Lahainaluna wins another thriller
By Fred Guzman
This is getting to be a habit. Make that a scary, but fulfilling habit.
For the second time in as many games, the Lahainaluna boy’s basketball team escaped with a close victory last night, posting a 72-66 road win over stubborn Maui High. Last week, the Lunas edged Baldwin 40-39.
The Lunas improved their MIL Division-I leading record to 6-1, taking a 1.5-game lead over idle Baldwin behind 19 points from Lukas Williams, a huge three-pointer at the end of regulation by TJ Rickard and some clutch free-throw shooting by Sam Kiek.
BJ Vega had 22 points and Christopher Tabieros added 14 for the host Sabers, who lost by 30 in an earlier game in Lahaina.
In the girls’ game, the second-ranked Lunas romped to a 60-19 win behind Milika Taufa’s 22 points. The Kamehameha boys beat King Kekaulike 58-34 while Na Alii girls defeated the Warriors 63-33.
In soccer, the Baldwin boys pulled out a 1-0 win over Kamehameha on a second-half goal by Mattias Thompson to take a 2-point lead in the overall and D-I races.
If either D-I Kekaulike or D-II champ Seabury win in their 2 p.m. regular-season showdown Saturday in Olinda, the survivors takes the overall crown.
A tie gives the Bears both the D-I and overall titles.
The Baldwin girls, who had already clinched the D-I crown, rallied from a 2-0 halftime deficit for a 3-2 win over the Warriors and closed out their season with a 13-0-1 record.
PRO BOWL: Since 1979, the Pro Bowl had been the annual marquee sporting event in Hawaii. But this year, the event will be staged at a different time and at a different place. As a result, Sunday’s Pro Bowl has been turned into an all-star game lacking many of the sport’s biggest stars.
Instead of its long-time spot the Sunday after the Super Bowl, the NFL decided to take a different approach this year. The game will be played this week in Miami instead of next week at Aloha Stadium.
That means 14 players from Super Bowl qualifiers Indianapolis and New Orleans will not be taking part. Add to that the usual number of athletes who have opted out for physical and other reasons, and we are left with a shell of a game. At last count, 18 players who were not originally named to the Pro Bowl rosters will be on the field this Sunday in Miami.
Take the marquee position of quarterback. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are playing in the Super Bowl, so are unavailable. Brett Farve, beaten and battered in the NFC championship game, has pulled out. Philip Rivers and Tom Brady will not play because of injuries. So, we are left with a decidedly less impressive cast of quarterbacks. And you can go right down the list, position-by-position.
All things considered, it might be more accurate to describe the upcoming game as the Replacement Bowl.