HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
La Pietra's Sarah Peoples beat KS-Hawaii's Charven Rodrigues, Jamie Mattos and Sierra Gacayan to the ball last night.
Warriors slow it up to dispatch the Panthers
Kamehameha-Hawaii went into "slow motion" to give itself a shot to defend its Division II state championship.
Warriors senior Leilani Galdones scored a game-high 20 points to lead the second-seeded Warriors to a 55-41 win over No. 3 La Pietra in the semifinals of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball Division II State Championships last night at McKinley Gym.
Kamehameha-Hawaii, the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion, advances to face top-seeded Kalani for the state title tonight.
Tip-off is scheduled for 8 at McKinley.
La Pietra faces St. Francis in the third-place game at 6 p.m.
La Pietra started three players 5-foot-10 and taller last night, and Kamehameha has no one over 5-8 on its roster.
The Warriors countered the Panthers' height by spreading the court -- pulling La Pietra's post players away from the basket -- and taking time off the clock before attacking the basket.
The strategy took advantage of KS-Hawaii's ball-handling ability and played into Galdones' strengths, as she repeatedly drove into the lane for scores.
Jamie Mattos added 13 points for the Warriors, who shot 46 percent from the field.
"You may think of it as a stall, but it's a slow-motion offense," KS-Hawaii coach Kimo Miller said.
"We can't match up height for height, so the further we can pull them away from the basket and attack the better."
The Panthers rallied from a 15-point third-quarter deficit against Aiea on Wednesday to reach the semifinals and faced a similar deficit last night.
But KS-Hawaii's slow-down strategy and 20 turnovers hampered La Pietra's comeback hopes last night.
"When they isolated on defense, they were able to get around us," La Pietra coach Anthony Czaja said. "I think their style was to get our big girls on the perimeter and make them defend like guards. We talked to our girls about doing that before the game and for the most part I really think they stepped up and played to what we needed. But I think (Kamehameha-Hawaii) is just a really tough team."
Junior Courtney Gaddis scored 12 of her 15 points in the second half to lead the Panthers. Megan Berardy added 10.
KS-Hawaii held La Pietra to one field goal in the second quarter to take a 24-17 lead into halftime, then took control by hitting its first five shots of the second half.
Three steals on the defensive end fueled the Warriors' 10-2 run and KS-Hawaii opened up a 34-19 lead when Sierra Gacayan swiped a pass and fed Galdones for a layup.
The Warriors maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way to set up a reunion between Miller and Kalani coach Darold Imanaka, who once coached together at Punahou.
"It's similar styles -- we both like to run, we like to press," Miller said. "Darold and I good friends for a long time, so it should be a good game."
At McKinley H.S. gym
|La Pietra (13-2)
LA PIETRA--Charity Caracol 0, Katie Nakamura 0, Sarah Peoples 0, Leah Kaina 2, Chelsea Kiyabu 0, Ashanti Shih 8, Christen Hirai 0, Courtney Gaddis 15, Tihon Nguyen 0, Jasmine Kimura 0, Megan Berardy 10, Megan Giles 6.
KAMEHAMEHA-HAWAII--Kanisha Bello 5, Leilani Galdones 20, Bryanna Delima 0, Wikolia Enos 0, Cassidy Cabel 0, Jamie Mattos 13, Charven Rodrigues 2, Lisa Yang 4, Carissima Naki 2, Kamaile Allen 4, Sierra Gacayan 5.
3-point goals--La Pietra 2 (Gaddis 2). Kamehameha-Hawaii 2 (Galdones, Mattos).
HHSAA Division II girls
At McKinley H.S. gym
1. Kalani. 2. Kamehameha-Hawaii. 3. La Pietra. 4. Seabury Hall.
Game 1: Aiea 56, Molokai 38
2: St. Francis 52, Hawaii Prep 36
3: Word of Life 52, Kapaa 49
4: Castle 44, Hawaii Baptist 41
5: Kapaa 34, Hawaii Prep 25
6: St. Francis 64, Seabury Hall 43
7: Kamehameha-Hawaii 54, Castle 42
8: La Pietra 40, Aiea 36
9: Kalani 64, Word of Life 41
10: Molokai vs. Hawaii Baptist, 12:45 p.m.
11: Seabury Hall vs. Word of Life, 2:30 p.m.
12: Aiea vs. Castle, 4:15 p.m.
13: St. Francis vs. Kalani, 6 p.m.
14: La Pietra vs. KS-Hawaii, 8 p.m.
15: Game 10 winner vs. Kapaa, 2:30 p.m.
16: Winners of Games 12 & 11, 4:15 p.m.
17: Losers of Games 14 & 13, 6 p.m.
18: Winners of Games 14 & 13, 8 p.m.