HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Iolani wins ILH title and secures berth in states
Iolani coach Jenic Tumaneng knew exactly how to prepare his team for yesterday's season-ending showdown with the Buffanblu.
The Raiders spent all week practicing a drill where they would have to convert three straight sideouts before rotating.
"We have a philosophy of going on runs of at least three points," Tumaneng explained. "I thought that might be the key for us."
Trailing 13-7 in the decisive third game, the Raiders played exactly as they practiced.
No. 1 Iolani went on four different scoring runs of at least three points to come back and stun the Buffanblu 25-15, 21-25, 25-21 yesterday at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.
Iolani (15-0) completed a perfect regular season and clinched a state-tournament berth by winning the ILH regular-season title outright.
"It comes down to how we practice and (Tumaneng) had us prepared for exactly what we needed to do," Iolani setter Malie Yoon said. "We practiced that drill all week long and its how we took them down."
Yoon spread the ball around evenly to a wide array of weapons. Leinani Keanini, as she normally does, led the Raiders with 10 kills, but Lauren Minkel added eight kills and Chelsea Hardin had seven.
Iolani looked like it was going to run away with the match as it dominated Game 1, winning by 10 points. The Buffanblu had more errors (nine) than kills (eight) in the opening game.
"We just had too many errors early," Punahou coach Jim Iams said. "Our girls just didn't make the plays they needed to make to win."
Anuhea Keanini got the Buffanblu back into the game by putting down seven of her match-high 14 kills in the second game to even it at one game apiece.
That's when the real fun started.
Anuhea Keanini and middle blocker Charlotte Fonua put down three kills each to help Punahou jump out to a 13-7 lead in Game 3, forcing Tumaneng to call a timeout.
"He told us they weren't going to give it to us," Yoon said. "He said we just needed to trust in each other and execute like how we practiced."
A net violation got the Raiders going, as Iolani won the next six points to tie the game at 13. Punahou jumped ahead by three, but again, Iolani went on another three-point burst to tie it at 18.
Juliana Behrens put the Buffanblu back up one with a kill, but Iolani scored the next three points to make it 21-19. Punahou eventually closed it to 22-21 on Fonua's 10th kill of the match, but Iolani pulled it out on a dump shot from Yoon and back-to-back errors by the Buffanblu.
"We had success when we got some long rally's going which gave us a chance to win some points," Iams said. "We just couldn't make enough plays at the end."
Punahou can still clinch a spot in the state tournament by winning the ILH postseason tournament.
The Raiders won't play in it by virtue of winning the regular-season title, but will play a one-game playoff with the tournament winner for the overall ILH championship.
"We might see them again or have another showdown with Kamehameha," Tumaneng said. "Either way we still have a lot of work left to do."