Kahuku runs past Kaimuki for title


POSTED: Friday, February 20, 2009

After three earlier thrillers with the Kaimuki Bulldogs, the Kahuku Red Raiders decided to snuff the drama in their fourth meeting.

Eighth-ranked Kahuku used a pivotal 11-point run late in the third quarter to run past the tired Bulldogs 61-48 and capture the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference girls basketball championship last night.

Lama Tito and Jessica Falemalu led a balanced attack with 10 points each for Kahuku (20-2 overall, 13-1 OIA White). Jovan Falemalu had eight points and 11 boards, while Te'o had nine rebounds and Hi'ilei Cummings added seven caroms.

Olivia Phommachanh led Kaimuki (16-8, 12-4) with 19 points, but was limited to seven in the second half. Reserve guard Tanya Villanueva added 11 points, and Dejah Fa'asoa and Ashley Fortson had six rebounds each for the 'Dogs, who were a half-step slow after playing Kaiser just 24 hours earlier. A win by Kaimuki would have given Kahuku its first loss in the double-elimination format, forcing a title game.

Instead, the Bulldogs shot 33 percent from the field (19-for-57) and just 36 percent from the foul line (5-for-14). Kahuku didn't shoot well, either, at 36 percent from the field (25-for-70) against a 2-3 zone, but outboarded Kaimuki 45-34. Sixteen of Kahuku's caroms came off the offensive glass.

A crowd of about 800 at McKinley Student Council Gym saw Kaimuki stay close for nearly three quarters. Down eight points, Villanueva scored on a drive and again on a fast break to spark a mini-run that brought the 'Dogs within 36-33 with 3:54 left in the third. After a TV time out, Kahuku went on its run.

“;There's no rest for the weary,”; Kahuku coach David Te'o said. “;That's the time to make a move. They're tired and it's time for us to put the pressure on.”;

Jovan Falemalu hustled for a follow shot, Cummings' steal led to a layup, Nile Te'o hit a mid-range jumper and Jessica Falemalu drained a 3-pointer. After Rachel Tailele drove for one of her tough buckets in traffic, the Red Raiders led 47-33 with 1:33 to go in the third.

That was all the Red Raiders needed.

“;We had to show who wanted it more,”; Jovan Falemalu said.

Kaimuki got within 49-41 when Letisha Fa'asoa knocked down a 3-pointer with 6:01 left, but Kahuku stretched the lead back to 13 and wasn't threatened again.

The Bulldogs hadn't played on back-to-back nights since early January.

“;I think it makes some difference. We don't have depth, so some girls have to play the whole game,”; Kaimuki coach Mona Fa'asoa said. “;The girls got tired chasing (Kahuku). It's tough to stay at that pace.”;

Kaimuki finished with 20 turnovers to Kahuku's 13.

Kahuku won their previous matchup last week, 58-55, to give Kaimuki its first loss in the double-elimination format. Kaimuki was victorious against the Red Raiders early in the regular season, but has lost three in a row since.


Kaimuki (12-4) 1213111248
Kahuku (14-1) 1119171461

KAIMUKI—Olivia Phommachanh 19, Pua Akaka 5, Sasha Tokuda 0, Brooke Borce 0, Tanya Villanueva 11, Dinishah Fa'asoa 1, Nikki Chipen-Ii 0, Letisha Fa'asoa 6, Dejah Fa'asoa 2, Leti Mikaele 0, Ashley Fortson 4, Lani Mikaele 0.

KAHUKU—Nile Te'o 8, Lama Tito 10, Temutisa Te'o 2, Lavinia Latu 6, Malia Tonga 0, Jessica Falemalu 10, Jovan Falemalu 8, Mahina Ernestburg 0, Rachel Tailele 9, Hi'ilei Cummings 8.

3-point goals—Kaimuki 5 (Phommachanh 2, L. Fa'asoa 2, Akaka), Kahuku 4 (Je. Falemalu 2, Tito, Latu).