By Wes Nakama, HHSAA
Josh Ko scored 16 points and Nainoa Frank added 13 points, 10 rebounds,
three blocks and two steals to help Kalaheo defeat McKinley, 57-42, for
the Hawaiian Airlines/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division
II Boys Basketball State Championship.
A Blaisdell Arena crowd of about 1,200 watched the Mustangs finish the
regular and postseason at 18-2. The Tigers ended up 13-7.
Kalaheo jumped out to a 7-0 start in the first four minutes before
McKinley responded with a 12-2 run capped by Alex Ironside’s two free
throws to finish the period. The Tigers led, 15-11, after a 3-pointer by
Ironside 40 seconds into the second quarter, but Ko scored on a layup
at the 7-minute mark to ignite a 10-3 surge that put the Mustangs ahead,
21-18, at halftime.
Kalaheo then began the second half with an 8-2 run to make it 29-20, and
after Ironside sank a free throw to cut the lead to 31-26 midway
through the third period, Ko drained a 3-pointer to finish a 7-3 run to
make it 38-29 entering the fourth.
McKinley could not close the margin in the final eight minutes, as the Mustangs sealed their first Division II state crown.
Derick Morgan added 11 points and four assists for Kalaheo, which
finished 17 of 31 (54.8 percent) from the field, including 10 of 17
(58.8 pct.) in the second half, and converted 21 of 28 free throw
attempts (75 pct.).
Ironside led the Tigers with 15 points, including 9 of 12 shooting from the free throw line.
With Kalaheo's victory, Pete Smith and Alika Smith became the first
father and son to coach boys basketball state championship teams. Pete
Smith coached Kalaheo to Division I state titles in 1985, 1995 and 2001.
Also, this is Alika Smith’s first state championship after several
memorable attempts. He was a freshman sixth-man on Kalaheo's state
runner-up team in 1991, was an All-State sophomore guard when the
Mustangs lost a double-overtime heartbreaker to Hilo in 1992, then lost
another semifinal heartbreaker to Kamehameha as a senior in 1994.
Alika Smith finally made it to another state title game in his last
opportunity—as a starting pitcher in the 1994 baseball state final
vs. Castle, but again lost another heartbreaker as the Knights came from
behind to win, 5-4.