By Brian McInnis
After resting his shoulder and playing light minutes in National Fire Protection's previous College Summer League game in Manoa, Hawaii freshman forward Isaac Fotu came back with a vengeance on Saturday night.
Fotu went right at fellow frosh Caleb Dressler of Grantco Pacific, spinning around him several times to score inside on his way to a game-high 26 points. With Julian Sensley out of the lineup for Grantco, there was no interior answer at the other end and NFP (3-3) won in a 109-89 blowout.
Dressler, meanwhile, struggled to five points.
"I was jet-lagged all last week, but I'm feeling better now with all the (workouts) getting in and playing over here," Fotu said. "I'm used to playing against Caleb in practice ... I want to play with that aggression all the time now. Aggressive around the basket."
Late in the game, a clearly confident Fotu stepped out to hit some 15- to 17-foot jump shots.
"Once I got my confidence, I got out," he said. "(I play) mostly around the basket, but I've been working on my midrange a lot. I want to use it more ... it was feeling good. I just want to get better over this (summer). I'm nowhere near where I want to be. I'm working with Coach Gib Arnold over the summer to get better and hopefully have a big impact on the season."
Freshman walk-on Michael Harper picked up the scoring load for Grantco with Sensley out and had his best game, a 26-point outing. But despite 25 apiece from Geremy Robinson and James Francisco, Grantco (4-3) could not keep up and lost its third straight.
In the nightcap, junior guard Brandon Spearman put together his best outing in four games for Solar Universe (3-4), scoring 29 points and hitting the game-clinching free throws with 4.5 seconds left in a 109-104 win over Central Medical Clinic (3-3).
Spearman was at his all-around best, hitting a couple 3s, driving to the rim and throwing down a dunk or two. He got in the passing lanes defensively to collect a few steals.
"I've been kind of comfortable playing with the guys on Solar Universe, these are good guys," Spearman said. "And Coach (Artie Wilson) is a really good coach. I just came out here and gave it my all."
UH senior swingman Hauns Brereton was coming off back-to-back 40-plus scoring games for CMC, and not surprisingly had a target on his back. Summer veteran Derrick Low put the defensive clamps on Brereton and made him work for most of his 18 points.
"I told Hauns he wasn't going to score 40 on me," a grinning Spearman said. "I'm sorry, I got too much pride for that."
'Iolani and Colorado School of Mines alum Kyle Pape (35 points) trimmed the deficit to three late, but Solar closed it out with a solid defensive possession on which Spearman grabbed the board and was fouled to put the game away.
"On the defensive end we came out and showed everybody we could play defense," Spearman said. "We've been lacking on the defensive end ... we picked it up near the end."
Low added 24 points for Solar. UH point guard Jace Tavita showed off some range for CMC, hitting three 3-pointers straight at one point in the second half, and finished with 20 points.
The next summer league games aren't until next Thursday, 6 and 7:30 p.m., as usual at the Manoa District Park gym. UH's Manroop Clair and Brandon Jawato could shake off their ailments and be back in action then. Enjoy your weekends all.