Editor’s note: While the sports world is shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, West Hawaii Today will look back every Tuesday at memorable sports moments on the Big Island.
In bold font, the headline was streaked across the top of the West Hawaii Today sports section, above a photo of a celebratory Kealakehe Waveriders team:
The exclamation point, so often excluded from newspaper writing, was worth it just this once. On Friday, Feb. 20, 2004, the Kealakehe boys basketball team had their dreams come true when the Waveriders defeated the Waiakea Warriors 68-58 in the BIIF championship game. The Waveriders were the first team from a Kona-area school to claim the title.
“For Kealakehe senior Kyle Teves, Friday’s game was a decade in the making,” West Hawaii Today’s Ron Eland wrote in a Sunday, Feb. 22, 2004, article.
“‘We’ve been dreaming about this since we started playing together when we were 7 or 8,’ said Teves. ‘It’s a great feeling bringing the title back to the west side of the island.’”
The Waveriders held onto the lead from early in the first quarter until the final buzzer.
“The Waveriders fell behind early 5-4 on 3-pointer by the Warriors’ Tyler Nishimura. Kealakehe quickly regained the lead on a lay-up by Cody Henriques and never trailed from that point on. In fact, they ended the quarter on a 11-0 run behind a trio of baskets from Teves and five points from Henriques,’ Eland wrote.”
Waiakea had 14 turnovers in the first half, which allowed the Waveriders to go up by as many as 16 points in the second quarter.
“‘Kealakehe is a great team and they deserved to win tonight,’ Waiakea coach Jay Bartholomew said after the game.”
Teves and teammate Jared Ursua both scored 17 points for the Waveriders in their quest for Kealakehe’s first — and to this day, only — BIIF boys basketball crown. The victory also ensured Kealakehe would end league play undefeated, 15-0.
Konawaena would follow in Kealakehe’s footsteps the next year, winning the BIIF boys basketball title for the first time in the Wildcats’ history.
The win also earned the Waveriders a No. 1 seed in that year’s state championship tournament on Oahu. Kealakehe lost in overtime to Kamehameha-Kapalama, 59-55, the following Saturday on Oahu, after defeating Kaimuki 56-39 in their first state tournament matchup that Friday.
Waveriders head coach Brian Boshard wasn’t bothered by the team’s early exit.
“‘The boys played their hearts out tonight — they played like champions,’ he said.”
Teves and Easton Takata scored 13 points apiece in the Waveriders’ season-ending game.
“‘Tonight was a good game. Tonight was their best effort ever,’ Boshard said.”