Historic win: Maui Prep DII boys basketball State Champions
Nā Pueo of Maui Preparatory Academy in Lahaina, defeated the Kaimuki Bulldogs Saturday night in a 65-35 win, taking the Division II title in boys basketball.
“This is a historic win for Maui Prep,” said Coach Cheyne De La Garza in a phone interview with Maui Now on Saturday night. “It’s the first team state championship at the school, and just the second boys state championship in basketball in 40 years for Maui,” he said, noting that Lahainaluna won the title in 1982.
Prior to that, St. Anthony brought home a state championship for boys basketball in 1977, according to data compiled by the HHSAA.
The Maui team went undefeated with a record of 17-0 for the year, and 3-0 in the Hawaiʻi High School Athletic Association. According to the @mauiprep Instagram account, the win also is the largest margin of victory in DII finals history.
When the buzzer sounded, the celebration began with players running to half court, according to De La Garza. It continued with a drive down Waikīkī with honking horns as the team held their trophy; and resumed with excitement at the hotel elevator, which briefly got stuck as cheering and ‘chee-hooing’ ensued.
The team has come a long way in a short period of time. Just a few years ago, the Maui Prep program did not exist at all. Varsity basketball was added to the school’s lineup in 2019.
“There was a core of players: Dylan and Jimmy Falk and Bennett Bluh. Drew Triplett transferred from Washington, when he moved to Maui. They all kind just came together by chance,” said De La Garza.
Dylan and Jimmy Falk, and Triplett were all named to the Division II HHSAA All-Tournament Team, as selected by the media and HHSAA, with Triplett identified as the Most Outstanding Player. As the senior captain, Triplett scored 10 points and made 16 assists in the championship game.
“Drew has been a pleasure to have on the team. He’s a great kid and a great person, often putting the team before himself. He’s all-around an outstanding individual,” said De La Garza. “Dylan and Jimmy–the twins–are an absolute pleasure to coach as well. They are our sharp shooters.”
Others on the DII All-Tournament Team included: O’Shen Cazimero and La’akea Kauka of Kohala; and Jeremiah White of Kaimuki.
The Maui team is made up of six seniors, a junior and three freshmen. “As a group, they are vey hard workers. They put in a lot of time over past year and a half… They’re very coachable, and moldable,” said De La Garza noting they all contributed to the success accomplished as a team.
The Maui team had good backing on the road as well, with many parents and school supporters flying in for the game, according to De La Garza. According to the school Facebook page, a homecoming is planned at around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27, with the team bus arriving at around 1 p.m. Participants will reportedly line the school driveway with honking cars and signs as they welcome the boys at the Bozich Center.
In Division I, St. Louis defeated Mililani 57-34. The DI All-Tournament team included: JJ Mandaquit, Iolani; Quitan Akaka, Baldwin; Hayden Bayudan, St. Louis; Jackson Mayo, Mililani; and Cole Schmidt, St. Louis. The Most Outstanding Player was Aiva Arquette of St. Louis.
The DII game tipped off at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Neal Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, and was televised on OC16. Complete box scores are posted below.
Score by Periods 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total Kaimuki Bulldogs.............. 15 4 5 11 - 35 Maui Prep Na Pueo............. 14 17 15 19 - 65
MAUI PREP NA PUEO (17-0, 3-0 HHSAA) Falk, Jimmy 6-8 2-2 17; Basurto, Levi 4-6 4-4 12; Falk, Dylan 4-8 2-2 12; Triplett, Drew 3-6 3-3 10; Biegle, Koenig 3-8 0-0 7; Flores, Emerson 2-5 0-0 5; Bluh, Bennett 1-3 0-0 2; Godwin, Kai 0-0 0-0 0; Salem, Chris 0-0 0-0 0; Shively, Kai 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-45 11-11 65. KAIMUKI BULLDOGS (13-5, 2-1 HHSAA) Fritz-Betiru,Rashawn 7-14 0-2 15; White, Jeremiah 3-11 0-0 7; Lupica, Daysen 2-9 0-0 5; Renton, Kesykil 2-4 0-0 4; Eaton, Kenny 1-1 0-0 2; Cleveland, Malu 1-2 0-0 2; Ludwig, Mark 0-0 0-0 0; Hanis, Jamen 0-1 0-0 0; Renton, Jake 0-0 0-0 0; Bunao, Tristan 0-0 0-0 0; Sio, Harmon 0-2 0-0 0; Arakawa, Sean 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-44 0-2 35. 3-point goals: Kaimuki Bulldogs 3-14 (White, Jeremiah 1-3; Lupica, Daysen 1-4; Fritz-Betiru,Rashawn 1-5; Cleveland, Malu 0-1; Renton, Kesykil 0-1), Maui Prep Na Pueo 8-18 (Falk, Jimmy 3-4; Falk, Dylan 2-4; Triplett, Drew 1-1; Flores, Emerson 1-3; Biegle, Koenig 1-2; Shively, Kai 0-1; Bluh, Bennett 0-2; Basurto, Levi 0-1) Fouled out: Kaimuki Bulldogs-None Maui Prep Na Pueo-None Rebounds: Kaimuki Bulldogs 20 (Renton, Kesykil 4) Maui Prep Na Pueo 30 (Triplett, Drew 8) Assists: Kaimuki Bulldogs 7 (Cleveland, Malu 4) Maui Prep Na Pueo 21 (Triplett, Drew 16) Total fouls: Kaimuki Bulldogs 13 Maui Prep Na Pueo 7 Technical fouls: Kaimuki Bulldogs-None Maui Prep Na Pueo-None