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Kohala edges University High,40-38, to win DII title

By: Wes Nakama

Freshman Layden Kauka swished a 15-footer from the left elbow with 4.5 seconds remaining to lift Kohala to a pulsating victory over University High for the Cowboys’ second Division II state title in three seasons.

Kauka had scored on a fast break layup with 38 seconds left to give Kohala its first lead since the second period at 38-37, but the Junior ‘Bows tied it on a free throw 18 seconds later. After a timeout, Kauka took the inbounds pass, dribbled behind his back and drove to the left side of the free throw line before unleashing his pure jumper for the game-winning basket. 

Trey Ambrozich took the ensuing inbounds pass and launched a jumper from about 26 feet, just beyond the top of the key, that looked good through the high arch before bouncing off the front of the rim at the final horn.

Older brother Landon Kauka scored a game-high 19 points and Layden Kauka added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Cowboys, who finished their season at 19-2. Duke Mobley led University (23-7) with 14 points with eight rebounds and Ambrozich added 10 points and six boards.

Mahalo to City Mill for sponsoring our high school basketball article and for supporting Hawaii sports.