GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou's Janelle Nomura brought the ball up the court against Kamehameha's Shaleese Javillo last night at McCabe Gym. Punahou won and earned a trip to the state tournament. CLICK FOR LARGE
Punahou plays on
The defending state champions survive to get into the girls state basketball tourney
Punahou hit all six of its free throws in the final 30 seconds of extra play to outlast Kamehameha 50-47 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I tournament title game last night at McCabe Gym.
Punahou joins Iolani as the ILH's representatives in the HHSAA girls state tournament, and has a chance to extend its streak to three state titles in a row.
Kamehameha's Alexandres Joan-Akana forced overtime with a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left in regulation and finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots for the Warriors.
It wasn't enough to prevent Punahou from tying the season series with the Warriors at two.
After two made foul shots put the Buffanblu up by three with 2.9 seconds left, Kamehameha's desperation heave from halfcourt bounced high and left off the glass.
In the ILH Division II tournament final, La Pietra grabbed the ILH's final state tournament berth with a 47-28 rout of Hawaii Baptist.
Four players scored nine points for the Lady Panthers, led by Sarah Peoples' near triple-double of nine points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks.
Peoples played on two sprained ankles, including one she hurt during warm-ups before the game.
"It was painful, but I pushed through," said Peoples, a 6-foot-2 junior, after the game. "It's pulsing right now."
She averaged double figures in rebounds and blocks during La Pietra's regular season.
By force of will and defense, the Punahou Buffanblu have kept tradition alive.
Sixth-ranked Punahou rode the free-throw shooting of Dara Tompkison for a thrilling 50-47 overtime win over Kamehameha last night to seal a state-tournament berth.
The Buffanblu took the lead early in overtime and never relinquished it. Kamehameha pulled within 48-47 on two foul shots by Analee Viena-Lota with 4 seconds left, but Tompkison answered with two of her own free throws with 2.9 seconds to go.
Kamehameha's Alex Akana missed a 44-foot shot from midcourt as time expired.
The Buffanblu have qualified for the state tournament every year since 1994.
"We didn't want to be the first to break the streak," coach Mike Taylor said. "This is extra special for this group."
Three key players, including two-time state player of the year Shawna-Lei Kuehu, missed this season with ACL injuries.
"It's a credit to our kids and their parents," Taylor said.
Tompkison finished with 13 points, including 5-for-6 accuracy at the line in the extra period for Punahou (9-5). She also dished out four assists.
Sophomore guard Janelle Nomura racked up 17 points, her best scoring output since a midseason loss at Kamehameha.
"I just decided to take leadership in this game. We had early foul trouble. We needed people to attack," said Nomura, who scored 11 of her points after halftime.
Kamehameha ended the season at 11-4. Only two teams from the Interscholastic League of Honolulu qualified for the state tourney. Iolani claimed the league's seeded berth after winning the regular-season title in a tiebreaker game with Kamehameha.
"We played hard, we fought hard, but we didn't fight smart," longtime Warriors coach Clay Cockett said.
The Warriors had to rally in the second quarter with a 12-0 run to take a 25-21 lead going into the half. They extended the lead to 38-30 early in the fourth quarter after Viena-Lota warmed up with her second 3-pointer and a baseline jumper.
However, Punahou, which discarded its fullcourt press after halftime, came back with a 10-0 run to take the lead. Part of that came after some tough shot attempts by the Warriors.
"We weren't taking good shots. We wanted them to attack the basket, but they're shooting bombs," Cockett said. "Punahou is very disciplined. They're not big, but they're a much faster team than us."
Down 41-39, Akana sank two free throws with 17 seconds left in regulation to tie the game.
Nomura drove into the paint, missed a tough layup, and then saw her follow shot spin out as the regulation buzzer sounded.
Chelsea Deptula's free throw with 2:27 remaining gave Punahou a 42-41 lead and the charity work kept coming. All nine of Punahou's overtime points came at the line (9-for-14).
"Maybe at halftime we were a little worried," Nomura admitted. "But Coach Mike fired us up. He made it a do-or-die game."
Kamehameha won two earlier regular-season games by scores of 55-54 (overtime) and 49-44. Punahou won its home game with the Warriors, 47-43.
Akana, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, led No. 4-ranked Kamehameha with 17 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Viena-Lota finished with 13 points and three assists.
At McCabe Gym
PUNAHOU--Rebecca Lau 2, Melanie Feldman 6, Ilima Macfarlane 2, Dara Tompkison 13, Erin Moon 0, Janelle Nomura 17, Anna Merrifield 0, Chelsea Deptula 5, Devon Yamauchi 0, Taj'a Wong 0, Tressa Torres 3, Tiera Jenson 2.
KAMEHAMEHA--Pualei Furtado 4, Analee Viena-Lota 13, Shaleese Javillo 4, Lindsey Wong 2, Tiana Abbley 0, Alex Akana 17, Kylle Roy 2, Casey Lum 5.
3-point goals -- Punahou 3 (Tompkison 2, Nomura), Kamehameha 2 (Viena-Lota 2).