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Revuelto helps Saint Louis hold off ‘Iolani, 43-37

By Wes Nakama

When people think of two-time defending boys basketball state champion Saint Louis, the first name that usually comes to mind is spectacular junior forward Pupu Sepulona. And rightfully so.

But an immediate afterthought should be point guard Shancin Revuelto, who showed his own excellence and value Wednesday night in the Crusaders’ 43-37 road victory at ‘Iolani in the ILH season opener for both teams.

Revuelto, a 5-foot-10 junior, scored a game-high 18 points and guided Saint Louis through a crucial third period as the Raiders overcame a 23-14 halftime deficit to tie it at 27-27 on Mana Lau Kong’s layup with 1:04 remaining in the third period, with Sepulona on the bench for most of it after picking up his third foul.

‘Iolani had possession in the final half-minute of the quarter and was working the clock down for a final shot when Keanu Meacham poked the ball loose for Revuelto, who then glided down the court and converted the layup just before the buzzer.

Meacham then opened the fourth period with a mid-range jumper and Revuelto followed with a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 34-27 with 6:42 left. 

Photo: Lori McKeown

“That was a big emotional lift for us,” Crusaders coach Dan Hale said. “We needed something at that point, we were stuck at 27 for a while, the ball rimmed out and (the Raiders) were getting it going. In these kind of games that are so close, one little momentum (switch) … we kind of rode that a little bit, and it can be the difference. And it was all a straight hustle play. That’s what you need to do to beat a good team on the road.”

‘Iolani coach Ryan Hirata acknowledged that play was a big turning point.

“We ended the third quarter on a rough note,” Hirata said. “We tied the game, (then) turned it over, they got a last-second layup to go up (by) two. Then they score on the first possession of the fourth quarter … when you play a championship team like them, you can’t do that. Unfortunately we made that mistake.”

Nela Taliauli scored on a nifty step-and-a-half layup to cut it to 38-35 with 1:10 remaining, but Saint Louis answered with back-to-back baskets by Meacham and Caelan Fernando to push the lead to 42-35 with 29 seconds left, and the Raiders could only manage two free throws by Aiden Wong the rest of the way.

“Saint Louis, as a team, has championship pedigree,” Hirata said. “Pupu is a special player … but as a team, they’re tough. It was just those big, lingering stretches where we did not take care of our business that really propelled them to win.”

Revuelto scored seven early points to help the Crusaders jump out to a 9-1 lead, then later hit a jumper from the right wing to close out the period with Saint Louis up, 16-6.

“All the credit goes to him and the hard work he’s put in,” Hale said of Revuelto. “He put up a lot of shots (in the offseason) and worked on a lot of things to expand his offense. When we put Shancin in a position to score, and they were doubling down on Pupu, he was just ready to facilitate. That’s the beauty of having a point guard like that.”

Lau Kong finished with 15 points to lead the Raiders. Sepulona was held to eight points — the first time this season finishing in single digit scoring.

Photos: Lori McKeown

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