Kohala’s defensive pressure countered McKinley’s height in the HHSAA Division II basketball semifinals on Thursday on Oahu.
The Cowboys, who pitched a third-quarter shutout, defeated the Tigers 45-27 to advance to their first state championship game since 2007.
Kohala plays Roosevelt for its first state championship at 5 p.m. Friday at the Stan Sheriff Center. The game will be televised on OC16.
O’Shen Cazimero scored 16 points and dished six assists, and Molonai Emeliano added 10 points, and his cousin Moses Emeliano had six points and 10 rebounds for the Cowboys (13-2), who shot just 31 percent, including only 2 of 22 from beyond the arc.
Frank Camacho scored 10 points to lead the Tigers (8-8), who shot 28 percent, including 2 of 17 from 3-point range.
One key stat that stood out for Kohala was points off turnovers. The Cowboys outscored the Tigers 22-5 in that department.
“We just double teamed and pressured the ball the whole game,” Kapeliela said. “We clogged the middle, and had a lot of weakside help.”
When the Cowboys got a rebound, they were ready to run.
“We were pushing our bigs up on fast-breaks,” he said.
Most important, the Cowboys were able to hold down Camacho, who scored 26 points in McKinkey’s quarterfinal win against Hanalani.
Camacho shot just 4 of 14 and was held to just three rebounds.
In the second and third quarters, Kohala outscored McKinley 13-3 and took a 27-15 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
In the other semifinal, Roosevelt outlasted Hawaii Prep 41-37 at Kaimuki High’s gym.
KJ Walker scored 13 points on 4 of 14 shooting, and Javan Perez added nine points on 4 of 15 shooting, and Tre Walker had eight points for Ka Makani (14-2), which shot 27 percent from the field, including 5 of 17 from 3-point range.
Drake Watanabe scored 13 points on 5 of 14 shooting, and Kody Seguancia added nine points for the Rough Riders (10-5), who shot 37 percent from the floor, including 4 of 13 from 3-point range.
Roosevelt outscored HPA 15-11 in the fourth quarter.
Moanalua 73, Kamehameha 61: Geremy Robinson scored 29 points on 12 of 18 shooting, and DiAreris McRaven added 12 points to lead Na Menehune (14-3) in a consolation game.
Koby Tabuyo-Kahele scored 17 points, Kaupena Yasso added 14 points, and Darius Olloway had 11 points for the Warriors (10-6).