Punahou, Kamehameha to meet
It's no secret what the key will be if No. 6 Punahou gets a chance to win its third consecutive state basketball championship.
"Defense," Punahou's Dara Tompkison said. "That's what we do best."
The junior guard combined with senior Chelsea Deptula for 11 of the Buffanblu's 16 steals and their up-tempo pressure defense forced 30 turnovers as Punahou defeated Mid-Pacific 43-26 last night in an Interscholastic League of Honolulu playoff game at McCabe Gym.
The Buffanblu will face No. 4 Kamehameha tomorrow night for the ILH's second state tournament berth at 7:15 at McCabe Gym. The Warriors took two of three meetings during the regular season between the two schools, but all three games were decided by five points or less.
"There's no mystery between us," Punahou coach Mike Taylor said. "We know each other so well by now that it's just a matter of coming out ready to play from the start."
Sophomore Tressa Torres led a balanced offensive attack with 10 points and was the only player in the game to finish in double figures. It was the Buffanblu's high-octane defense that was the story as they forced the Owls into two long droughts toward the end of each half that spelled the end of Mid-Pacific's (3-10) season.
"Every game is a championship game at this point and we brought it from the start," Tompkison said. "We're all on the same page and each one of us brings something a little different to the table."
Tompkison finished with seven points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists in the game and ignited the Buffanblu offense with two key baskets in the third quarter after taking an elbow to the face. The short-handed Owls, who have just eight players on the varsity team, kept the deficit within single digits until Tompkison's baskets that began an 18-4 run in the second half that put the game away.
Mid-Pacific took an 11-10 lead on a 3-pointer by Shanon Nishimura late in the first quarter, but it was the last field goal of the first half for the Owls as they began to tire against Punahou's suffocating defense.
The Buffanblu forced the Owls into 17 first-half turnovers and outscored them 13-2 over a 10-minute stretch to take a 23-13 lead at halftime.
"They did a superior job of keeping their hands out and moving their feet," Taylor said. "Usually we move our feet, but struggle with keeping our hands in on the defenders."
Johnnelle Kapua scored the last of her team-leading nine points 3 minutes into the second half to cut Punahou's lead to eight, but the Owls didn't get closer.
At McCabe Gym
MID-PACIFIC--Paige Young 0, Kayla Gomes 1, Johnnelle Kapua 9, Shanon Nishimura 3, Erin Nishimura 0, Jordan Kealoha 7, Keaton McFadden 4, Jenna Savusa 2.
PUNAHOU--Rebecca Lau 2, Melanie Feldman 5, Ilima-Lei McFarlane 2, Dara Tompkison 7, Erin Moon 2, Ashley Satterwhite 0, Janelle Nomura 7, Anna Merrifield 2, Chelsea Deptula 4, Devon Yamauchi 0, Taja Wong 0, Kysa Ludviksen 0, Tressa Torres 10, Tiera Jenson 2.
3-point goals--Mid-Pacific 2 (S. Nishimura, Kealoha), Punahou 0.
No. 4 Kamehameha 63, Maryknoll 53
Analee Viena-Lota scored all 18 of her points in the first half as the Warriors (11-2) held off a pesky Spartans squad.
Maryknoll senior Nicole Fu scored a game-high 30 points and kept the winless Spartans close throughout the game. Her 3-pointer with 2 minutes left in the first half gave Maryknoll a 28-27 lead, but the Warriors finished the quarter with six straight points to take a halftime advantage.
Viena-Lota missed all six of her second-half shots, but the Warriors dominated on the boards, outrebounding the smaller Spartans 31-22. Kamehameha pulled away in the fourth quarter, thanks to 3-pointers by Lindsey Wong and Tiana Abbey.
At McCabe Gym
MARYKNOLL--Kristen Canencia 8, Nicole Fu 30, Amanda Macadangdang 0, Kiana Fuller 0, Kimberly Henderson 3, Melissa Ching 2, Sam Chung 4, Soana Fifita 6.
KAMEHAMEHA--Pualei Furtado 9, Analee Viena-Lota 18, Pomai Kalakau 0, Shaleese Javillo 7, Lindsey Wong 7, Tiana Abbey 3, Rhani Kaneaiakala 5, Alex Akana 10, Kylle Roy 0, Casey Lum 4.
3-point goals--Maryknoll 5 (Fu 3, Canencia 2), Kamehameha 4 (Furtado 3, Wong).