Coach Bruce Ferreira did his due diligence ahead of Hilo High’s first state tournament boys basketball game in seven seasons, watching whatever video he could get his hands on to scout Iolani.
All that preparation quickly went out the window Monday under a rain of Raiders’ 3-pointers.
Frank Felix set the tone by nailing three shots from long range before the crowd had settled in at the Vikings’ gym, and Iolani rarely let up, making 14 3-pointers and racing to a 72-45 victory to advance to the HHSAA Division I quarterfinals.
“In the past, Iolani has been more of a slow-down pace team, working it to their bigs,” Ferreira said. “But they’re not that big this year.
“Watching a couple of games, they didn’t shoot that well.”
On a quick business trip to the Big Island, the ILH runner-up Raiders (10-7) were more proficient from outside the arch (14 of 30) than they were from inside of it, finishing at 45.8 percent overall from the field.
Frank led all scorers with 17 points, making four of his five 3s in the first quarter, and Kawika Lee (14 points), Sam Wheeler (10), Noah Bumanglag (six points, six assists) and Lanakila Pei (six points) each made two apiece.
“They shot lights out,” Ferreira said. “A lot of the kids that hit them, I didn’t see that when I watched (video). They really stepped up.”
Freshman Rayson Padilla was the only Viking to reach double figures with 12 points, juniors Mason Galima and Guyson Ogata each tallied eight and freshman Kasen Mehau came off the bench to add seven. Hilo (8-7) shot just 37.8 percent from the floor and couldn’t keep up with 4-of-18 shooting on 3-pointers, nor a 37-27 rebounding disadvantage.
Hilo is slated to lose just one starter from Monday’s contest, senior Jonah Tominaga (four points, five rebounds), and the Viks are set to return six players who logged at least 10 minutes, including junior Kaukahi Alameda, who struggled with his shot in contributing four points, four rebounds and three steals.
“I think we really set a foundation that we can build on,” Ferreira said. “We should have a very competitive team in the BIIF if we can continue this.”
This tournament has been unkind to the league as a whole in recent times.
The Vikings were playing in the state tournament for the first time since 2012, when they won a first-round game before losing in the quarterfinals. Kamehameha-Hawaii reached the state semifinals that season, but since then only two BIIF Division I teams, Konawaena, in 2013 and ‘17, have been able to advance in the winner’s bracket.
BIIF champion and No. 4 seed Waiakea (13-1) will try to break through against Kailua at 5 p.m. Thursday in a quarterfinal contest at McKinley High in Honolulu. The Surfriders (11-4), the OIA runner-up, walloped league rival Kalaheo 68-40 in their first round game Monday.
Iolani faces OIA champ Moanalua, the second seed, at 7 p.m. Thursday at Na Menehune’s gym.
Felix came out scorching, hitting his third 3-pointer just 1:41 into the game, and Wheeler’s 3 on Iolani’s next possession made it 12-3.
Hilo actually survived the initial onslaught, pulling to within 20-18 on Mehau’s jumper near the midway point of the second quarter, but the Raiders closed the half on a 14-2 run that was punctuated by 3-pointers from Bumanglag and Lee.
“I think we didn’t take care of the ball and started turning it over,” Ferreira said “They started to get easy baskets.”
To his point, Hilo finished with a measly four assists and 16 turnovers.