Rams respond to top Falcons
The words of some observers had the Lady Rams of Radford seeing red.
Ignited by the less-than-flattering predictions by TV broadcasters, Radford used a stifling defense to smother fifth-ranked Kalani 39-38 last night in the semifinals of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red playoffs.
The Lady Rams, the top seed from the Red West, will battle Roosevelt in tomorrow night's title game.
Kalani was ice-cold from the floor all night, but had opportunities down the stretch. Down 39-37 with 1:01 left, Courtney Gaddis made one foul shot, only to miss the second.
Moments later, after a Radford turnover, Kalani got the ball back. Megan Kamehiro and Gaddis missed open 3-point tries and Radford's Bui Baravilala rebounded.
Fouled with 3 seconds left, she missed the front end of her 1-and-1, but retrieved her own rebound to end Kalani's comeback hopes.
Baravilala surged to a team-high 12 points, including a key transition bucket in the fourth quarter, to pace Radford (13-1). Ta Nitra Byrd, a 6-foot freshman, had nine points, 12 rebounds and four assists as the Rams won their 13th game in a row.
"I told the girls that the TV guys, Russ (Shimooka) and Bob (Hogue) had said last week we couldn't play with teams like Roosevelt and Kalani," Radford coach David Lane said.
The ninth-ranked Rams responded.
"We came in as the underdog," Byrd said. "Everybody said Kalani would blow us out. The media said the West couldn't handle the East."
The physical nature of the game allowed the sturdy Rams to employ a chest-to-chest, man-to-man defense that shut down Kalani's normally prolific sharpshooters. Kalani shot just 13-for-47 from the field (27 percent), including 1-for-19 during a long stretch in the second half.
The Lady Falcons shot only 40 percent from the free-throw line (10-for-25).
"We had an off night," Kalani coach Darold Imanaka said. "The kids are resilient. We'll be fine."
Kalani had already sealed a berth in the state tournament. Gaddis led the Lady Falcons (11-3), the second seed out of the Red East, with 14 points. Eleven of those came in the fourth quarter as Kalani mounted a rally.
Radford, which had lost at Kalani in a nonconference game two months ago, was wobbly at the start. Kalani's press, which forced 22 turnovers, dominated the first 12 minutes. After Gaddis drove for a layup midway through the second quarter, Kalani had a 22-11 lead and total control.
Or so it seemed.
Radford caught its stride and closed out the half with five points in a row, then took a 25-24 lead late in the third quarter on a bucket by Baravilala off a pass from Byrd.
By the time Radford's 18-3 run was done, the lead was up to 29-25 entering the final quarter. After Brittni Fuller scored underneath off a feed from Byrd, Baravilala drove from halfcourt for a fast-break basket, and the Lady Rams had their biggest lead at 34-27 with 3:31 to play.
The cold-shooting Falcons warmed up in the final 3:25. Gaddis and Kamehiro hit foul shots, and Rhianna Farm's shot in the low post brought Kalani within 36-32 with 2:27 left, but Byrd answered with a drive to the bucket for a three-point play.
After Radford turnovers, Gaddis hit a pair of mid-range jumpers to pull the Falcons within 39-37 with 1:01 remaining, but they got no closer.
"Brittney and Bui stepped it up on defense," Lane said, noting their work against Kamehiro. "We spent a lot of time working on our press-breaker for this game. We made free throws and they didn't. If they make just a few more, we couldn't play in the championship game."
At McKinley H.S. gym
KALANI--Chloe Martin 0, Violet Alama 4, Allison Neussl 2, Kim Cabuyadao 2, Chelsea Kimura 0, Megan Kamehiro 6, Kacie Gushiken 3, Rhianna Farm 7, Courtney Gaddis 14.
RADFORD--Leslie Lazo 0, Itali Lindsay 0, Bui Baravilala 12, Disa Brown 0, Marlena Malepeai 6, Brittni Fuller 8, Kiara Dykes 2, Chelsea-Ann Villanueva 2, Ta Nitra Byrd 9.
3-point goals--Kalani 2 (Kamehiro, Gushiken), Radford 0.
Roosevelt 29, Farrington 18
Iwalani Rodrigues scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Rough Riders broke open a tight game in the fourth quarter.
Third-ranked Roosevelt (13-1) trailed 18-16 after Farrington guard C'ani Kealoha drilled a 15-footer and a 3-pointer before the end of the third quarter.
After a tongue-lashing by coach Bobby Keanini, the Rough Riders dominated the final quarter.
"I wasn't worried," Rodrigues said. "Our shots weren't going in like they usually do, but I have faith in our team and we were playing good defense. I knew we could score off our transition."
Rodrigues scored on a backdoor pass from Dianna Zane before Tiana Sugui gave Roosevelt a 21-18 lead on a 3-point bomb. That set off a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter, though Sugui suffered a right ankle injury with 4 minutes left.
Kealoha and Deja Bryce led Farrington (10-5) with five points each in the defensive struggle.
Now the Rough Riders can focus on OIA title opponent Radford.
"You have to go out there and ball, and that's what we did," Rodrigues said. "We want back-to-back East."
Roosevelt ended Farrington's five-game win streak. Both teams had already qualified for the state tournament.
Point guard Zane had three steals and three assists to spark the Rough Riders.
"We weren't getting into our flow offensively, not making the defense work," she said. "But we were able to pick it up."
Roosevelt has given Farrington three of its five losses in OIA play.
At McKinley H.S. gym
FARRINGTON--C'ani Kealoha 5, Jorell Telefoni-Sablan 4, Macilee Moi 0, Elaine Leaupepe 2, Deja Bryce 5, Valerie Lesu 0, Angie Gasio 0, Polohiva Folaumahina 0, Sina Otineru 2.
ROOSEVELT--Dianna Zane 1, Tiana Sugui 3, Iwalani Rodrigues 18, Jayna Tasaka 0, Shandree Armstead 0, Tiyana Nakasone 3, Tasia Kamakawiwoole 4, Kaui Kuehu 0.
3-point goals--Farrington 2 (Kealoha, Bryce), Roosevelt 1 (Sugui).
Kahuku 50, Aiea 44
Taeja Afalava scored a game-high 19 points as the Red Raiders defeated Na Alii to gain a state-tournament berth.
Natasha Helsham led Aiea with 15 points in a losing effort.
At Kahuku H.S. gym
AIEA--Tasha Johnson 0, Jennifer Yuen 8, Natasha Helsham 15, Michelle Shiroma 4, Nohelani Fonoti 0, Tierra Tauanuu 1, Emily Tausaga 7, Carol Sio 4, Capri Holiona 5.
KAHUKU--Taeja Afalava 19, Brittney Fesolai 7, Kelcy Latu 0, Krystle Manguba-Glover 5, LeNora Nauahi 0, Vaimalama Tito 4, Nicole Nautu 0, Alayna Galeai 4, Kenra Moe 3, McVeen Ale 8.
3-point goals -- Aiea 4 (Helsham 2, Yuen, Tausaga), Kahuku 1 (Moe).
Moanalua 50, Kalaheo 35
Brianna Lagat-Ramos, Hoku Dela Cruz and Jamie Ronolo scored 10 points each as Na Menehune defeated the Mustangs to earn a state berth.
Na Menehune face the Red Raiders for fifth place.
Shanadee Canon led Kalaheo with 19 points.
At Moanalua H.S. gym
KALAHEO--Nicole Cobb 0, Delicia Wilson 4, Sola Williams 0, Caira Pires 5, Angela Wozniak 0, Anu Ahyun 2, Shanadee Canon 19, Kourtni Thomas 0, Kaua Cale 0, Aui Williams 5.
MOANALUA--Brianna Lagat-Ramos 10, A.J. Verdida 0, Hoku Dela Cruz 10, Michelle Hardy 5, Jalencia Brown 0, Janelle Uncangco 9, Jamie Ronolo 10, Indah Widyakusuma 0, Britni Ronolo 6, Tahirah Gibson 0.
3-point goals -- Kalaheo 1 (Canon), Moanalua 3 (Dela Cruz, Uncangco, J. Ronolo).