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Lei Lei’s wins HD League championship

Led by a freshman center and two “coaches” from the University of Hawai’i basketball team, Lei Lei’s won the championship of the inaugural Hawai’i Development League on Thursday night.

Mate Colina had 16 points and nine rebounds to help lead Lei Lei’s to a 101-93 overtime win over Ultimate Roofing in the title game of the summer league at Maryknoll School Gym. Colina, a 6-foot-11 player from Australia, joined the Rainbow Warriors in January, but the upcoming 2018-19 season will serve as his freshman year.

“Great game – high intensity, high level,” Colina said. “It was awesome for us to come and play and be amongst former UH players, people around Hawai’i, and just a great community to come and support.”

Current Warriors Jack Purchase and Leland Green served as co-coaches for Lei Lei’s. Both players declined to participate as players in the HD League, but were glad to accept roles on the sidelines this summer.

“Whoever we were playing against, we would talk to them and tell them that we had a game plan set up for them,” Green said. “We had a game plan for everybody, and we won the ‘ship, so it’s crazy … crazy that we won as first time coaches.”

Micah Dunhour, a graduate of Academy of the Pacific who is now playing professionally in Europe, led Lei Lei’s with 28 points. He was also named the MVP of the HD League.

Former UH players Pi’i Minns (16 points) and Zach Buscher (12 points) also played key roles for Lei Lei’s. The win was especially meaningful for Buscher, whose parents own Lei Lei’s Bar and Grill at Turtle Bay.

A monster performance by another UH player was overshadowed. Junior forward Zigmars Raimo recorded game-highs of 32 points and 26 rebounds in the loss for Ultimate Roofing. Raimo averaged 25.5 points and 23.0 rebounds in his two playoff games.

Junior guard Brandon Thomas added 19 points and four rebounds for Ultimate Roofing.

Lei Lei’s had the lead for most of the game, but Ultimate Roofing rallied in the second half. JR Broadus hit a 3-pointer (off an assist from Raimo) with 4.9 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score at 87 and force overtime. Lei Lei’s opened the overtime with an 11-3 run and never looked back.

The championship game capped a successful summer league for UH players. Nine scholarship players (Colina, Raimo, Thomas, Brocke Stepteau, Samuta Avea, Drew Buggs, Dawson Carper, Justin Hemsley and Eddie Stansberry) and at least two potential walk-ons (Zoar Nedd and Huthifa Abdel Jawad) participated.

The Warriors will spend the next few weeks preparing for a trip to Australia in August.”I can’t wait to see my family and friends back home,” said Colina, who is one of three UH players from Australia.

Championship Game
Lei Lei’s 101, Ultimate Roofing 93. Leading scorers: LL – Micah Dunhour 28, Kahanu Puulei-Auld 19, Mate Colina 16, Pi’i Minns 16, Zach Buscher 12. UR – Zigmars Raimo 32, Brandon Thomas 19, Masa Swain 15, JR Broadus 11.

(Photos courtesy Brandon Flores / www.brandonfloresphotography.com)

7 Comments

  1. Raimo looking like he’s turned a corner and could provide us with some scoring off the bench. This team could be as deep as I’ve ever seen one with how impressive this summer league went.

    I think we could make a run in conference play once the guys gel

  2. I thought Leland said, “we won the chips”, as in all the chips on the table. (Not ‘ship’.) Nevertheless, glad to see Purchase and Leland Green coaching.
    This is indeed a very deep team.

  3. Wow, I am amazed that Zigmars put up that kind of numbers! He does look very improved in the videos, but I still want to see him against D1 opponents. I don’t expect him to put up 32 and 26 against any college team, but if he can put up half those numbers against Big West, UH will be conference champs.

  4. Hands down, Raimo would have been the MVP had his team won. The guy was a beast last night. I believe he came out of the game (briefly) just once in the first half, and was relentless throughout. He’s leaner and more aggressive (and confident) than he was last season, but don’t expect him to put up anywhere near the same numbers against collegiate competition.

    Raimo has heart and a high basketball IQ so I can see him starting as an undersized post while the freshman bigs make the transition to college. Overlooked, Raimo shot 11 of 12 from the free-throw line.

    I think Colina has a good upside. He runs well though he’s a work in progress in the paint, particularly carving out space to rebound against bigger defenders. He needs to get stronger so he can finish with authority. I don’t think it’s in his personality to be “nasty” on the court, but he can take a page from Raimo and just go hard all the time.

    Earlier, in another game, Colina was out front on a fast break and awkwardly lost the ball while trying to dribble. A friend turned to me and said, “Big man hands.” Last night, though, he came up with a steal and easily took it half the court to the basket. Think he failed to convert because he was fouled in his dunk attempt. One day he’ll learn to flush it so hard that a defender won’t challenge the shot for fear of injury. The best part of Colina is … he’s just a freshman.

  5. Congrats to Ido Flaisher and Israel for winning the FIBA U20 European Championship.

  6. Ido was a fan favorite who will be missed, but I think the team has upgraded itself in the post. Out of curiosity, I did a quick search: For what it’s worth, Ido averaged 8.5 minutes and 4.1 points in seven games at the U20 tournament.

  7. akuhead2: he meant ‘ship’ as in championship, hence the ‘ before ship.

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