KS Maui boys basketball lose close call with Na Ali’i

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Photo by Reid Cairme

Junior RJ Moku threads his way through Na Ali'i to the basket. The Maui Warriors lost to King Kekaulike, 64-53, despite the Warriors closing a 22-point gap in the score and pulling to within 4 points of a win in the fourth quarter of the January 7 game.

By Reid Cairme, Features writer

The Kamehameha Warriors varsity basketball team had a close encounter with the King Kekaulike Na Ali’i at the King Kekaulike gym last night, January 7, 2012. Na Ali’i won with a score of 53-64.

“We should have come out hard from the beginning. If we did, it would’ve been a different story,” junior guard RJ Moku said.

The Warriors lacked fire in the first half of the game, putting up only 15 points by halftime. Junior starter Luke Batoon was on the bench for most of the first two quarters.

The halftime score was 15-35, Na Alii leading.

“In the first half, I thought we played with intensity against Kamehameha who had low intensity. I give credit to [Coach] Chad [Kalehuawehe] and his staff on how they prepare their team,” said Coach Bill Naylor of King Kekaulike.

Coming into the second half, Na Ali’i scored on their first possession and brought their lead to 22 points, 37-15. After that, the Warriors brought out the intensity and fire, and they scored the same amount of points in the third quarter as they did in the entire first half of the game.

Batoon returned to the court scoring 9 points in addition to a 3-pointer he scored in the first quarter, making him the high scorer of the night.

The Warriors continued to fight and push through the fourth quarter. Within the first six minutes, The Warriors scored 17 points whereas Na Ali’i scored 5 points.

Guard Kahiau Andrade said, “We brought our intensity a lot more. We weren’t afraid to take it to the basket.”

In addition to bringing a more cohesive offense, Kamehameha Maui was also shooting more from the outside than usual. Batoon made two of his 3-point shots, and juniors Billy Ayakawa and Micah Mossman also scored 3-points once each.

The smallest lead Na Alii had was only 4 points just before the last two minutes of the game, when the score was 48-52.

With Na Ali’i still leading. Warrior fans were wild with the possibility of a come-from-behind win.

But in the last two minutes of the game, the Warriors’ aggressive strategy and missed field goals added only 5 points to their side of the scoreboard, while King Kekaulike scored 12 points.

Also, Moku, who had shot 100% on six free throws for the night, fouled out in the last minute of the game.

The final score was 53-64, Na Ali’i.

“I’m proud that they regained their confidence and came back,” Coach Kalehuawehe said. “Our plays work. It’s just a matter of working together.

Na Ali’i Coach Naylor had a similar sentiment. Though they won the game, Na Ali’i let the Maui Warriors get a little too close for comfort in the fourth quarter.

“We’re trying to learn to work together as a unit. As soon as we get everyone there, we should be in good shape,” Coach Naylor said.