Warriors fall to Nā Ali`i, gain experience


Photo by Destinee Murray

Zackary Lopez runs down the floor alongside Elijah Engoring at King Kekaulike’s gym, Tuesday, Jan. 28. Nā Aliʻi won, moving them closer to second place in the MIL.

Nā Ali`i defeated the Warriors, 57-33, for the second time this boys basketball season at King Kekaulike gym.

“Everyone stepped up and did their job defensively,” said Bill Naylor, King Kekaulike head coach.

Within seconds of the beginning of the first quarter, Erin Lindsey of the Warriors scored first, but King Kekaulike quickly took over from the first quarter led by ten plus points throughout the game.

“King Kekaulike is a good team,” said Coach Chad Kalehuawehe, head coach of the Warriors. “They have the reigning MVP of the league (Chase Iwata-Bartelme).”

Iwata-Bartelme scored the most points of the game, 17. The Warriors’ leading scorer was Lindsey, who scored 12 points, including one three-pointer.

During the game, Coach Kalehuawehe rotated in all his players, and underclassmen like Keiran Kauka, Maikaʻike English, Pono Duarte, Micah Ing, and Jessie Amaral showed a lot of promise for next year’s team. Coach Kalehuawehe said that everyone played because he wanted his team to grow and improve with every single game.

“Win or lose, you still got to do your job,” Coach Kalehuawehe said.

Nā Ali`i’s Elijah Engoring had a good night, scoring 11 points, including 3 three-pointers, and Don Thompson scored eight points for Nā Ali`i.

“You hit those kinds of shots it’s kind of demoralizing,” Coach Kalehuawehe said, “but you got to find a way to fight back.”

Aside from Lindsey, other top leading scorers for the Warriors were Kiyozo Vaituulala and Chase Newton scoring five points each. “There are moments, but not enough,” Coach Kalehuawehe said.

The teams were about equal from the free throw line, with the Warriors making 61% of their free-throws and Nā Ali`i making 69% of theirs.

Coach Naylor said that in practices leading up to the game, Nā Ali`i had emphasized their defense, which showed the large number of steals. His strategy was much the same as Coach Kalehuawehe’s in that he also played his entire bench and said that it was important for everyone to get a chance to play.

“That was the biggest thing for us, if everyone could share the ball with everyone else,” Coach Naylor said.

Coach Naylor hopes to strengthen the team’s defense for their next game against Lāhainaluna, hoping to move from third to second in the Maui Interscholastic League. He said, “We’re not very big… so we got to get more physical and play strong.”