The Buffanblu of Punahou are back in the boys basketball state championship game for the 20th time, but their path to get there was far from routine. Punahou needed overtime to get by Leilehua in the opening game of the tournament, a second half comeback to outlast #3 Lahainaluna in the quarterfinals and overtime once again Friday night against Kahuku.
Punahou took a seven point lead on a Chris Kobayashi layup with 3:26 remaining, only to have Kahuku go on a 7-0 run to tie the game with 26 seconds left on a Bradlee Anae jumper, two of his 22 points to go along with 21 rebounds. Neither team was able to get a shot off in the final seconds and it went to overtime.
In the extra session, Punahou led by three with less than 30 seconds to play before Keanu Akina hit a deep three to knot the game up at 50. On the ensuing possession, Cole Arceneaux missed a layup, but 'Akahi Troske, who only had two points in the game after scoring 18 in the quarterfinals, followed with a bucket to put the Buffanblu up 52-50. Hirkley Latu ran the floor, but wasn't able to get a shot off before time ran out on the game and the Red Raiders season.
Punahou will face #1 'Iolani in Saturday's championship game at the Stan Sheriff Center. Tip-off set for 7pm.
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