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BIIF basketball: Waiakea races by turnover-prone Cougars

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Waiakea’s transition attack got going early, and Keaau couldn’t keep pace in basketball game that resembled a track meet.

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Waiakea’s transition attack got going early, and Keaau couldn’t keep pace in basketball game that resembled a track meet.

Calvin Mattos scored 24 points, including 14 in the first half, as Waiakea ran past the Cougars 63–47 in a BIIF Division I game on Wednesday night at the Warriors Gym.

Like the other night with the girls (Waiakea beat Honokaa 39-30), it was a key game for the Warriors who get the tiebreaker edge for the four-team BIIF playoffs.

William Soares added 10 points and Treysen Ishimoto had eight for the Warriors (2-0), who converted 54 percent (25 of 46) from the field and sank 10 of 16 free throws.

Rico Handy scored 15 points while Reynaldo Arcellana and Patrick Mears had seven each for the Cougars (1-1), who hit 44 percent (17 of 39) from the floor and buried 12 of 17 free throws.

One reason for Waiakea’s high-shooting percentage was due to a ton of layups, 12 in all. Keaau had just three layups but blew five; the Warriors missed only two layups.

The Warriors played a man defense and occasionally trapped and forced 26 turnovers. They held a healthy 22-2 scoring advantage off giveaways. Waiakea had 16 turnovers but most weren’t harmful.

With under 1:30 left, Soares scored two straight layups off turnovers for a 59-45 cushion, and it was more than enough to hold off Keaau’s late rally. Arcellana followed with a layup for Keaau’s last points.

“We played a man and trapped, and that’s going to be our bread and butter,” Waiakea coach Paul Lee said. “We’re not big. Calvin (at 5 feet 9) is one of our biggest guys. Most times, we’ll have five guards. We have to play uptempo and try to get transition points, and easy buckets.”

Most of the easy buckets came from Mattos, who finished with six layups, three 3-pointers, went 4 of 6 from the line, and compiled four assists.

In the first half, Waiakea grabbed a 31-12 lead behind a barrage of layups, scoring in transition off turnovers, missed shots, and in half-court sets. The Warriors nailed 13 of 22 field goals in the first 16 minutes, and seven were layups.

Mattos was on fire with 14 points in the first half, dropping in four layups and swishing a 3-pointer right at the halftime buzzer. He was also a dribble-drive assist machine with two assists and got to the free throw line, going 3 of 4.

The Cougars had ball-handling issues with 13 turnovers in the first half, which helped the Warriors to a 12-2 scoring advantage off giveaways. Waiakea had nine turnovers but none too painful.

In the third quarter, Keaau didn’t surrender any points off turnovers and outscored Waiakea 18-13. But it didn’t help when Mattos fed Jaden Opiana, who scored under the basket right at the buzzer.

The Cougars started to take better shots, handled the ball better and played tougher defense in the second half. They made only 3 of 16 field goals in the first half but 14 of 23 (61 percent) shots in the final 16 minutes.

For most of the night, Mattos was too fast off the dribble and on drives to the hoop for the Cougars, who tried multiple defenders on him. Most of the time, Mattos won the race to the hoop.

In the junior varsity, it was Waiakea 37, Keaau 35

Keaau 4 8 18 17 — 47

Waiakea 13 18 13 19 — 63

Hilo 65, Laupahoehoe 9

Kekaukahi Alameda scored eight points as the Vikings rolled at home in their opener.

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Rayson Domingo, Tyrus Aspili-Nactor and Jaychelle Nacnac-Lawrence each scored three points for the Seasiders (0-3).

In JV, Hilo beat Parker 53-40.