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(Sat) February 25, 2012

HHSAA Division II BOYS BASKETBALL: Kalaheo defeats McKinley, 57-42

Photo credit: Scoring Live
By Wes Nakama, HHSAA

Josh Ko scored 16 points and Nainoa Frank added 13 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two steals to help Kalaheo defeat McKinley, 57-42, for the Hawaiian Airlines/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II Boys Basketball State Championship.

A Blaisdell Arena crowd of about 1,200 watched the Mustangs finish the regular and postseason at 18-2. The Tigers ended up 13-7.

Kalaheo jumped out to a 7-0 start in the first four minutes before McKinley responded with a 12-2 run capped by Alex Ironside’s two free throws to finish the period. The Tigers led, 15-11, after a 3-pointer by Ironside 40 seconds into the second quarter, but Ko scored on a layup at the 7-minute mark to ignite a 10-3 surge that put the Mustangs ahead, 21-18, at halftime.

Kalaheo then began the second half with an 8-2 run to make it 29-20, and after Ironside sank a free throw to cut the lead to 31-26 midway through the third period, Ko drained a 3-pointer to finish a 7-3 run to make it 38-29 entering the fourth.

McKinley could not close the margin in the final eight minutes, as the Mustangs sealed their first Division II state crown.

Photo credit: Scoring Live
Derick Morgan added 11 points and four assists for Kalaheo, which finished 17 of 31 (54.8 percent) from the field, including 10 of 17 (58.8 pct.) in the second half, and converted 21 of 28 free throw attempts (75 pct.).

Ironside led the Tigers with 15 points, including 9 of 12 shooting from the free throw line.

With Kalaheo's victory, Pete Smith and Alika Smith became the first father and son to coach boys basketball state championship teams. Pete Smith coached Kalaheo to Division I state titles in 1985, 1995 and 2001.

Also, this is Alika Smith’s first state championship after several memorable attempts. He was a freshman sixth-man on Kalaheo's state runner-up team in 1991, was an All-State sophomore guard when the Mustangs lost a double-overtime heartbreaker to Hilo in 1992, then lost another semifinal heartbreaker to Kamehameha as a senior in 1994.

Alika Smith finally made it to another state title game in his last opportunity—as a starting pitcher in the 1994 baseball state final vs. Castle, but again lost another heartbreaker as the Knights came from behind to win, 5-4.