Tuesday | December 12, 2017
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BIIF basketball: Cardinals rely on cohesion in Division

St. Joseph models its offense after Grinnell College and Princeton with the strategy to play fast, running and firing 3-pointers, or slow down the tempo, relying on patience and backdoor cuts in half-court sets.

The latter style of play would be a better basketball fit for the Cardinals, who don’t have a lot of depth. They have a roster of eight players, including one girl in sophomore Nanami Taono.

Tired legs usually led to runs by the other team, foul trouble, and stagnation in half court on both ends of the ball. Then again, the Cardinals never seem to get tired, at least not by the way they hit the gas pedal.

Besides, it’s more fun to run the floor and score a layup or hit a 3-pointer, the preferred style of BIIF play. That’s also the specialty of guards Keegan Scanlan and Ruka Suda, who’s a streaky pull-up 3-point shooter.

The duo’s ball-handling will be tested against ball-pressuring BIIF teams at the St. Joseph Cardinal Classic, which runs Thursday-Saturday at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.

St. Joseph takes on Hilo’s press on Thursday, Kohala’s uptempo style on Friday, and Honokaa’s aggressive defense on Saturday. The hosts test their endurance with a doubleheader against Kailua, of the OIA, on the final day.

Last season, the Cardinals were part of history when they lost in a BIIF postseason play-in game to Ka‘u, which earned its first trip to the four-team playoffs.

The Cards graduated four seniors, including three starters, from that team and can’t really afford an injury to anyone or getting into foul trouble either.

However, despite its thin bench, St. Joseph showed its competitive fire against Seabury Hall in a 60-45 loss at the Waiakea-Keaau tournament last week.

Scanlan, a sophomore guard, scored a game-high 24 points, hitting three triples. Suda had 11 points, also draining three 3-pointers. Dylan Costales added seven points, including one 3-pointer, and Siam Thomas added three points on a 3-ball.

That was all of the scoring, a clear state of affairs on how the season will likely unfold. If the starters don’t score, the Cardinals are in trouble.

Raycen Lum, a senior guard, is the other starter along with Costales, a junior guard, and Thomas, a 5-foot-9 junior forward, who qualifies as the only tall Cardinal. Scanlan and Costales are 5-8.

The Spartans, from the MIL, are coached by former UHH standout Scott Prather. Last year at the HHSAA Division II tournament, they beat Hawaii Prep in the quarterfinals and Honokaa for third place.

Against a much taller and deeper Seabury Hall team, the Cardinals hung tough, mostly by not turning in empty possessions, and trailed 43-37 entering the four quarter.

But the Spartans outscored them in the final eight minutes, 17-8. The Valley Isle team also buried 15 of 22 free throws; the Cardinals went just 5 of 15

It was a disadvantage that the Cards couldn’t tag fouls on the Spartans and get to the line more frequently. But at least, no St. Joseph players fouled out, a sign that they can play defense without committing fouls.

“We have a lot of potential. Our defense should be OK. But I’m worried about our rebounding because we’re so short,” said coach Scanlan, who is hoping Suda and his son Keegan can compensate if his team gets outrebounded.

“Ruka and Keegan will be our main guys and do most of the scoring. Ruka has really worked on his shooting. He’s our best shooter.”

The Spartans figured that out quickly and doubled him once he touched the ball. Suda and Scanlan play well off each other, and the senior guard, from Japan, found the sophomore, who fired away, or hit other teammates on the perimeter.

“Keegan has gotten more athletic. He knows he’s going to have a bigger role this year,” Scanlan said. “Siam can shoot for a big guy. His shooting will help us out.”

The nice thing about the Cardinals is that everybody understands their role and buys in, so the team chemistry is always in a good place.

“Raycen is one of our better on-ball defenders,” Scanlan said. “Dylan never quits on a play. When he makes a mistake, he tries to get back to the basket. I wish everybody was like that. If he messes up, he’ll move on to the next play.”

Scanlan is focused on sharpening his team’s rough edges, such as boxing out to overcome its height deficiency for rebounds and moving the ball to avoid traps and turnovers.

In proper preparation for the BIIF season, that type of glass cleaning and defensive pressure serve as the specialty for Hilo, Kohala, and Honokaa.

“If we can do those things, we should be in it for the season,” Scanlan said.

Cardinal classic

Hilo Civic

Thursday

Honokaa vs. St. Joseph JV, 2 p.m.

Kohala vs. Waiakea, 3:30 p.m.

Kailua vs. Honokaa, 5 p.m.

Maryknoll vs. Kamehameha-Hawaii, 6:30 p.m.

Hilo vs. St. Joseph, 8 p.m.

Friday

Honokaa vs. Kailua JV, 11:30 a.m.

St. Joseph vs. Kohala JV, 2 p.m.

St. Joseph vs. Kohala, 3:30 p.m.

Waiakea vs. Kamehameha, 5 p.m.

Hilo vs. Kailua, 6:30 p.m.

Honokaa vs. Maryknoll, 8 p.m.

Saturday

Kailua vs. St. Joseph JV, 9 a.m.

Hilo vs. Kohala, 10:30 a.m.

Waiakea vs. Maryknoll, noon

St. Joseph vs. Honokaa, 1:30 p.m.

Kamehameha vs. Kailua, 3 p.m.

Maryknoll vs. Hilo, 4:30 p.m.

Honokaa vs. Waiakea, 6 p.m.

Kailua vs. St. Joseph, 7:30 p.m.

 

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