2018 FBA Season/18.05.11/ALK@HWI/Capsule

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Aloha from Honolulu for Game 4 of the first round series between Pacific Rim Division rivals the Alaska Arctics and the Hawaii Kahunas! The first three games all ended in Arctics victories, pushing the islanders to the brink of elimination. Playing in front of a raucous hometown crowd, the Kahunas were determined to force a Game 5 back in Anchorage. They came out of the gate swinging, opening the contest with a 6-0 run off the hands of Julian Cross-Kiraly and Zack Tate, and hardly let up at all. The Arctics did their best to keep up with Otis Najac matching Tate shot for shot, but the quarter ended with the Kahunas ahead by 8, 36-28.

Having made their statements in the opening quarter, both teams appeared to dial it back a notch in the second. The Arctics gave their starters a chance to rest and the bench an opportunity to shine. Rookie starter Josh Severt took charge with his reduced time, adding to his first quarter total to notch a healthy dozen points so far on the night, handily (fin-ily?) outpacing opponent Scoonie Barrett. Hawaii continued to rely heavily on their starters and yet were only able to maintain the status quo, each team scoring 26 points to enter halftime still with a lead of 8.

Whoa, is this the same Arctics team from the first half? Led by veteran point guard Devon Kellendyne and last year's MVP Cliff Matthiews, the visitors from the North took charge from the start, setting up a string of plays that the Kahunas seemed to have no answer for. Every shot the Kahunas made was matched and then outpaced. Margo Bates, playing for Alaska from deep on the bench, sank a back-to-back pair of three-pointers. The Hawaiian starters continued to steadily build their own impressive stats, but by the end of the quarter the Kahunas' lead had shrunk to a too-close-for-comfort 2, 85-83. Stay tuned for the final quarter!

Both teams lobbed glowing orange shots into the air like Kilauea spitting chunks of molten rock on the island next door. And just like a lava flow consuming a parked sports car, the Arctics absolutely could not be stopped, overtaking slowly but inevitably the Kahunas' lead. The Kahunas' starters, having been on the court for most of the game, were looking spent as time wore down. A bright spot for the home squad came in the form of rookie Charles Dofri, the kangaroo bigfur cracking double digits from his slot on the bench. Towering Tate only sank two shots in the quarter, though he did haul in an impressive 7 rebounds, pushing his total on the night to 15, triple the total of his horned Alaskan counterpart, Ogun Okayu. It was Okayu, however, who got the most crucial honors of the night, sinking a free throw with only 5 seconds left to put the Arctics up by one. The Kahunas subsequently regained possession and, as the buzzer sounded, Cross-Kiraly lobbed one final desperate shot from half-court... only to see it ricochet harmlessly off the backboard and away. As the announcer called out the final score of 115-114, and with it the disappointing end to another season, Cross-Kiraly sank to the floor looking as though he were actively considering a dip in the Big Island crater. With a hard-fought 4-0 sweep, the Arctics become the first team this year to advance to the second round.

This is Samson St. James, signing off from Honolulu.

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