Maui Sports

Corona Bounces Kekaulike in Finals of SAS Tourney

December 16, 2012, 8:34 AM HST
* Updated December 16, 8:39 AM
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King Kekaulike’s Jansen Agapay drives to the basket for a layup during fourth-quarter action Saturday against Corona High School of Calif. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

By Rodney S. Yap

In a tale of two halves, Corona High School of Calif. got the best of King Kekaulike in the second half, outscoring the Upcountry school 33-10 en route to a 60-33 win Saturday night in the championship game of the St. Anthony Invitational boys basketball tournament at War Memorial Gym.

The Panthers used a 2-1-2 press and a match-up zone in the second half to disrupt Kekaulike’s rhythm. In the meantime, Corona’s stingy play on defense sparked its offense and Ethan Alvano, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, got hot from the perimeter to finish with a game-high 18 points.

Teammates Marcus Cortez had 16, Nolan Kelly added 11 and Zackary Perez chipped in 10 points.

“I thought we played really well, we just didn’t make any shots in the first half,” said Corona head coach Chris Maffucci. “I thought we did a good job defensively, especially against there top two players. We’re a pretty good shooting team and we just didn’t make shots in the first half and in the second half they started falling for us and we were able to pull away.”

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Maffucci said Alvano can light up the scoreboard when he gets hot.

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“He’s a 45% three-point shooter and we have three or four kids who can shoot, between 40 and 45%.

“We’re 9-0 right now so we’re pretty happy, but we play in a pretty tough league so it’s not going to be easy for us once we start playing league, but the boys have done everything we’ve asked of them thus far.”

Trailing 27-23 at halftime, Kekaulike (3-1) fell behind by 14 points with 2 minutes, 38 seconds to play in the third quarter when Cortez converted on a fast-break layup, 41-27. Na Alii was held scoreless until Jansen Agapay hit a 3-pointer with 1:27 left in the period.

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Alvano’s 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter gave the Panthers’ a 50-30 advantage.

Corona’s Ethan Alvano, the tournament’s MVP, scores two of his game-high 18 points Saturday against King Kekaulike. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

“We played a good first half,” said Chase Iwata-Bartelme, who led Kekaulike with 10 points. “We played defense and we shut them down. Second half came around and I don’t know if we got intimidated or what but we kind of held back and that’s what killed us in the third quarter.”

King Kekaulike head coach Bill Naylor took the blame.

“We really didn’t handle their press well at all. We haven’t practiced against the press at all, we talked about it for a little while today, but that’s it. I take full blame for this loss because because we weren’t ready for that pressure.

“But this is preseason and you really don’t know what’s going to come at you. We’re still trying to get the offense in, let alone trying to break a 2-1-2 press. . . . There were sometimes when we handled it ok and sometimes when we didn’t.

“I thought we hustled well in the first half and they shot lights out in the second half. They must have had 10 or 11 3’s in the second half. We were guarding them and they would scoot further out behind the 3-point line and still hit it.

“It was a good game though, like I said I thought we played a really good first half, but we have to be humble, because we got bounced in the second half.”

Joining MVP Alvano on the All-Tournament Team were teammate Cortez, Kekaulike’s Agapay and Jacob Havron, and Lahainaluna’s Emil Cariaga. The tournament’s leading scorer with 47 points was Kamehameha Maui’s R.J. Moku.

St. Anthony Invitational Basketball All-Tournament Team 2012: From left, Corona’s Marcus Cortez, MVP Ethan Alvano of Corona, Jacob Havron of Kekaulike, Emil Cariaga of Lahainaluna, and Jansen Agapay of Kekaulike. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

LAHAINALUNA 64, KA’U 52

Calvin Chapital scored 16 points to lead Lahainaluna to third place. Nick Vierra and Ryan Madera added 12 points apiece for the Lunas. Ka’u was led by Royden Esperon with 13 points and Jansen Candaroma added 11.

KAMEHAMEHA MAUI 50, ROOSEVELT 31

Moku scored 21 points for Kamehameha Maui and Luke Batoon added 10 as the KS-Maui Warriors claimed fifth place. Roosevelt’s Nick Colling scored seven points.

SEABURY HALL 63, ST. ANTHONY 26

Kaleb Palmer scored 16 points and Jordan Haylor added 11 to lead Seabury Hall to a seventh-place victory. Preston Masanda led St. Anthony with six points.

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