Defence stifles T-Birds

Mitch Knippelberg finds precious little room in the key. - submitted
Mitch Knippelberg finds precious little room in the key.
— image credit: submitted

They play some pretty tough defence down in Maui, the Cowichan Thunderbirds have discovered.

The senior boys’ AAA high school basketball team started play in the third annual Lahainaluna Invitational basketball tournament against the host Lunas Monday night.

The T-Birds were held to a score more typical of halftime in an eventual 45-28 loss in the feature game.

“They were in that game,’’ said spokesman Wayne Seaman.

The T-Birds were up 20-19 at halftime in the defensive struggle. But they only scored eight points in the second half.

“The Lunas play a tenacious defence,’’ said Seaman.

The T-Birds matched the Lunas’ defensive effort in the first half, but bent a little more once the host team started to get untracked.

Mitch Knippelberg led the Cowichan scoring with 17 points. Jerod Dorby added seven while Curtis St. Cyr and Willy Jeklin contributed a bucket apiece, but that was the extent of the offense.

Folau Tauese (13), Spencer Perieff (12) and Gavin Kahaialii (10) all reached double figures and accounted for most of the Lunas’ scoring.

Seaman said the game didn’t generate the anticipated crowd support. But the interest is expect to increase as the tournament progresses.

“There’s a lot of awareness,’’ said Seaman.

Christmas and other distractions have made basketball followers more discriminating about when to attend.

The T-Birds had another tough game Tuesday against Baldwin.

Baldwin and the Lunas are arch-rivals of the same calibre so the T-Birds were going to have their hands full trying to deal with another smothering defence.

The T-Birds are also playing tourists between stints on the court.

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