Radford Rams drop heartbreaker to Waianae

Radford Rams guard Jamal Hill drives to the basket.

Radford Rams guard Jamal Hill drives to the basket.

Story and photos by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

The surging Admiral Arthur W. Radford High School Rams boys varsity basketball squad saw their three-game winning streak come to an abrupt end, as the visiting Waianae Seariders staged a fourth-quarter comeback to steal a 56-55 win in an OIA Division I West game on Jan. 16.

Radford, which trailed for most of the game, caught Waianae at 35-35 on a buzzer-beating trey by guard Sean Musrasrik to close out the third quarter.

The Rams held an eight-point lead at 47-39 with only 4:41 remaining in the game, but eventually wilted under a tough full-court-pressure defense from the Seariders.

The loss put Radford in a three-way tie for fourth in the West with four games remaining in the regular season.

Next week, the Rams will close out the schedule on the road with away games against the state’s No. 9 ranked team Leilehua Mules on Jan. 26 and Mililani Trojans on Jan. 28.

“I’m super proud of them,” said Rams head coach David Lane, who is in his first year at the helm of the team that is loaded with players of Navy and Air Force parents. “They are really learning how to pull together. I’m proud and not mad at all. It’s just that the ball didn’t bounce our way.”

From tip-off to the final horn, both teams went back and forth, but it was the Seariders who closed out the second and fourth quarters with rallies to gain the upper hand.

A basket-and-one by Rams forward Brandon Campbell gave Rad-ford a slim 18-16 lead in the second quarter, but Waianae, with four points apiece from Douglas Mitchell and Manu Taukolo went on an 8-0 run to pace the Seariders to a 24-21 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, Radford, behind the sharp shooting from the free-throw line by guard Jeremy Ramos kept the Rams within striking distance just enough to allow Musrasrik to tie the score on his long-distance bomb, as the horn sounded.

Radford Rams forward Brandon Campbell takes it strong to the hoop.

Radford Rams forward Brandon Campbell takes it strong to the hoop.

With momentum seemingly on their side, the fired-up Rams immediately went ahead for the first time since the second quarter on a basket by forward Cameron Copeland.

Ramos continued his hot shooting by adding four straight points from the charity stripe to eventually lead Rad-ford to their biggest advantage of the night with eight points at 47-39, but with Waianae adding pressure to the back-court, things changed in a hurry.

The Seariders climbed right back into the game with two baskets, one off a stolen inbound pass, to make it 47-43 at the 2:46 mark.

Then, 30 seconds later, Mitchell pulled down an offensive rebound off a missed shot by Campbell and went coast-to-coast to tie the score at 47-47.

Mitchell was also fouled on the play and sunk the and-one to put Waianae ahead at 48-47.

Later, two straight free throws by Taukolo all but sealed the game at 52-49 with only 33 seconds left in the game.

For the night, the Rams were led by Ramos, who finished the game with 17 points on two baskets and an impressive 13-for-14 from the free-throw line.

Teammates Campbell and Musrasrik chipped in with eight points apiece.

While the loss was disappointing for Lane, the coach pointed out that the

Rams are in a far better place as a team than they were at the beginning of the season.

“We’re in a situation where we just got to get better every day,” Lane admitted with big games ahead at Leilehua and Mililani. “We can’t just sit still. Every day is like a practice. We got to get better, but I think we’ve turned the corner.”

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Category: Sports