KEAAU – It was a fourth-quarter Keaau turnover that allowed Kamehameha to go for the go-ahead basket and sneak into the postseason picture, a fitting end to a roller-coaster game.
The Warriors capitalized on the giveaway for a three-point play to eliminate Keaau 47-44 in a BIIF Division I play-in thriller on Friday at Koaia gym.
The four-team BIIF playoffs are set on Tuesday with No. 1 Waiakea (11-1) vs. No. 4 Kamehameha (7-6) at 5:30 p.m., and No. 2 Konawaena (7-5) vs. No. 3 Hilo (7-5) at 7 p.m. at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.
With under a minute left and tied 44-44, Keaau had a sideline inbound play and a chance to take the lead. But a freshly inserted Cougar ran one way and the pass went the other way. The ball eventually ended in the hands of Izayah Chartrand-Penera, who drove to the basket and scored. He was fouled on the play and converted the free throw with 37.1 seconds left.
Chartrand-Penera was again fouled with seven seconds remaining but missed both free throws. The Cougars rebounded and called timeout with 4.0 on the clock. They got a 3-point attempt off, but it wasn’t close and Keaau (6-7) will miss the playoffs after winning two play-in games last year against Hilo and Kealakehe to reach the postseason.
Chartrand-Penera scored 13 points, including 4 of 10 free throws, Kaupena Yasso had 12 points, and Koby Tabuyo-Kahele added eight points for Kamehameha, which shot 50 percent (14 of 28) from the field, including 4 of 13 from 3-point range.
“Talk about energy and effort. It was kind of like a roller-coaster. Before the game, we talked about winning the 50-50 balls,” Kamehameha coach Mea Wong said. “Izayah is our energy guy, but he’s been sick but we made some key stops and hit enough free throws. We missed some but made enough.”
Ace Bernal scored 11 points, Isaiah Akana and Branden Pagala had 10 points each, and Gabe Bergin had nine points, knocking down three 3-pointers in the third quarter, for Keaau, which shot 51 percent (18 of 35), including 6 of 13 from long distance.
The Cougars played without senior Patrick Mears, who was under the weather. He’s also the best long-range shooter and rim attacker. The team loses him and fellow starters Bernal, Pagala, and Akana, and key backups Bergen and Kayden Souza.
The Cougars finished with 11 turnovers while the Warriors had 14 giveaways. Kamehameha made 13 of 22 free throws while Keaau sank 2 of 2 free throws. In the fourth quarter, the Warriors made 7 of 14 free throws. The Cougars didn’t go the line once.
In the first quarter, Kamehameha hit three 3-pointers, and Chartrand-Penera sank a long jump shot at the buzzer for a 16-11 lead. Pagala scored eight points and Akana drained a 3-pointer to keep Keaau close.
The Warriors worked the ball inside to Austin Kaleo, who muscled his way for six points for a 27-17 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Keaau outscored Kamehameha 15-5. Bergen had his three long balls, and Bernal scored two layups during a 12-0 run, and the teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 32.
It was tied five times in the fourth period, the last at 44-44 with 12 seconds to go. The next possession was Keaau’s last turnover, the one where one Cougar went one way and the ball went right into Kamehameha’s hands.
Keaau 11 6 15 12 — 44
Kamehameha 16 11 5 15 — 47