UH-Hilo roundup: Vulcans lose grip on sixth with costly loss

This one could leave a mark.

UH-Hilo men’s basketball team was badly outrebounded and ultimately outplayed by Academy of Art on Friday night, losing 68-63 at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium to fall a half-game behind the Urban Knights in the race for the sixth and final spot in the Pacific West Conference tournament.

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The Vulcans (9-10, 7-8) could have solidified their hold on the sixth spot, but instead they’ll look for answers with little margin for error heading into their home game against Dominican on Sunday night.

James Griffin scored 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting for UHH, but Academy of Art (8-13, 8-8) commanded a 44-24 advantage on the boards.

“You aren’t ever going to win a game with those kinds of rebound totals,” Vuls coach GE Coleman said in a release. “We have to find a way to beat the teams behind us and win a few of those ahead of us in the standings. That just sets up an even bigger game on Sunday night against Dominican.”

Stefan Milivojevic scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half, including a 3-pointer that gave the Knights the lead for good, 41-38 with 14:36 remaining.

In the women’s game, UHH surpassed 80 points for the first time this season and earned its biggest margin of victory this year, routing the Urban Knights 84-51.

Allie Navarette scored a career-high 32 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Vuls (7-12, 4-11), who have won two in a row. Alyssa Movchan added 14 points.

Lily Perkins led the Urban Knights (3-16, 2-14) with 25 points.

At Wong Stadium, UHH split its season-opening doubleheader against Hawaii Pacific, winning 10-3 before losing 11-3.

• The UH-Hilo softball team’s bats came alive in a pair of wins, 19-0 over Chadron (Neb.) State and 8-4 over Metro State (Colo.), at the Dixie State Classic in Utah.

In the 19-0 five-inning TKO win over the Eagles, Billi Derleth tossed a five-hitter, walked one and struck out three and was backed by homers from Kimberly Olivas, Kiarra Lincoln, Rayla Jacobs-Kea, and Skylar Thomas.

Lincoln batted 3 for 3 with four RBIs, Olivas, Markie Okamoto, Thomas, and Jaycie Bruno had two hits apiece. Olivas, Jacobs-Rea, Okamoto, and Thomas each had two RBIs.

In the second game, Jacobs-Kea hit a three-run double in the sixth inning to power the Vulcans over the Roadrunners, 8-4. She batted 2 for 4 with three RBIs.

Liilii Vevesi and Danielle Antolin each went 3 for 3, and Okamoto had two RBIs against Metro State.

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Leah Gonzales picked up the win with two scoreless innings in relief.

The Vulcans (4-3) close the tourney on Saturday against Colorado Mesa, the defending RMAC champion.

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