St. Fran­cis makes a splash

Bryce Nishida leads the Saints past Hawaii Bap­tist by 31

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - SPORTS - By Paul Honda phonda@starad­ver­

Bryce Nishida splashed six 3-point­ers and scored 22 points as No. 3 St. Fran­cis over­whelmed Hawaii Bap­tist 85-54 on Fri­day night at Dan Liu Gym­na­sium.

Nishida was one of five Saints to con­nect from the arc as the vis­i­tors shot a phe­nom­e­nal 15-for-26 (58 per­cent) to ex­tin­guish any pos­si­ble ral­lies by the Ea­gles on home­com­ing night.

“We were for­tu­nate tonight. We’re a shoot­ing team and we’ve just got to be con­sis­tent,” said

Nishida, a south­paw. “Ev­ery­one was mak­ing the right de­ci­sions tonight.”

HBA’s man-to-man de­fense did all it could to counter St. Fran­cis’ lead­ing scorer, Kameron Ng. He fin­ished with 14 points and was chal­lenged by the Ea­gles on his drives, fin­ish­ing just 5-for-17 from the field. How­ever, he adapted and dished out nine as­sists and also had five steals.

“Kameron didn’t get a lot of calls, but you can’t ex­pect to al­ways get them,” Saints coach Ron Du­rant said. “I’m glad he made that ad­just­ment, get­ting other peo­ple in­volved. He knew who was hot.”

Ng, a ju­nior point guard, came into the game av­er­ag­ing 26 points per game. He found Jett Tanu­vasa, who was 4-for-4 from 3-point range for 14 points. He also found Manoa Kuali‘i-Moe, the ver­sa­tile se­nior who added 15 points, four boards and one re­sound­ing block in tran­si­tion de­fense. Boris Vukovic tal­lied eight points and 10 re­bounds and guard Ti­tus Liu hit three treys off the bench.

“Ti­tus was hit­ting 3s, Jett was hit­ting 3s. We saw HBA at the Pu­na­hou tour­na­ment and how quickly they push the ball, so we knew we had to sprint back on de­fense,” Du­rant said.

Nishida’s shoot­ing touch on this night was timely.

“That’s what we need from him. We asked to take 12 to 15 shots (per game) and hit 40 per­cent from 3,” Du­rant added.

Kordel Ng added seven as­sists for the Saints, who im­proved to 4-0 in ILH Divi­sion II play (20-3 over­all). HBA dropped to 2-2 in league play (16-7 over­all) and trails St. Fran­cis and Damien in the stand­ings. Micah Mitchell scored 22 points to lead the Ea­gles. Max Weimken added 10 points and seven re­bounds.

“We fig­ured we’d fo­cus on stop­ping 30 points per game,” HBA coach Ge­orge Weeks said of Kameron Ng. “He was still con­trol­ling the offense. He’s ma­tured.”

St. Fran­cis, which has lost only to No. 1 Pu­na­hou (twice) and No. 2 Kame­hameha, never lost a beat. HBA’s only lead was at 3-2 on a wing 3 from Mitchell. The Saints shot 10-for-17 in the first quar­ter to open a 25-11 lead. Nishida was 3-for-6 be­hind the arc.

The Saints’ man de­fense was up to the task against the nor­mally high-scor­ing Ea­gles, lim­it­ing them to 3-for-15 shoot­ing from the field in the open­ing quar­ter. Weimken, av­er­ag­ing 18 points per game, shot 4-for13 from the field. By half­time, St. Fran­cis had a 47-29 lead on 9-for-16 shoot­ing from the 3-point line.

“They at­tacked the rim, played great de­fense and were su­per ef­fi­cient from the 3-point line,” Weeks said. “With those kinds of ath­letes, that’s tough for any team they play.”

For the game, St. Fran­cis had a 29-27 edge on the boards. HBA fin­ished at 35 per­cent from the field (20-for57) against a mix of man and zone de­fenses. The Ea­gles were 6-for-24 from the arc.

“Iron­i­cally, tonight was our low­est 3-point out­put,” Weeks noted. “It was a com­bi­na­tion of great de­fense by St. Fran­cis and a cold shoot­ing night for us.”


St. Fran­cis guard Bryce Nishida shot a 3 over Hawaii Bap­tist guard Cole Galic­i­nao in the first quar­ter of Fri­day’s game.

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