LAPEL — As Wapahani’s players moved into their offense late in the fourth quarter of the second Class 2A Lapel Regional, the gym’s scoreboard showed the seconds dwindling, as well as the point totals for each player on the floor.
Wapahani’s Grant Evans had scored 31 points. Cass’ Austin Keisling had scored 26, and backcourt partner Blake Hadley had 17.
None of those scoring totals mattered anymore. Those totals were just part of the journey that took the Kings and Raiders to that point in time, where Cass led by a single point with 22 seconds left, and Wapahani had the ball after Keisling had hit 1 of 2 free throws to push Cass into the lead.
Wapahani had called timeout after Keisling’s miss, before his make, and the coaches addressed their teams about the final seconds.
“One thing we said about this is, ‘This is the biggest defensive stop of your career. You stop them, we win. You don’t stop them, we go home unhappy with the outcome,’” Cass coach Jon Kitchel said.
Wapahani worked the ball to the left wing where Evans got off a contested jumper. It clanged out and Wapahani’s Talon Craycraft got the rebound and put up an instant shot in one motion. It hit the front rim and caromed out. Cass center Victor DeJesus snatched the rebound, covered up, then dribbled to a corner as time expired.
Cass 63, Wapahani 62.
“It was just a big one,” DeJesus said of that defensive stop. “I knew I had to get that rebound so we could win. It just felt really good when I got that board.
“I was trying not to turn it over because I’ve had a bad habit of losing the ball after a big board. And that No. 40 kid [Wapahani center Jacob Foster] tried ripping it out, and I just had to secure it.”