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BIIF boys basketball: Keaau and Kealakehe head to play-in game, with Hilo on cusp of joining them

  • Honokaa's Kamuela Spencer Herring

Kealakehe and Keaau are destined for a regular-season tiebreaker to reach the Division I playoffs, and Hilo could soon make it a three-team party after a dramatic Friday night of BIIF boys basketball in North Hawaii.

At Honokaa, Kamuela Spencer Herring hit the game-winner at the the buzzer as the Dragons spoiled the Cougars’ chance of clinching the fourth and final seed in the playoffs with a 60-58 victory, while the Waveriders ended Hawaii Prep’s nine-game losing streak with a 60-44 victory in Waimea, leaving Keaau and Kealakehe at 8-5 to end the regular season.

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The Vikings could reach that mark as well with a win Saturday night at Kohala, forcing a three-way logjam ahead of the BIIF playoffs, which start Tuesday.

In the event of three-way tie, the Waveriders would get a bye since they own regular season wins over Hilo and Keaau, who would meet at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Vikings’ gym, with the winner taking on the Waveriders on Monday.

If the Vikings lose Saturday, it’s simpler: Kealakehe travels to Keaau at 6 p.m. Monday to reach the playoffs.

The host team in a play-in is the opposite of the school hosted the regular-season contest, so a Vikings-Waveriders play-in game would be held in Kailua-Kona. During the regular season, Hilo won at Keaau 41-40, while the Waverider won at Hilo 74-59 and beat the Cougars at home 48-43.

The Cougars seemed destined to take Honokaa to overtime, but with 3.8 seconds remaining and the Dragons inbounding the ball under Keaau’s basket, a streaking Spencer Herring gathered a full-court pass on the left side on the basket and banked in a 5-footer with a two players on him, finishing with 16 points. Gene Ansagay added 12 and Kieran Lo had 10.

Kealakehe saved its season Friday behind Lewko Lai’s 16 points and 14 from Anthony Trevino. The Waveriders led 32-26 at halftime and pulled away in the fourth quarter. Matija Vitorovic scored 25 for HPA (10-3).

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At Waiakea, the Warriors held off Konawaena 64-61 in a preview of a Division I semifinal on tap for Tuesday at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.

In Division II, St. Joseph beat Laupahoehoe 72-56 at Hilo Civic to clinch a playoff spot, behind 20 points from Ruka Suda, Dylan Costales’ 16 and Keegan Scanlan’s 14. The Cardinals (2-10) and Pahoa (2-9) will determine the fifth and sixth seeds in their regular season finale Saturday night.