Oakwood beats Saint Louis to claim Punahou Invitational title

Dec. 31—Ben Eisendrath scored 14 points as Oakwood (Calif.) escaped with a 51-50 win over Saint Louis to capture the Punahou Invitational championship on Friday night at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.

Ben Eisendrath scored 14 points as Oakwood (Calif.) escaped with a 51-50 win over Saint Louis to capture the Punahou Invitational championship on Friday night at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.

"It was a good win. It was a super fun trip. I missed those free throws, so I'm happy we won, " said Eisendrath, a 6-foot-2 point guard who hopes to play in the Ivy League next season. "It was great to see TJ (Boyd ) and Oliver (Ford ) get back in the flow of things."

The Owls went ahead 51-50 on a follow shot by Hayden Suslow on a fast break after a Crusaders turnover with 3 :08 to play.

Saint Louis missed a layup and turned the ball over again—the young Crusaders had 18 giveaways in the game—and Oakwood had the ball with one minute left. The Crusaders fouled Eisendrath with 18.2 seconds left, but the normally reliable shooter missed the front of a 1-and-1. The Crusaders called time out at midcourt with 12 ticks left.

Pupu Sepulona took the inbounds pass and immediately drove to the bucket, drawing a foul with 6.8 seconds left. The 6-3 sophomore was short on his first try and long on the second, and Eisendrath rebounded.

Eisendrath shot another 1-and-1 with 5.6 seconds remaining, but he missed again. Officials mistakenly stopped action with 4.2 seconds left, thinking it was a double bonus, but Saint Louis had just eight fouls.

From the back line, the Crusaders inbounded to Jordan Nunuha on the left sideline near midcourt. Nunuha tried to pass through a double team to Sepulona, but Boyd deflected the pass and time expired.

Sepulona finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Posiulai added nine points. The Crusaders shot 9-for-16 from the foul line. Sepulona, who injured an ankle on Thursday, averaged 22.5 points per game in the tourney.

"They played Montverde and he scored 30 or something. He's good, " Eisendrath said.

The Crusaders were disappointed and the mood was solemn in defeat, but their sophomore-heavy lineup was stunning through nonconference play.

"We're going through a tough time. I made a lot of mistakes. I could've done better, could've made those two free throws to win the game, " Sepulona said. "We just have to move forward from this game and forget about. Have a short-term memory."

Oliver Ford added 11 points for the Owls (8-6 ), and Boyd, who hit the game-winning 3 in Thursday's semifinals, finished with nine points.

Peyton Slaughter, playing on a sore leg after getting injured on Thursday, chipped in 10 points.

Saint Louis (14-3 ), ranked No. 4 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10, opens ILH play on Tuesday at Mid-Pacific.

Running their patient offense, the Crusaders opened a 14-5 lead in the first quarter. The Owls adjusted in the second quarter, and though Sepulona had 10 first-half points, Oakwood chipped into the lead and the visitors from North Hollywood were within 28-27 going into halftime.

Momentum was with the Owls even though their usual scoring leader, Eisendrath had just two points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field.

The talented point guard came into the title game averaging 18.7 points per game in the tournament.

The lead changed hands seven times in the second half.

At the Damien Tournament in California, Maryknoll won the consolation title. The Spartans lost to Diamond Bar, 47-41, on Monday, then beat San Diego and Trivium Prep (Ariz.) on Wednesday. Maryknoll defeated Ponderosa on Friday, 47-38.

Maryknoll (17-2 ), ranked No. 1 in the Star-Advertiser Boys Basketball Top 10, will visit Punahou on Tuesday in the ILH regular-season opener for both teams.

No. 8 Kamehameha 70, Hawaii Baptist 34 Kaina Watson scored 12 points and Shyne Salvador added 10 as the Warriors (11-9 ) pulled away in the second quarter.

Jordon Qin, Eli Shibuya and Matthew Shigetani scored six points each for HBA (4-9 ).

Mid-Pacific 47, Waiakea 45 Jarek Yee scored 10 points, and Darius Chizer and Cole Kodama chipped in eight points each for the Owls (9-11 ). MPI will open ILH regular-season play on Tuesday against Saint Louis.

Nicholas-Ryder Cabreros led the Warriors with 13 points. Kaimalu Halemau and Trystin Stevens added 10 points apiece. Waiakea (3-6 ) suited up seven players, while another seven—including three starters—missed the four-day tournament due to injuries, trips and academic issues. The Warriors are 3-1 in BIIF play and will host Kamehameha-Hawaii on Jan. 7.

Punahou 57, Cathedral Catholic (Calif.) 45 Dillon Kellner scored 13 points, Ayndra Uperesa-Thomas tallied 12 and Tucker Lam had 10 as the Buffanblu outraced the visitors from San Diego. Kekai Burnett added eight points and provided power in the paint.

Shea Fitzgerald led Cathedral Catholic with 16 points. Tre Lucia added 12.

Saint Louis I-AA 57, Punahou I-AA 56, 2 OT Blaize Arakawa hit a 3-pointer to give the Crusaders (2-4 ) the win in two overtimes. Punahou I-AA led for most of regulation, but Saint Louis rallied to tie it at 52. After a normal overtime period, the format of the second OT was first team to score three points.

The Buffanblu got a layup for a 56-54 lead, but couldn't come up with a rebound as Saint Louis missed two 3-point tries before Arakawa splashed his 3 off the dribble from the top. Hayden Hannemann led Saint Louis I-AA with 18 points, including three treys. Arakawa also finished with three 3-pointers and scored 11 points.

Brynn Chang-Kanoa and Skyler Yamada each scored 10 points for the Buffanblu (4-6 ).

No. 3 'Iolani 36, Sandpoint (Idaho ) 33 Center Casey Lyons poured in 21 points for the Raiders (11-6 ).

Rusty Lee led the Bulldogs (3-7 ) with 10 points.

Faith Lutheran (Nev.) 54, University 44 Leyton Barr scored 11 points as the Crusaders (5-7 ) outlasted the Jr. 'Bows (7-3 ).

Alika Ahu led ULS with 14 points and Koa Laboy added 11.

Bellevue (Wash.) 74, Kamehameha-Hawaii 45 Kenyan Jackman led the Wolverines (12-2 ) with 17 points in a runaway win. Hogan Hansen added 12 points.

Kiai Yasso and Nixis Yamauchi led the Warriors (6-6 ) with 11 points each.