BIIF Basketball: Hilo takes down Konawaena 41-39, earns spot in BIIF D-I Championship

  • Hilo’s Rayson Padilla takes a breath before shooting a free throw Friday night at Konawaena. Padilla led all scorers with 14 points. (Tom Linder/West Hawaii Today)

  • Konawaena and Hilo talk during the final timout in Friday’s BIIF D-I Semifinal in Konawaena. The Vikings defeated the Wildcats 41-39 to advance to Saturday’s BIIF D-I Championship. (Tom Linder/West Hawaii Today)

KEALAKEKUA – With a spot in the BIIF D-I Championship on the line, Hilo had to dig deep to get one final stop.

Trailing by two points, the host Wildcats had called their last timeout with 1.5 seconds remaining on the clock; Konawaena set up their inbounds play from beneath their own hoop, 84 feet away from a potential game-tying or game-winning basket.

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“When Konawaena called their last timeout, we decided to put our tallest, most energetic player on the ball, just to make it hard for them to inbound it,” said Hilo head coach Ben Pana.

The Vikings’ strategy worked; they stole the ball on the inbounds pass, and the final buzzer rang out to give Hilo a 41-39 victory, lifting them to the title game.

What began as a defensive battle turned into a back-and-forth fight as the game progressed. The teams combined to score as many points in the fourth quarter – 29 – as they did in the entire first half of play.

In the fourth quarter alone, there were five lead changes and two ties, the latest of which came on Taven Hiraishi’s basket with 53 seconds remaining, pulling Konawaena even with Hilo at 39. Hilo’s Peyton Pana answered, sinking what turned out to be the game-winner on the next possession.

“We just were able to sustain punches; it was a back and forth game,” said Ben Pana. “I give Kona credit; they always have a tough program. We just have to dig a little bit extra down deep to beat those guys.”

The Vikings advance to Saturday’s BIIF D-I Championship; tip time at Hilo Civic is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Hilo 7 6 12 16 – 41

Konawaena 6 10 10 13 – 39

Scoring

Hilo: Padilla 14 points, Pana 10, DePeralta-Huihui 6, Solmerin 5, Une 5, Villena 2

Konawaena: Ogata 10 points, Makanui 8, Von Kaenel 7, Molina 4, Prettyman 4, Kainoa Salvador 2, Lavika 2, Hiraishi 2

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