Jan. 8—The grit gang did it again at Roosevelt.
The grit gang did it again at Roosevelt.
With leading scorer Kayman Lewis saddled with four fouls, the Rough Riders turned a one-point lead into a seven-point margin en route to a 57-42 win over Kalani on Saturday night.
Roosevelt improved to 6-1 in OIA East play (9-2 overall ) as Kainalu Davis, Mateo Browning and Blaise Brumaghim powered a stingy man-to-man defense.
The Rough Riders were ahead 26-18 late in the second quarter behind 19 first-half points by Lewis, a two-sport standout. However, he fouled Kalani's Joaquin Manaligod on a 3-point shot, then drew a technical foul after making a profane comment at a referee.
Kalani made all five ensuing free-throw attempts, then added a layup. Those seven points on one trip cut the lead to 26-25 going into the half.
Lewis sat the entire third quarter with four fouls, but the Rough Riders opened the lead. By the time Lewis returned with less than five minutes to play in regulation, it was 43-36. Lewis made five of his six free-throw tries down the stretch to finish with 24 points. Brumaghim added 10 points, and Davis and Browning finished with eight points apiece.
Manaligod led Kalani with 11 points, all in the first half. Carson Lam added nine points.
"We had some unfortunate things happen, but that's the game. The calls were right on that. We can't let that affect us. We told the players the only person who should say anything to the ref is me, " Roosevelt coach Steve Hathaway said. "But the team stepped up, the rest of the guys. It fired everybody up. Nalu stepped up. Blaise had a huge game on the boards. I think we controlled the glass tonight. That was the key. That's a tough team. They're going to be tough in the D-II playoffs. I wouldn't want to play them."
This season's Rough Riders seem to have a knack for winning physical games despite their seeming lack of overall size. Their one player taller than 5 feet, 11 inches, was 6-3 center Kamu Kaaihue, who graduated early and is now enrolled at Arizona to play football.
"This year's team is probably our best man-to-man team. They're playing tough and helping each other. We're not taking as many charges as I would like. We left a lot out there we could have taken, but we're getting our hands on a lot of passes, " Hathaway said.
Roosevelt limited Kalani sharpshooter Josh Schutter to four points.
"We did a good job of getting out on their shooters. They hit some shots, but we did a good job when they did drive. When they drove, we banged them, bodied them, we made them uncomfortable, " Hathaway said. "I'm proud of the team. They played hard."
Lewis stayed connected with his teammates through the long sit-down and was ready when he re-entered.
"Kayman owes me running on Monday. You don't get techs in games. He's going to owe me 100 laps, at least, " Hathaway said. "Even me, when I get a tech, I've got to run. It is what it is. We'll take the 'W.' "