McKinley, Campbell in final showdown
McKinley coach Bob Morikuni was determined to make a few adjustments against the only team to fell the Tigers in the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Division regular season.
Combined with a new, vamped-up pressing defense, Morikuni encouraged his two-headed forward attack of Chelsie Sato and Pearly Togiai to post up and crash the boards at every opportunity against Waialua in a 65-45 OIA White semifinal win last night at Campbell.
McKinley will host White West top seed Campbell tomorrow in a battle of divisional regular-season champions for the overall league title.
Both McKinley, the White East champion, and Campbell -- a 48-27 winner over Kailua last night -- qualified for the state tournament with their semifinal victories.
The Tigers powered through for a 40-31 rebounding advantage, led by Sato (16 points, 17 rebounds) and Togiai (14 points, 10 rebounds), to fuel a 15-point halftime lead that ballooned to as many as 22 in the fourth quarter.
Sato and Togiai combined for 15 offensive rebounds.
"I just told all the girls, 'Let's put 'em away in the first half,' " said Sato, a senior.
Starters Jackie Tihano and Kylie Sato added 10 points apiece for McKinley.
The Bulldogs put together their best stretch coming out of the locker room. Speeding around the court with high energy to start the third, Waialua took advantage of a complacent-looking Tiger team for a 11-2 run to cut the deficit to 35-29.
Morikuni called timeout to refocus his team, and the Tigers countered with a decisive 14-1 run to put the game away.
"We had to play defense. Last time it wasn't too good," Morikuni said of his team's strategy going in.
Waialua dealt the Tigers (13-1) their lone regular-season loss, 43-32, on March 28.
"We're not bigger than most teams, but tonight we played like it," Morikuni said.
McKinley pressed relentlessly throughout, forcing 12 first-quarter turnovers and 30 for the game, compared to just 16 giveaways of their own.
The Bulldogs (7-6) noticed the top East seed's heightened desire for the ball.
"They improved a lot on the fullcourt press. Much better," said Waialua junior Kimberly Meyerowitz, who finished with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. "Last game we were full-on running."
Ashley Carillo added 10 points and nine rebounds and Brittney Basilio 10 for Waialua.
It was instead McKinley that dictated tempo this time; on offense, the Tigers pulled up and looked to pound the ball inside to their forward tandem of Sato and Togiai.
"We weren't boxing out," said Waialua coach Michele Sales with a sigh.
Sato got on a roll in the second quarter, crashing the boards for offensive rebounds and scoring 10 points in the period on a series of putbacks and layups. She sparked McKinley on a 9-2 run to close out the half and helped give the Tigers a 34-19 lead at halftime.
At Campbell H.S. gym
WAIALUA--Misty Maxwell 5, Chelsey Ramirez 3, Ashley Carillo 10, Kimberly Meyerowitz 17, Brittney Basilio 10, Klleirr Tuyay 0, Shiree Dela Cruz 0, Mikiala Leslie 0, Noe Dela Pena-Hoopai 0, Geena Pinacate 0.
MCKINLEY--Jackie Tihano 10, Pearly Togiai 14, Chelsie Sato 16, Kaitlyn Ikehara 5, Kylie Sato 10, Crystal Tafa'i 8, Jorina Faletoi 0, Jaelynn Lopez 0, Sasha Hong 0, Maribel Hebron 2.
3-point goals--Waialua 3 (Ramirez, Meyerowitz, Maxwell), McKinley 3 (Tihano 2, Ikehara).
Campbell 48, Kailua 27
Vai Confer came off the bench to score 12 points and lead the Sabers past the Surfriders in the OIA White Division semifinals at Campbell.
An extremely deliberate attack was not enough to propel Kailua past the White West top-seeded Sabers.
On its first two possessions of the game, Kailua swung the ball around the perimeter for minutes at a time. Campbell coach Nathan Macadangdang was relieved his team didn't fall behind against the slow-it-down approach.
"Every time we got the ball, we had to take good care of it," he said, referring to Campbell's zero turnovers in the first half. "I would have hated to be playing from behind to that (offense)."
Kristen Corrales and Ashley Jacobs scored eight apiece to lead Kailua.
At Campbell H.S. gym
KAILUA--Kristen Corrales 8, Tawny Kiko 0, Zsalei Kamaka 6, Ashley Jacobs 8, Kahea Chang 0, Agnes Faaleaoga 0, Netia Ulugaono 1, Chelsea Babylon 2, Pumehana Kanoa 0, Jarrish Mauhili-Kaneakua 2, Francine Sua-Godinet 0, Tianna McKeague 0, Miki Scott 0.
CAMPBELL--Cheyna Tagura 10, Amber Kaulia 4, Oli Kila 6, Aloha Dias-Kekahuna 4, Jenny Sweeney 8, Ipo Kila 4, Vai Confer 12, Shawny Vera Cruz 0.
3-point goals--Kailua 3 (Corrales 2, Jacobs), Campbell 1 (Tagura).