Punahou didn’t go into Friday night just to take part in the HHSAA Division I Boys Basketball State Championship game - the Buffanblu came to take over.
And take over they did, with a resounding 64-37 victory over defending champions, the Kahuku Red Raiders. After finishing in second place two years in a row, Punahou’s third-consecutive finals berth was the charm as its defense clamped down, limiting Kahuku to just five points in the first quarter and 17 points for the first half.
"It was just a great performance, from start to finish - they were really focused," said Punahou head coach Darren Matsuda. "We've been on the other side the last two years so I knew we wanted to get it. I told them (my team) we were gonna get it today. I told them, 'Third time's the charm. We're gonna get it today.'"
The game was never in doubt for Punahou as the team was able to get consisted scoring from its starting five and bench, with six players scoring at least seven points on the night.
"It was a great performance by the kids," Matsuda said. "They just came in really focused executed the gameplan to perfection and it was a joy to see; everyone sharing the ball, everyone playing together."
For Kahuku, no player besides Tolu Smith was able to score more than seven points. Smith was hassled all-night long by Punahou’s suffocating defense, although he was still able to score 20 points while hauling in 14 boards and five blocks.
"I think we just locked down defensively. We played together like we usually do," Matsuda said. "Every possession, we took seriously. Every possession was valued."
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