HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS' BASKETBALL
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou's Shawna-Lei Kuehu drove to the basket through Mid-Pacific's Keri Nakamura, right, and Kristina Lin yesterday.
Punahou drops Mid-Pac
All things being equal, there's no stopping a true prime-time player.
Shawna-Lei Kuehu fit that role last night, scoring 11 of her 20 points during a pivotal third-quarter run as No. 2 Punahou outlasted ninth-ranked Mid-Pacific 45-29.
"It was a challenge for us. Coach (Mike Taylor) told us they'd come out real fired up," said Kuehu, who amassed fantasy-league type statistics with 14 rebounds, six steals and four blocked shots. She shot 9-for-15 from the field.
Reserve guard Chelsea Deptula stepped up with 15 points, making all four of her field-goal attempts and 7-for-8 from the foul line.
Despite 24 turnovers, Punahou improved to 5-1 in Interscholastic League of Honolulu play (16-1 overall). The Buffanblu's fullcourt traps and swarming halfcourt man defense continued to wreak havoc. They forced Mid-Pac into 21 giveaways and limited the Owls to 23 percent shooting (9-for-40) from the field.
Meghan Laughlin led Mid-Pacific with nine points and eight rebounds as the Owls dropped to 3-3 in league play (11-6 overall).
Before a boisterous home crowd, Mid-Pacific kept the margin extremely close in the first half and was down just five points early in the third quarter. Kuehu fueled a 13-3 run to give Punahou a comfortable lead.
"We practice like this. We haven't been practicing with consistency," Taylor said, praising his counterpart, Byron Cheng. "It's a credit to Byron. He gets his kids to play with so much energy and intensity. He always has, as far as I've known him."
Taylor gave kudos to Deptula and two guards, Mahina Macfarlane and Dara Tompkison.
"I'm proud of Chelsea's play. She was very inspirational. She gives it her all," he said. "Mahina did a heckuva job and had great assists. Dara was great at controlling the tempo."
Cheng, MPI's second-year coach, has already guided his team to an early-season upset of Kamehameha.
"We told the team that this was a good effort, but don't be satisfied," he said. "In crunch time, Punahou doesn't crack. The kind of defensive pressure they put on us, they disrupted shots, but we're getting good looks. A year ago, we were a much different team. That's where we're so proud of our team, just keeping that composure now."
Kuehu was composed, too. The 5-foot-9 sophomore was unstoppable in the third stanza. With her team clinging to a five-point lead, she scored on low-post power moves and even went coast to coast with a steal. Her robust effort boosted the Buffanblu to a 32-17 lead.
"Coach wanted us to get fired up," Kuehu said of a halftime talk by Taylor. "That's the challenge. You gotta face whatever comes up."
Mid-Pacific got into the bonus before the end of the third quarter, but failed to capitalize. The Owls shot just 8-for-15 from the line in the final 9 minutes, negating an opportunity to seize momentum. Frosty-cold shooting from the field also hurt. The Owls missed their first 13 shots in the fourth quarter.
They pulled within 35-27 on a pair of foul shots by Johnelle Kapua with 1:47 left, but Punahou put the game out of reach with free throws by Ciana Aiwohi, Shaena-Lyn Kuehu, Deptula and Shawna-Lei Kuehu.
At Mid-Pacific H.S. gym
PUNAHOU--Ciana Aiwohi 1, Elizabeth Abe 0, Rebecca Lau 0, Melanie Feldman 0, Dara Tompkison 3, Cristen Aona 0, Shawna-Lei Kuehu 20, Mahina Macfarlane 0, Shaena-Lyn Kuehu 5, Janelle Nomura 0, Sophie Merrifield 1, Chelsea Deptula 15, Devon Yamauchi 0, Taj'a Wong 0.
MID-PACIFIC--Keri Nakamura 2, Yuki Sei 0, Johnelle Kapua 8, Meghan Laughlin 9, Kristina Lin 5, Kylee Pedro 0, Crisi Nihipali 5.
3-point goals -- Punahou 1 (Tompkison), Mid-Pacific 1 (Lin).
Division II varsity girls
Christian Academy 55, Iolani 53
High scorers--CA: Ashley Medcalf 37, Jessica Benito 10. Iol: Elisa Asato 18, Chelsey Keola 12, Marissa Ma 12.
Wednesday's late Result
Pearl City 40, Leilehua 23
At Pearl City H.S. gym
|Pearl City (4-5)
LEILEHUA--Ivanca Ilab 0, Ashley Momiyama 0, Charlene Borromeo 0, Justina Mason 2, Brittaney Stafford 8, Isis Atualevao 6, Marquesha McVea 0, Joray Nacapuy 0, Mahela Punley 4, Jaslen Collado 0, Gabriella Pascual 3.
PEARL CITY--Desiree Luis 4, Kasie Kunishima 0, Lindsay Cartwright 4, Tiani Alatini 8, Channette Nakama 4, Tazha Passi 12, Kavai Markahm 2, Kaiona Auyong 6, Chelsea Baker 0.
3-point goals -- Pearl City 2 (Alatini 2).
Junior varsity -- Leilehua 30, Pearl City 27