A salute to the state basketball finalists

A salute to the state basketball finalists

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On Friday, we told you that you might want to check out the arch rival state final between Iolani and Punahou. Well, it turned out that the four Div. I and II title games proved to make the 2008 state basketball finals one of the best in recent history.

In the Div. II Girls final between Campbell and McKinley, the Lady Sabers gave up a 13-point lead before clawing their way back to a 57-55 victory with a buzzer-beater in overtime.

That set the stage for the all-ILH Div. I championship between Iolani and Punahou.

Despite the fact that Iolani’s leading scorer and rebounder Jamie Smith was besieged by foul trouble most of the game, the Raiders led 33-24 midway through the 3rd quarter. That was until Iolani went freezing cold, shooting 0-for-8 in the final period, and opened the door for Punahou’s comeback. The Kuehu sisters, who both missed all of last season with knee injuries, combined for 27 points and 23 rebounds en route to a 46-41 win and Punahou’s third state title in four years.

In the Boys final last night, Farrington completed one of the wildest comebacks in state tournament history against Aiea. Christian Hernandez hit an unbelievable last-second 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into OT. In the extra period, there were nine lead changes and seven ties. Jordan Ibana completed a lay-up with 12 seconds left to seal the Governors 70-68 win – their first state title since 1960. If you have the chance to catch the replay on OC-16, it is well worth the two hours.

Despite the late start, Punahou managed to avenge their bitter loss to Kaimuki in last year’s final. Kamehameha-Hawai`i gave the Buffanblu a run for their money all game long with physical play on the boards but mental mistakes at the end of the game proved to be the difference. Still, the Warriors wound up with one final 3-point chance to tie the game but it rimmed out as time expired and Punahou sealed a 41-38 victory.

Normally we try to limit this blog posting to AJA or Japan-centric news, but if you follow sports then you know that there are many elements that occur in practice and off the court that contribute to a championship team. Reaching the championship game is a team effort that goes beyond the box scores and our hat goes off to everyone that was involved in all four of these memorable games.

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