Iolani Classic Championship: Oak Hill Tops Montverde 58-44

Championship Game: Oak Hill Warriors 58 – Montverde Eagles 44

Photo by Brien Ing, Courtesy of Scoring Live

The championship game was supposed to be a high-powered matchup between two explosive offensive teams; instead, the first half was a brutal defensive battle. Oak Hill led 8-5 after the first quarter and 19-13 after the first half.

Turnovers and missed shots plagued both teams. “Our offense was scattered and totally out of sync,” Oak Hill head coach Steve Smith said.

The Warriors sorely missed guard Keith Hornsby, who sprained his right ankle in the last game versus Dr. Phillips when a diving player landed on his foot. “Our offense didn’t flow as well without him. We really needed another guard to take the pressure off Quinn,” Smith said.

Point guard Quinn Cook had a slow first half because Montverde double-teamed him, which made it difficult for Cook to create shots or pass with open lanes. Hornsby’s absence took away a good ball handler from Oak Hill.

Photo by Brien Ing, Courtesy of Scoring Live

The Eagles wanted to slow the game down in order to combat the Warriors’ speed, something that Smith was content to do. He said, “I was okay with a half-court game because I thought that we could score more points than they did. They were missing a lot of shots, and our defense was playing really well.”

Pleased with how his team was performing defensively, Smith stuck with the man-to-man defense throughout the game. “Half of our practices are about defense, so it’s definitely a major point of focus,” he said.

In the second half, however, the Warriors’ offense clicked. Cook came alive and took over the game; he shouldered the scoring load with 22 points, including three 3-pointers (Oak Hill made four 3′s total).

Montverde matched up well with the Warriors in terms of size and athleticism, but the Eagles continually missed layups, open jumpers, and free throws. They finished 11/24 (46%) from the line, which caused head coach Kevin Sutton to bury his face in his hands multiple times.

Photo by Brien Ing, Courtesy of Scoring Live

The Eagles’ explosive sophomore point guard, Kasey Hill, was thoroughly outplayed by Cook. Hill missed several dunks, and only went 1/6 from the free-throw line. Harvard-bound forward Steve Missi led Montverde in scoring with 16 points.

The 2010 Iolani Classic was a memorable one for Smith. Not only did he capture the tournament championship with an undefeated team, he reached a personal milestone by capturing his 800th career victory against host Iolani.

Because of the jet lag, Smith elected not to play in a post-Christmas tournament. “We’re usually worn out when we’re back from Hawaii, and it usually takes about a week to get our bearings,” he said.

The No. 1-ranked team won’t play another game until January 12 against Christian Faith Academy at home. At this point, Oak Hill controls its own destiny in its pursuit of another national championship.

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Third Place Game: Mount Vernon Knights 69 – Dr. Phillips Panthers 57

This was the Jabarie Hinds show. Hinds came out to score seven of Mount Vernon’s first nine points, and only slowed down when he picked up his second personal foul in the middle of the second quarter. By halftime, Hinds already had 12 points.

In the second half, Hinds continued his electrifying play. In one fourth quarter sequence, Hinds came down the court, pulled up for a beautiful jumper at the free-throw line, and then blocked a shot at the other end. He finished with 30 points, including four 3-pointers.

Although the Knights trailed the Panthers 31-28 at halftime, the quicker, more athletic team eventually asserted its will. DePaul commit Shane Larkin struggled for the second game in a row against tough competition; he contributed nine points.

Still, Larkin had little offensive help around him. Dr. Phillips is built around Larkin, so if Larkin can’t get going, his team doesn’t have enough scoring firepower around him to compensate for an off-night. Thus, Mount Vernon came away with a victory in the end to capture third place.

Fifth Place Game: Lexington Catholic Knights 66 – Wheeler Wildcats 57

Lexington Catholic has relied on their vaunted full-court press throughout the tournament. The press gave Montverde issues, and kept the Knights in the game against the Eagles. Wheeler, however, had an effective press-breaker ready. What they weren’t prepared for was Taylor Martin.

Martin single-handedly took control of the game midway through the fourth quarter. With the Wildcats leading 53-52, Martin went on a tear with 10 answered points, a rebound, and a block in a span of 2:36. Suddenly, the Knights were leading 62-53. Martin and 3-point specialist Scott Schuette contributed 24 and 18 points, respectively.

The Wildcats were more athletic, but the Knights were the most disciplined and fundamentally sound team in the tournament. In the end, the team that made less mistakes and played more cohesively won.

Seventh Place Game: Iolani Raiders 48 – Mason County Royals 45

Hawaii’s Kaimuki took Mason County to the wire in the Royals’ first game. Iolani, the 2010 Hawaii state champions, planned to go one step further than Kaimuki.

After trailing for the entire first half, the Raiders’ Reid Saito and Adam Ching made back-to-back 3-pointers with 1:31 left in the half to give Iolani its first lead at 24-23. The Raiders led 26-25 at halftime.

The two teams traded leads throughout the second half. Iolani had possession with under a minute left and the game tied at 45. The Raiders held for the last shot, but head coach Dean Shimamoto was unhappy with the ball movement so he called timeout.

After coming out of the timeout with a set play, Jourdan Simmonds buried an open 3-pointer in the corner with three seconds left to break the tie. The shot turned out to be the game-winner as Iolani narrowly defeated Mason County.

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