BIIF basketball: Konawaena opens season on a winning note

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KEALAKEKUA — Led by double-digit efforts from Austin Ewing, Hauoli Akau and Austin Aukai, Konawaena opened the BIIF regular season with a dominating 54-18 victory at home against St. Joseph on Wednesday night.

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KEALAKEKUA — Led by double-digit efforts from Austin Ewing, Hauoli Akau and Austin Aukai, Konawaena opened the BIIF regular season with a dominating 54-18 victory at home against St. Joseph on Wednesday night.

Aukai led Konawaena in scoring with 14 points. Akau followed with 13 and Ewing added 12 points.

“This was a good first game for us,” said Konawaena head coach Donny Awa. “St. Joseph doesn’t have the strongest team but we have had our struggles with them the last three or four years. I liked that we continued to play well even when we got up, because we have a history of playing sloppy with the lead.”

The Cardinals made only two shots from the field in the first half, the first of which went for the first score of the game when Keegan Scanlan rolled in a layup for a 2-0 lead. That would the team’s only lead.

The Wildcats scored 10 straight points off four layups and a pair of free throws, all by either Ewing or Aukai, forcing St. Joseph to call a timeout. Akau added a layup after the break before the Cardinals were finally able to stop the run at 12 thanks to a Konawaena foul. Manato Fukuda made 1-of-2 from the line. Aukai added a layup off a put-back to end the opening quarter with the Wildcats up 14-3.

The second quarter was more of the same, with Konawaena extending its lead to 24-3. Ewing led the charge with four points, including a 3-point play after getting fouled on a layup.

On offense, the Wildcats struggled to find consistent passing lanes early in the game on the fast break. The bad passes often resulted in turnovers, but the defense was quick to get the ball back.

Fouls were also an issue. Early in the second quarter, both teams were already in the bonus. St. Joseph reached the bonus in the first eight minutes, and the subsequent foul shots resulted in most of the team’s offense. By halftime, the Konawaena lead stood at 32-8.

The third quarter, surprisingly, produced the first jump shot and 3-pointer by either team. Up until this point, all scores had come by either a layup or from the free throw line.

The Wildcats came out of the break red hot, scoring nine straight for a 33 point lead. Ewing rolled in a layup and Akau connected on a shot from long range. Aukai then added a pair of jumpers to put Konawaena up 41-8.

St. Joseph’s Dylan Costales answered back with four points off a layup and a short jump shot, and the Cardinals managed to double their first half score. But as the third quarter came to and end, the Wildcats still maintained a commanding 49-16 advantage.

With a running clock, Konawaena reached the 50 point mark two minutes into the fourth quarter on the first of two shots at the line by Kamakana Ching. The Wildcat starters were eventually cleared from the floor about midway through the final, low scoring, period.

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Kona 14 18 17 5 —54

St. Joseph 3 5 8 2 —18