Aloha leads by four in the fourth quarter but can't hold on to win

ALOHA — The Aloha boys basketball team did almost everything that was asked of it.

The Warriors, hosting Lakeridge in a non-league game on Tuesday night, survived a first-quarter blitz by the Pacers, pushed into the lead at the end of the third quarter, then built a four-point edge at the start of the MILES VANCE - CHALLENGING - Aloha junior Edgar Guerra attacks the basket and gets his shot blocked by Lakeridge's Patrick Jaco during the Warriors' non-league Tuesday home loss.

But the learning process is ongoing for the youthful Warriors, whose roster features just one senior, and Aloha turned the ball over six times in the fourth quarter and allowed Lakeridge to escape with a 56-52 victory.

The loss dropped Aloha’s season record to 5-8, while the Pacers improved to 9-4 with the win.

Despite the final score, the Warriors could sense the improvement they’ve made, and remained confident of their ability to compete.

“We never quit, even though we’re a young team,” said Aloha sophomore wing Connor Bernett, who finished with 14 points in the loss. “We just stayed with what we know how to do, what we practice, and we got better at it throughout the game.”

“We made ‘em worried, made ‘em think we were going to give them a run for their money,” added Aloha sophomore post Steven Boswell, who finished with a game-high 20. “I think definitely we’ve gotten better on the offensive end.”

Early on, though, the Pacers held the upper hand, putting Aloha on the defensive with their fullcourt press and trapping “D,” a ploy that limited the Warriors to 3-of-10 shooting in the opening quarter and also forced three Aloha turnovers.

At the same time, Lakeridge took charge with eight points by Reggie Oliver (six of those on two three-pointers), got another five from Michael Walker and grabbed an 11-3 lead late in the first quarter before settling for a 17-9 edge at the end of the frame.

The Pacers extended that edge to 23-14 on a Madison Pihl three-pointer early in the second period, but after that, the Warriors began reeling Lakeridge back in for the first time. From there, Aloha got an inside hoop from Boswell, a drive from Edgar Guerra, a Bernett three-pointer and another “three” from Terrell Gayhart that brought the Warriors within 25-24 midway through the quarter.

But the Pacers closed the half on an 8-2 run that included three-pointers by Jack Misell and Pihl, as well as a pull-up jumpshot from Oliver to make it 33-26 at the break.

Undeterred, the Warriors kept coming in the third quarter, opening the second half with an inside basket by Bernett, a three-pointer from Nick Christopherson and a Boswell bank shot to tie the game at 33-33 with 6:10 to go in the period.

The Warriors were still dead-even at 38-38 when Boswell rebounded his own miss and scored with 1:52 to go in the third, and from there, Aloha moved into the lead for the first time. Boswell took a pass from Hudson Van Allen and scored on the fast break, Boswell drilled three-pointer from the left corner to make it 43-41 at the end of the third, and Keith Hunter added two foul shots at the start of the fourth to give Aloha a 45-41 lead with 7:48 left in the game.

Aloha couldn’t hold that edge, though. The Warriors went scoreless for the first 4:52 of the fourth quarter — they turned the ball over four times and went 0-for-4 from the field — while the Pacers got a three-point play by Oliver and a fast break hoop from Walker to lead 46-45.

The Warriors answered with a Boswell baseline jumpshot that gave Aloha its last lead at 47-46 with 3:08 to go, but Lakeridge held the upper hand down the stretch. Pacer senior Patrick Jaco hit a pair of foul shots and added a layin, Walker turned in a three-point play and hit two foul shots, and Oliver added one free throw with 27 seconds left to put the game away.

Aloha added a Bernett “three” with 1:16 left and two Boswell free throws at the end of the game, but it was too little and too late.

Now, with the Warriors looking ahead to Metro League play on Tuesday — the Warriors host Sunset at 7:15 p.m. in their opener — they are hoping to put all the lessons they’ve learned into play.

“I think we can have a really successful year, make an impact in the Metro League,” Bernett said. “We have three good shooters, a good post man and a lot of good players coming off the bench. There’s not a whole lot of pressure so we can just come in and play basketball.”

“Coach (Antoine Shired) said at the beginning of the year they were (focusing) on defense and as we’ve improved our defense, our offense has come together too,” Boswell said. “We’ve got nothing to lose. We just need to be more patient, gets what’s open and it will come.”

For the game, Boswell went 8-of-11 from the field (with one three-pointer) and 3-of-5 foul shots, while Bernett hit 5-of-14 (with four three-pointers), and Gayhart finished with six points. As a team, Aloha turned the ball over just 12 times.

Walker led the Pacers with 18 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 from the foul line, while Oliver went 5-of-9 from the field (with two “threes”) and 3-of-4 at the line, Jaco finished with 10 points, and Pihl had nine. As a team, the Pacers committed just eight turnovers.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to

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