HHSAA GIRLS BASKETBALL DIVISION I
Punahou puts away Kahuku
Mike Taylor's mantra hasn't changed in three weeks, which is precisely when the Punahou Buffanblu turned their season around.
With his team down early, 9-4 to Kahuku, in last night's state tourney quarterfinals, the coach said everything necessary in the space of a few seconds.
"He threw the board down and wrote, 'Determination,' " Shawna-Lei Kuehu said.
The reminder worked, as Punahou rallied to rout Kahuku 60-36 last night in the quarterfinals of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball Division I State Championships at Stan Sheriff Center.
"I'm really proud," Taylor said. "We didn't come out with a lot of determination, but we have 15 girls who can bring it with passion and aggression.
Just two months ago, Kahuku pushed Punahou into overtime before losing by a basket. This time, there was no drama.
"As far as I can see, they're the best team in the state," Kahuku coach Val Anae said.
Kuehu dominated as the Buffanblu jumped to a 21-point first-half lead.
"She started hitting shots, getting some isolations, getting to the line," Taylor said.
Kuehu led Punahou (10-2) with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Sophie Merrifield, benefiting from Kahuku's collapsing defense, also shot well and finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
Punahou outrebounded Kahuku 38-28 and hit four 3-pointers in eight attempts. Elizabeth Abe hit two treys and tallied eight points. Ciana Aiwohi also had eight points.
The Buffanblu, champion of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, will face Konawaena in a semifinal.
"We've gotta be real disciplined," Taylor said. "Konawaena is disciplined. They pass and move at the right time.
"We've gotta know where Jazzy (Awa-Williams) is at all times. We need to keep (Mana) Hopkins and (Leesa) Deniz off the boards, and (Haunani) Liftee and the Hanatos (Kara and Liana Hanato-Smith) showed in the Kalaheo game they can hit the outside shot."
Kahuku (12-6), the third-place finisher in the Oahu Interscholastic Association, will battle Lahainaluna in a consolation matchup.
Christine Meredith paced the Lady Raiders with 12 points and six rebounds. Punahou's swarming defense limited Artevia Wily to nine points (2-for-11) and Camilla Ah-Hoy to just seven.
For Punahou, which had not played in nearly two weeks since the end of the ILH regular season, it was a rousing way to begin the tourney. Punahou's fullcourt press exposed Kahuku, which committed 15 turnovers before intermission and finished the game with 33 giveaways.
"In the first quarter, we played basketball," Anae said. "Second quarter, we broke the press, but our girls didn't go to the hole.
"It's hard to explain. We don't practice like that, but give all the credit to Punahou. They kept pressing and never let up."
Kuehu was unstoppable in the first half, both in halfcourt sets and in transition. The 5-foot-9 sophomore scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and also dished out four assists as Kahuku tried to double-team her in the low post.
Merrifield scored eight points in the first half, including back-to-back perimeter shots that sparked a 20-1 run.
Punahou led 35-14 at halftime and won going away.
Kahuku shot 30 percent from the field (12-for-40).
KAHUKU--Camilla Ah-Hoy 7, Lenora Nauahi 2, Ane Vea 2, Lily Latu 0, Crystal Manguba-Glover 0, Artevia Wily 9, Nicole Nautu 0, Kaimi Ah Puck 2, Keisha Moeai 0, Salote Livai 2, Christine Meredith 12, Brittany Fesolai 0, Kendra Moe 0.
PUNAHOU--Ciana Aiwohi 8, Elizabeth Abe 8, Rebecca Lau 1, Melanie Feldman 0, Lauren Tompkison 1, Dara Tompkison 3, Cristen Aona 1, Shawna-Lei Kuehu 15, Mahina Macfarlane 2, Shaena-Lyn Kuehu 3, Janelle Nomura 2, Sophie Merrifield 10, Chelsea Deptula 5, Devon Yamauchi 0, Taj'a Wong 1.
3-point goals -- Punahou 4 (Abe 2, Aiwohi, Merrifield).
Honokaa 33, Kamehameha 26
The Big Island champions came through with two of coach Daphne Honma's basic tenets in the final minutes to pull out a tough win over the previously hot Warriors.
Wila Lavea scored seven of her 10 points in the second half to power Honokaa (13-1) into the semifinals. Lavea, a 5-foot-11 senior, helped the Dragons secure an edge on the boards, especially after Honma gave her team a staunch reminder.
"We had to rebound. Kamehameha was getting too many second chances," Honma said of the Warriors' 16 offensive boards. "Free throws and layups, if we do those, we're happy."
Lavea shot 6-for-8 from the line, including four in a row during a pivotal stretch in the third quarter.
"We played hard, but we weren't able to match their intensity," Kamehameha coach Clay Cockett said. "They showed us a different level of intensity. If we make our free throws and block out a little better, we'd be right there at the end."
KAMEHAMEHA--Miki Nakamura 4, Johanna Sai 0, Analee Viena Lota 8, Tatriana Lorenzo 9, Leah Godinet 0, Kauiokeola Todd 4, Rhani Kaneaiakala 1.
HONOKAA--Kara Feliciano 0, Joliese DeMello 0, Sythea Frazier 0, Nicole Cann 0, Keisha Kanekoa 9, Kawehi Correa 1, Jessika Lorenzo 11, Jamaika Lorenzo 2, Wila Lavea 10, Lauwa'e Ablao 0, Whitney Acdal 0.
3-point goals -- Honokaa 3 (Jes. Lorenzo 3).