Punahou rallies to advance in ILH boys basketball tourney
Jan. 29—Noah Macapulay, Ayndra Upersa-Thomas and Dillon Kellner hit key free throws in the final minute as No. 5-ranked Punahou rallied for a 51-44 win over No. 4 Saint Louis on Saturday night at Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Center.
Noah Macapulay, Ayndra Upersa-Thomas and Dillon Kellner hit key free throws in the final minute as No. 5-ranked Punahou rallied for a 51-44 win over No. 4 Saint Louis on Saturday night at Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Center.
Punahou (21-7 overall ) advanced to the final of the ILH playoff tournament (Round 2 ) and will play at Maryknoll on Monday with a state-tournament berth on the line. No. 2 Maryknoll ousted No. 1 'Iolani 42-28 on Saturday to advance.
Kellner scored 13 points and Uperesa-Thomas tallied 12 as Punahou stayed alive.
"We had to go all out. It could be the last quarter of the season, but we didn't want that, so we left it all on the court and got the win, " Uperesa-Thomas said.
Sophomore Pupu Sepulona scored 22 points for Saint Louis (22-7 ), which shot 6-for-16 at the free-throw line on its home court. The Crusaders had already clinched a state berth with a 33-30 win over Maryknoll on Thursday in a first-place tiebreaker.
If regular-season winner Saint Louis had won Saturday's game with Punahou, regular-season runner-up Maryknoll would have earned an instant state berth. Instead, Monday's Punahou-Maryknoll winner will take on Saint Louis on Tuesday for the ILH championship.
James Taras was especially clutch, hitting a corner 3 to help the visitors rally. After he scored a layup on a drive-and-dish by Macapulay, Punahou had a 45-44 lead with 2 :08 remaining.
After a Saint Louis turnover, Macapulay swished two free throws with 31.4 seconds on the clock for a 47-44 Buffanblu lead.
Sepulona then missed two free throws with 21.2 seconds to go. Uperesa-Thomas went to the charity stripe with 20.2 ticks left. His first shot bounced high off the back iron and dropped through. After he sank the second foul shot, Punahou had a 49-44 lead.
The high-flying wing then hustled back and swatted a layup try by Shancin Revuelto. Kellner's two free throws extended the lead to seven points with 12.7 seconds left.
"I feel good, " Taras said. "But the job's not finished. There's still one more win we have to get to get to states."
No. 2 Maryknoll 42, No. 1 'Iolani 28 Senior Justin Yap clutched up for 21 points as the Spartans ousted the Raiders from the ILH playoff tournament, ending a shot at a state-tournament berth for the state's top-ranked team.
Fabian Camacho added eight points for No. 2-ranked Maryknoll (27-6 overall ).
Akila Indalecio scored six points for 'Iolani (19-9 ). The Raiders reached the semifinals of the tournament (Round 2 ) after edging Mid-Pacific, 51-43, on Friday night. Maryknoll, as the second seed, had the benefit of a bye on Friday. It was the fourth game in five days for 'Iolani and Maryknoll.
The win by the Maryknoll generally replicated last week's tiebreaker battle. Maryknoll, 'Iolani and Saint Louis finished the ILH regular season tied at 7-3. Saint Louis drew a bye and Maryknoll defeated 'Iolani, 40-33. Maryknoll then lost at Saint Louis, 33-30, to finish second in the league seedings while the Crusaders earned first place and an automatic state berth.