Kamehameha ends Punahou's 10-tournament streak of boys volleyball state championships

May 12—1/4

Swipe or click to see more


Punahou outside hitter Evan Porter rose for an attack.


Swipe or click to see more


Kamehameha middle blocker Kaupo Hoopai-Waikoloa goes to block an attack by Punahou outside hitter Cameron Porter.


Swipe or click to see more


Kamehameha opposite Kainoa Wade hugged Harryzen Soares after the Warriors beat Punahou on Saturday.


Swipe or click to see more


Kamehameha players rushed the court to celebrate after the final point.


Select an option below to continue reading this premium story.

Already a Honolulu Star-Advertiser subscriber? to continue reading.

Get unlimited access

From as low as $12.95 /mo.

In the words of a legendary Kamehameha coach, you want to play your best match in the last match of the season.

The unseeded Warriors did the almost unthinkable on Saturday night, stunning 10-time defending state champion and top seed Punahou 25-27, 25-23, 25-17, 25-20 in the final of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Volleyball State Championships.

Punahou had beaten Kamehameha in all four ILH matchups, two in four sets and two by sweep. It was a different Warriors squad on Saturday, as they seized control in the second set and never relinquished it. This time, the dynastic Buffanblu didn't have a way to stop Kamehameha's 6-foot-9 junior, Kainoa Wade. He finished his Kamehameha career with an epic performance: 34 kills on 76 swings (.342) with 11 digs and 2.5 blocks.

"This team has been through so much adversity. All we knew was May 11. That's the only game that mattered to us, and let's see what we can do," said Wade, who plans to graduate in the winter and join the UH volleyball team by spring. "It's the only way to go out. This team has so much fight and so much love for each other. We never gave up on each other. That was the thing. We lost to these guys four times. Everyone wrote us off. We didn't write back, though."

Conor Williams added 10 kills and Brayden Van Kuren had 34 assists and eight digs. Christian Togiai chipped in five kills, while libero Harryzen Soares collected a team-high 16 digs.

Adam Haidar led Punahou (15-1) with 11 kills. Nalu Akana and Evan Porter had 10 kills each. Akana dished 23 assists and Elijah Smith had 20 assists. Matt Chun had a team-high 14 digs.

"That was the best match they've played, 100%," Punahou coach Rick Tune said. "Kainoa and everyone doing their jobs, that's their best form. I knew if Kainoa went ballistic, they'd be tough."

Kamehameha rode momentum into the fourth set, but Punahou was resilient and took an 18-16 lead, only to give it right back. A net violation gave the lead to the Warriors, 19-18.

Punahou tied it one last time on a Wade hitting error, but Kamehameha closed out the match with a 6-1 run. Kills by Van Kuren (dump shot) and Wade, a roof by Poukihi Awai, two Punahou hitting errors and, fittingly, a right-side smash by Wade to end Punahou's quest for an 11th state title in a row.

This is Kamehameha's sixth state title in boys volleyball, the first since 2011 and the first under coach Sava Agpoon.

The Warriors maintained a narrow lead for most of the opening set, but James Taras came up with a kill and Akana battled Wade on a joust for a kill, tying the game at 22. Badham then roofed Williams to give Punahou a one-point lead.

Akana's versatility came into play when a pass strayed high to the net. He adjusted and made the tip for a kill, giving Punahou a 24-22 lead.

Back-to-back kills by Wade tied it at 24, but Taras came through again with a kill for a 25-24 Punahou lead. Kamehameha tied it again on a Wade kill, but Porter stepped up with a kill and a roof on Wade to end set one.

The game plan appeared to be simple: Let Wade swing away, but make life hard on his teammates. Wade had 10 kills (.304) in the first set. Not including Wade, the Warriors had two kills and four hitting errors in 14 swings (-.143) during set one.

Kamehameha opened an 8-4 lead in set two as Williams landed three kills. The Warriors nearly gave the set away with errors as Punahou tied it at 20, 21 and 22. Williams came through with two left-side kills, and after a hitting error by Taras, Wade roofed Porter to end set two.

Momentum was with the Warriors. Even after Punahou rallied in set three to cut Kamehameha's lead to 11-10, the Warriors went on a 7-2 run. Wade came up with two kills, and he and Awai had consecutive blocks for an 18-12 lead.

After a Punahou net violation and a kill by Wade on an overpass, the Warriors led 21-14. Wade put the set away with another kill to give Kamehameha a 2-1 edge.