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It’s not often Afatia Thompson lines up and pounds the rock from the left pin.

Thompson, a 6-foot-1 junior who starts at opposite, relished the chance on Friday, racking up 10 kills as Punahou swept Kamehameha-Hawaii 25-14, 25-12, 25-23 on the opening day of the Clash of the Titans at Punahou’s Hemmeter Fieldhouse. Most of his swings were from the left side.

“I like the left. It feels more natural,” Thompson said. “Coach Rick (Tune) always talks about how much depth we have. It’s always good to have that many kids on the bench who are good. They can just come in and take anyone’s spot like nothing.”

Punahou deployed a number of reserves as starters, and had some starters playing different positions. Elijah Smith had three kills in addition to seven assists while playing opposite and his normal setter position.

Sophomore Nalu Akana had two aces to go with 14 assists and one kill.

Sophomores Cameron Porter and Nahua Lloyd made an impact immediately. Porter had three kills and three aces in the opening set. He finished the match with six kills and five aces. Porter is the younger brother of starter Evan Porter.

“Last year, I said watch out for my little brother,” Evan Porter said.

Cameron Porter’s explosiveness was an eye-opener.

“Coach let everybody play, had different lineups,” the younger Porter said. “Everyone’s playing well. We have good practices. Everybody can get on the court and play defense.”

Lloyd, a 6-foot-3 middle, had three of his six kills in the first set. He finished with two blocks.

The Buffanblu also got five kills from Hunter Erickson, and three kills and an ace from Brody Badham. Terrin Jamrog tallied three kills and a block as Tune got contributions from his entire roster.

Kamehameha-Hawaii played without 6-4 outside hitter Kullen Pua, who is visiting colleges on the mainland this weekend.

“It’s a good opportunity. That’s why we like having the invitation to come here and play at this tournament, at a speed we don’t normally see on the Big Island,” Warriors coach Sam Thomas said. “We got lickens in the first two sets. Rick had a lot of subs in the third set, but it’s about us, not who we’re playing, what we’re going to become in the future.”

The Warriors got five kills each from Nainoa Paio and Kahili Paleka. Kahaiolelo Helm added four kills, while Kalena Launiu dished nine assists and Jayson Nakata had seven assists.

“I like how Kala (Maka‘ike) stepped in and did a great job. He was just really aggressive, which is what we’ve been trying to get across to the rest of the team. Hopefully, that’s something we can all learn from,” Thomas said. “With Kullen on his college visits, it gives other kids more opportunities to get more playing time. Kala stepped up big time. I’m proud of him.”

Carlsbad 3, Moanalua 1

In another morning matchup, the Lancers outlasted Na Menehune 25-16, 30-28, 13-25, 27-25. Their 6-11 junior middle, Hawaii commit Roman Payne, was unstoppable down the stretch as the Lancers opted to rely on the athletic giant.

“First and second set, we came out with a lot of fire. We’re excited to be in Hawaii playing. Third set, we tried to get some of our other guys in. We lost that set. We came back. They had a lot of energy, but we had more,” Payne said.

He may be young, but Payne found UH’s business school appealing, among many key factors.

“I love the coaching staff, the players. I like how they recruit from overseas. Just a great program in general,” Payne said. “They just built a new weight room and I heard they’re getting a new locker room this summer. I just love everything about it. I got to tour the business school and that was amazing, as well. I love this atmosphere. The fans are amazing. Everything about this school is perfect. I also love the beach and the weather here.”

Payne has other options, including UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. He’s looking forward to the experience of being a Warrior.

“Four years is just enough time. Hopefully, I can stay here and live here when I’m older,” he added. “UH just stands out. They caught my eye.”

Carlsbad is 17-6 overall, ranked No. 19 nationally by MaxPreps.com.

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