WAILUKU - It doesn't guarantee a fifth straight Maui Interscholastic League Division II boys basketball crown, but it gives Seabury Hall some breathing room.
The Spartans (9-0) clinched the MIL D-II regular-season crown with a hard-fought 51-42 win over St. Anthony (4-5) on the Trojans' senior night at War Memorial Gym on Friday.
It was anything but easy, however, against a St. Anthony team that was without regulars Mike Fernandez (knee) and Grayson Nolette (staph infection) - both are expected back for the MIL tournament that begins Feb. 13.
Seabury Hall’s Jordan Haylor goes up for a shot in the first quarter of the Spartans’ 51-42 victory over the St. Anthony Trojans on Friday.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
St. Anthony’s Colby Tam goes in for a layup during the second quarter.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"They played well, especially without all their main players," Seabury Hall senior wing Cameron King said after scoring a game-high 20 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. "They did a good job of executing, especially in the first half."
Seabury Hall has been in the state final four each of the last two seasons, but still has work to do to clinch the MIL's only berth to the eight-team state tournament. The Spartans can claim the spot by winning the MIL tournament or in a possible winner-take-all playoff game.
"All the games have been really close so far this year, so it is really anyone, whoever executes the best," King said. "So, it should help since we have got the regular-season clinched - if we happen to lose one of the games we get another chance."
Seabury Hall 51, St. Anthony 42
Molokai 60, Lanai 47
Lanai at Molokai, noon
King Kekaulike vs. Lahainaluna at Lahaina Civic Center, 7 p.m.
Maui High at Baldwin, 7 p.m.
St. Anthony at Seabury Hall, 7 p.m.
The Trojans took a 19-10 lead early in the second quarter, held on for a 21-20 halftime lead and climbed within 41-40, with 3 minutes, 44 seconds to play on a 3-pointer by Micah Van Alstine.
Rip Pahukoa, who had 13 points and played stellar interior defense, scored from the base line to give Seabury Hall a 43-40 advantage and King's traditional 3-point play made it 46-40 with 2:56 to go. King's layup made it 48-41 with 2:29 left.
King knows the MIL tournament could be one of the most competitive in years. Molokai won its first game of the season Friday, 60-47 over Lanai.
"Both Lanai and St. Anthony are really tough this year, they have got some good shooters and they are really aggressive on defense," King said. "We have to work to run our plays and get off good shots."
Pahukoa stepped up on a night that 6-foot-4 junior center Jaxson Stinger was hamstrung by foul trouble and limited to nine points.
"When Jaxson got in early foul trouble, I just tried to get good shots, look for them off the offense, execute," King said. "Rip had a great game, he made some good shots, we got him some good looks."
Seabury Hall coach Louis Turbeville knows the job is not done for his team.
"We have a cushion going into the tournament, but we can't take it easy because it comes down to two games," he said. "We have played Molokai close, we have played Lanai close, St. Anthony. I mean, they are all dangerous and we have to be careful."
St. Anthony coach Scott Davenport said his team will gain confidence from the close loss. Van Alstine and Preston Masanda each had 12 points for the Trojans.
"The last three weeks, all we have been playing for is this game," Davenport said. "We have been working on nothing but defense. We came out, we got a little tired at the end, but we pushed it. I'm very proud of how we are. They better watch out. Not only us, but Lanai is coming after them and that tournament is going to be a great thing to watch this year."
* Robert Collias is a email@example.com
SEABURY HALL (51)
Duncan Harrisson 0, Cameron King 20, Jordan Haylor 3, Michael Chasen 0, Christian Jenkins 0, Cameron Hanisch 2, Rip Pahukoa 13, Bryce Barbier 4, Jaxson Stinger 9.
ST. ANTHONY (42)
Kailen Pacheco 0, Nick Asuncion 0, Colby Tam 7, Kekaha Souza 9, Chaz Fernandez 0, Sam Wyner 2, Micah Van Alstine 12, Preston Masanda 12.
Seabury Hall ..... 10 ..... 10 ..... 13 ..... 18-51
St. Anthony ....... 17 ....... 4 ....... 9 ..... 12-42
MOLOKAI BOYS 60, LANAI 47
At Hoolehua, David Rapanot scored 21 points as the Farmers (1-8) picked up their first league victory of the season.
Molokai outscored Lanai 17-3 in the second quarter.
Kerl Manuel and Marcus Koep both scored 12 points for the Pine Lads (4-5).
Lanai ......... 16 ....... 3 ...... 8 ..... 20-47
Molokai ..... 10 ..... 17 ..... 11 ..... 22-60