BIIF boys basketball: On retro night in Pahoa, Waveriders defeat Daggers

PAHOA — The Daggers went from playing in a modern luxury to being transported back in time to the 1940s, which is the era their new old home resembles.

The Pahoa basketball team’s spacious, sunshine bright, and beautiful Daggers Gym is out of commission because of floor damage, and the timetable of a return is unknown.

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Kealakehe defeated the Daggers 68-48 in a BIIF basketball game on Saturday night at the old Pahoa county gym, right across the street from the Helene Hale-inspired 1,000-seat palace, which opened in March 2012.

For almost 70 years, the Daggers held school functions and played in the old county gym, which is much, much smaller and doesn’t have close to the lighting of the Daggers Gym. It has probably half the seating size of the new gym if people sit close to each other.

The Daggers Gym was going to be shut down after the season because of construction for a locker room, Pahoa coach Marc Saito said. Next season, the team would have played at the old county gym anyway.

That timetable just got moved up early when the flooring started to bubble at the Daggers Gym. At least, Saito kept his sense of humor about the situation, finding a silver lining in the darkness of the old gym and its old charm.

“The good thing is with the county gym we have the home-court advantage,” Saito said. “I’ve never seen another gym like this in the state. It’s dark, small, and half-court is probably wider than the width. The rims are breakaway, but they don’t move. It’s like playing at Mohouli Park with the cement posts.”

The perimeter of the basketball court is three feet from the stands and the front and back walls. It’s tight all around. There’s no wall scoreboard, only one on a table by the scorer’s desk. (So, one side of the crowd is clueless on the score.) The old field house lights probably aren’t manufactured anymore.

With the win, the Waveriders (7-4) remains tied for fourth with Keaau (7-4). Kealakehe has won six of its last seven games, beating Parker, Laupahoehoe, St. Joseph, Keaau 48-43, and Hilo 73-57, the latter two big-time statement games. The loss was to Honokaa, 52-51.

If there is a tie for the No. 4 seed, there will be a play-in game for the postseason.

The ’Riders close their season on the road at Ka’u on Wednesday and at Hawaii Prep on Saturday.

Last year in coach Benny Alcoran’s debut season, Kealakehe finished last in Division I with a 5-7 record and didn’t qualify for the four-team BIIF playoffs. They’re on the doorstep a year later.

Kealakehe has found the right mix with seniors Lewko Lai, Anthony “Head” Trevino, Quishaun Gallon, Travis Grace, and Bryton Lewi. The formula has been to work the post offense and rely on Trevino for toughness, rebounds, and second-chance shots.

“We’ve kept pounding the ball inside and got on a roll,” Alcoran said. “We got some success and have stuck to it. Head has been a difference for us. He does all the stuff that’s not in the scorebook or shows up in the newspaper.”

Lewi soared to the rim for layups and 21 points, Grace added 18 points, and Trevino powered around the post for 12 points.

Despite the loss, the Daggers (2-9) will likely sneak into the six-team Division II playoffs. They close their season at Hilo on Tuesday and against St. Joseph at Hilo Civic on Saturday.

Pahoa’s two wins came against winless Parker and Laupahoehoe.

“We’re very young. Lansen Aranaydo is the only one with a lot of experience,” Saito said. “He’s a third-year varsity guard. Of the rest, no one has had a full varsity season.”

At least, the Daggers are developing team chemistry and a young sharpshooter in sophomore guard Jaymin Santiago-Burns, who nailed five long balls for 26 points, including 7 of 8 free throws.

“When we had to drive to games at Ka’u, HPA, and Kohala, we bonded more and more,” Saito said. “The Friday game at HPA was nice to see because they all got together.”

Hawaii Prep 47, Ka’u 40: Matija Vitorovic led a balanced-scoring effort in Pahala with 12 points and Ka Makani rode a second-quarter surge to take sole possession of first place in Division II.

Johan Hurney and KJ Walker each finished with 11 points for HPA (9-2), which trailed by two after one and then went on a 17-5 run in the second to lead 29-19 at halftime.

Janslae Badua led the Trojans (4-6) with 12 points.

Hilo 79, St. Joseph 39: Kekaukahi Alameda scored 26 points on the strength of five 3-pointers and the host Vikings jumped out to a huge first-quarter lead and stayed in contention in the Division I playoff race.

Keegan Scanlan made four 3-pointers for the Cardinals (1-9) and finished with 18.

Staying a game behind Keaau and Kealakehe in fourth place, Hilo led 30-0 after one quarter.

Waiakea 56, Kohala 29: Rekky Prudencio scored 17 points to help the Warriors nearly double up on the Cowboys in Kapaau.

Waiakea (9-2) led 23-12 at halftime and took a 41-22 lead to the fourth quarter.

Elijah Antonio led Kohala (4-7) with seven points.

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Kamehameha 56, Laupahoehoe 11: Izayah Chartrand-Panera and Cyrus Veloria each scored 11 points as the Warriors (11-0) eased to a road win to remain undefeated.

The Seasiders (0-11) trailed 30-2 at the half.