

Punahou utilized its length to block Baldwin’s shot attempts in the post six times. The other game changer was the Buffanblu’s pressure defense came up with 11 steals compared to three for Baldwin. The steals resulted in quick transition layups for Punahou, particularly in the second quarter.

Baldwin closed to within 11-10 early in the second period, but would get outscored 24-6 over the last 7 minutes, 30 seconds — thanks to Punahou’s reach and collapsing defense.

Punahou, which used a platoon-substitution pattern, got 26 points from its bench. The impact reserves were Sean Gruebner with 10 points and Taylor Henderson added nine.

Baldwin struggled offensively. Senior guard Gabe Ross stepped up his game and delivered an MVP performance, finishing with a game-high 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block and 2 assists. But Ross, who also gave an iron-man effort in playing 26 minutes, was the only Baldwin player to score more than five points. Teva Eldridge’s scored all of his five points in the first half.

Baldwin will play Kamehameha-Hawaii for third place today at 3 p.m. The game will be aired live on ESPN 550-AM radio with Barry Helle and Fred Guzman calling the action.

***

In a consolation game, AOP jumped on MIL runner-up King Kekaulike early and often, building a 12 point first-quarter lead, 18-6, en route to a lopsided 60-45 rout of Na Alii. The defeat capped Kekaulike’s memorable season at 9-6 in league play and its first state basketball appearance in school history.

Wilson Macleod led AOP with 11 points, including three 3-pointers, and David Daniel added nine.

Kekaulike was led by Jacob Havron’s 11 points and Jansen Agapay chipped in eight.

 

At Blaisdell Arena

Academy of the Pacific 60, King Kekaulike 45

ACADEMY OF THE PACIFIC (10-5)           18            7            17            18 – 60

KING KEKAULIKE (9-6)                                6             9           14             16 – 45

ACADEMY OF THE PACIFIC: Shai Brown 0 2-2 2, Shanon Akiona 0 0-0 0, Mattia Raebel 1 1-2 4, Kamana Keohohou 1 0-0 2, Arkadiy Mkrtychyan 2 4-6 8, Drew Viena 0 0-0 0, David Daniel 3 3-7 9, Wilson Macleod 3 2-2 11, Marshall Gourley 0 0-0 0, Bret-Maverick Kanoa 0 1-2 1. Totals 10 13-21 37.

KING KEKAULIKE: Jansen Agapay 3 0-0 8, Kamaka Kanae 1 0-0 2, Jonell Alfonso 0 1-2 1, Alroy Ferreira 0 2-2 2, Chase Iwata Bartelme 1 3-4 5, Trey Texeira 1 0-0 3, Keita Naito 1 0-1 2, Austin Ferreira 1 0-0 2, Logan Birch 1 0-0 2, Jordan Mauliola 1 1-2 3, Jacob Havron 4 2-2 11, Gabe Gunter 2 0-0 4. Totals 16 9-13 45.

3-point goals: Academy of the Pacific 4 (Macleod 3, Raebel); King Kekaulike 4 (Agapay 2, Texeira, Havron).

 

***box-score

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