Ryan Walker didn’t start,
but he definitely ended the game. With three seconds left on
the clock, Walker rebounded a missed free throw, dribbled down
the court and sank a desperate three-point shot at the buzzer,
lifting the HPU men’s basketball team over the University
of Hawai‘i-Hilo, 65-64.
On Feb. 2, the Sea Warriors broke their five-game losing streak
and stole their second conference win, beating the Vulcans at
Kaiser High School’s gym. HPU lost to the Vulcans in its
previous two encounters, but was determined not to let that happen
on its home court.
HPU jumped to a quick lead in the first half, sinking nine three-point
attempts, and led by as much as 15 points. The Vulcans remained
in the game, shooting 66 percent at the free-throw line, and
closed the gap to 40-31 by the end of the half. Both teams shot
50 percent for field goals.
I thought in the first half we really were sharp defensively,” said
Head Coach Darren Vorderbruegge. “We came out really hungry.”
The Sea Warriors maintained the lead for most of the second half
until UH-Hilo’s Rashad Bilal, converted on a layup to tie
the game at 48. The score tied several times until the Vulcans
pulled away with a three-point lead following two free throws
When it seemed as though the Sea Warriors would suffer their
sixth straight loss, they put their faith in Walker, who came
through with the game-winning shot just past the half-court line.
When it left my hand I thought it had a chance because it was
in line, but I thought it was going to be short,” said
When Vorderbruegge was asked whether he thought the shot would
go in, he replied, “No. It was lucky, but the thing you
gotta realize is, what we did to get to that point. “
I give (UH-Hilo) credit. I thought they came out in the second
half and were much more aggressive. We kept fighting though and
that’s all we can ask,” Vorderbruegge added.
Four Sea Warriors ended the game in double digits, led by Rishi
Kakad with 16.
Following a road trip to the mainland, the Sea Warriors will
return to play their last two home games against the Chaminade
Silverswords on Feb. 21-22 at Mid-Pacific Institute’s gym
at 7 p.m. Feb. 22 will be senior night, honoring five seniors.