As Pahoa coach Ryan Reyes knows, you can’t teach height, and it always helps on the basketball court, so does ball-sharing.
The Daggers relied on Barreon Holland’s 6-foot-4 frame to turn back Keaau 37-34 in a BIIF boys basketball game on Friday night at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium.
Holland scored on a short jump shot to push the Daggers ahead 33-32 with 6:10 remaining, their first lead since 4-2 in the first quarter.
Both teams made it interesting down the stretch with turnovers. The Daggers had seven in the fourth quarter while the Cougars had five.
With 8.5 seconds remaining, Keaau forced a turnover and called timeout with the score 37-34, with Pahoa ahead. The Cougars attempted a 3-pointer at the buzzer but the ball fell short.
Holland scored just two points while Jayden Broad-Melander had 12 on 5 of 10 shooting, and Keanu Muck scored 10 points for the Division II Daggers (2-1), who shot 47 percent from the field, including 1 of 7 from 3-point range.
Richardo Blass scored 11 points, and Emanuel Parks and Seth Gate had eight points each for the Division I Cougars (1-2), who buried 27 percent from the floor, including 3 of 13 from long range.
Pahoa opened the third quarter on a 10-0 sprint and height helped. Holland tipped a missed shot to 6-1 Damon Romero, who easily scored. Pana Taliauli hit pair of free throws and scored a basset on a pass from Holland.
Broad-Melander scored on a putback and scored again to cut Keaau’s lead to 27-26 with under five minutes remaining.
“I’m glad we came to play in the second half,” Reyes said. “Number 10 (John Gunny Ramirez) played really hard for them. I told my team all week about him. They must have thought I was joking. I like how he plays hard.”
Holland, who is nursing a knee injury, played 25 minutes and grabbed nine rebounds and had six blocks and two assists.
Romero, Pahoa’s other big, finished with eight points on 3 of 7 shooting.
In the second half, Keaau closed with a 9-0 run to grab a 27-16 lead at the break. Gates opened with a 3-pointer and Blass finished with a pair of free throws on a technical foul.
Before that, Romero scored on consecutive layups and hit a free throw for a three-point play. And Broad-Melander added a third straight layup to cut Keaau’s lead to 18-16.
The Cougars were able to neutralize Pahoa’s heights with patience, working the ball for open looks and firing 3-pointers, but only in the first half.
Parks hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter for the Cougars, who went 2 of 10 from beyond the arc in the first half. The Daggers were 0 for 4 from 3-point range.
In the something you don’t see every day department, Blass was fouled twice on 3-point attempts. He made 4 of 6 free throws and finished with eight points in the first half.
Holland went scoreless in the first half while Romero had five points in the first half.
“Holland is raw and rough around the edges,” Reyes said. “He can become a really good player for us.”