HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou's Shawna-Lei Kuehu hoisted a shot against Maryknoll's Sela Fisilau, left, last night.
Punahou fends off
For three quarters, Maryknoll had top-ranked Punahou on the ropes.
Fortunately, for the Buffanblu, there was no stopping Shanna-Lei Dacanay. The senior scored six of her game-high 18 points during a pivotal run as Punahou pulled away for a 52-46 win last night at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.
Punahou (11-1) improved to 2-0 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, thanks in part to Dacanay's steady play.
"It feels good to be the experienced one now, to be the one to settle them down and encourage them when they make mistakes," the senior guard said.
The Buffanblu committed 17 turnovers. Freshman center Shawna-Lei Kuehu finished with 11 points and seven rebounds despite sitting for long stints because of fouls.
"The beautiful thing is, if someone is in foul trouble, someone else can step up. And everyone else stepped it up," coach Mike Taylor said.
Sophie Merrifield added 10 points and three steals for the Buffanblu.
Nicole Fu scored 15 points to pace Maryknoll. Jessica Akamine added 10.
Maryknoll, which dropped a nonconference game to Punahou by 35 points a month ago, took some consolation in playing the defending league champion much, much tighter. Ranked No. 3 in the Star-Bulletin Girls Basketball Top 10, Maryknoll (10-2) is 1-1 in the league.
The Spartans shot 49 percent from the field (18 of 37), but only had two offensive rebounds. Punahou shot 52 percent (19 of 36) but made just 12 of 22 tries from the free-throw line.
Punahou's depth was a major factor. Taylor platooned his reserves and starters liberally through the first half, and the results paid off in the second half.
The Spartans were within 39-35 after a layup by reserve guard Kristie Watanabe late in the third quarter. Fatigue caught up with them, however. Punahou went on an 8-2 run, with Dacanay hitting an 18-footer from the corner, a 15-foot baseline jumper and a 16-footer.
Punahou led 47-37 with 6:08 remaining. Maryknoll got within 50-44 on a 3-point bomb by Fu with 44 seconds left, but got no closer.
"We knew. The kids know they can play with Punahou," Maryknoll coach Bobby Samson said. "It boils down to focus, a little bit of execution at the right time."
While Punahou rotated as many as 10 players, Maryknoll stuck with seven.
"Prime time is when you gotta suck it up," Samson said.
For three quarters, the visiting Spartans stood toe to toe with the running Buffanblu. Punahou's fullcourt press forced a fast tempo, and Maryknoll got a slew of easy baskets on the fast break. Tammie Andres fed Fu in transition to give Maryknoll its first lead, 20-19, midway through the second quarter.
The Spartans' largest lead was 24-21 after Andres hit a 14-foot baseline jumper. Akamine, a senior guard, was key in the first half with eight points and two steals.
At Hemmeter Fieldhouse
MARYKNOLL--Nicole Fu 15, Kristie Watanabe 4, Jessica Akamine 10, Tammie Andres 3, Kaulana Salangdron 0, Bowha Kang 2, Cheryl Lee 6, Sela Fisilau 6.
PUNAHOU--Ciana Aiwohi 5, Shanna-Lei Dacanay 18, Stacy Brossy 2, Lauren Tompkison 0, Dara Tompkison 0, Shawna-Lei Kuehu 11, Mahina Macfarlane 0, Shaena-Lyn Kuehu 2, Tessa Sonobe 2, Sophie Merrifield 10, Chelsea Deptula 0, Devon Yamauchi 2.
3-point goals--Maryknoll 1 (Fu), Punahou 0.