Aiea topples Kalani


POSTED: Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Aiea had a crystal-clear view of the state tourney yesterday.

Crystal Tagudin saw to that, hitting the two biggest shots of her life, including a Jordan-esque, hanging reverse layup in the final 65 seconds, as Na Alii surprised Kalani 41-40 in the opening round of the Division I portion of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships at Farrington's Richard Kitamura Memorial Fieldhouse.

Tagudin finished with a team-high 12 points and added eight rebounds. Carol Sio overcame leg cramps to tally 10 points and 12 rebounds. Point guard Natasha Helsham added 10 points and nine boards before fouling out.

It was a relentless battle with 17 lead changes, but Kalani seemed to have control after Violet Alama hit a putback and Jamie Higa made a pair of free throws for a 38-37 lead with 1:28 remaining.

That's when Tagudin offered up a magical shot, driving the baseline and hanging in mid-air in front of the basket with Alama defending.

“;I thought Violet was gonna cap me. She capped me earlier,”; Tagudin said. “;I was praying for it to go in.”;

With her back to the basket, Tagudin flipped the ball into the air and it fell through the net perfectly.

“;I heard the crowd, then I seen the ball go in,”; she said. “;I was kind of shocked and happy at the same time.”;

That gave Aiea a 39-38 lead with 1:05 remaining, but Higa drove strong and scored to give Kalani a 40-39 edge with 32 seconds to go.

Against Kalani's fullcourt pressure, Aiea's Kaui Kuehu nearly lost control of the ball at midcourt, but regained possession and found Tagudin open on the right elbow. Tagudin took a dribble and hit a 12-foot pull-up jumper over Alama with 13 seconds left, and Na Alii had a 41-40 lead.

Kalani guard Ashlyn Onaga missed a tough 8-foot runner in traffic, and Sio rebounded with 2.1 seconds left. Sio missed both free throws, and Kalani called timeout on the rebound with 1.4 seconds remaining.

The inbounds pass, however, was tipped by Sio, and Kalani never got a final shot off.

Aiea (14-9) will face top-seeded Punahou tonight at Farrington. Kalani (12-10), ranked No. 10 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10, will resume play in the consolation bracket tonight.

Aiea became one of the few teams to truly slow down the run-and-gun Falcons, often chewing 1 to 2 minutes off the clock with each possession. It was a stunning finish for both teams. Kalani had beaten Aiea in December, 74-68, and again in the OIA playoffs, 71-51.

This time, coach Mike Yen's team took away most of Kalani's normally open looks from 3-point range. Aiea also converged on Alama in the low post.


Aiea (12-5)810121141
Kalani (9-9)108101240

AIEA—Natasha Helsham 10, Natasha Fong 5, Kaui Kuehu 1, Emily Tausaga 3, Carol Sio 10, Celeste Fong 0, Crystal Tagudin 12, Rayna Strom-Okimoto 0.

KALANI—Violet Alama 7, Hikaru Kumagai 0, Kelsie Maslanka 0, Tiffany Liao 0, Corie Kuia 1, Ashlyn Onaga 16, Kiera Iinuma 0, Kristi Belshe 2, Christine Sasano 0, Jamie Higa 14, Tiare Maafala 0.

3-point goals—Aiea none, Kalani 4 (Onaga 2, Higa 2).

Roosevelt 69, Waiakea 52
A 24-8 third-quarter blitz by the Rough Riders opened up what was a close battle between the OIA and BIIF runner-ups.

Mikela Thoemmes scored inside and out, finishing with 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting, as Roosevelt (17-10) advanced. Joshy Noga tallied 12 points and Thoemmes added 11 rebounds and key ballhandling as the Rough Riders dealt with Waiakea's pressure defense.

Nicole Ramirez scored 11 points and had eight boards for Roosevelt, which will face No. 4 seed Lahainaluna tonight at Farrington.

University of Idaho-bound Kanisha Bello led Waiakea (12-10) with 17 points and Kamie Imai added 14 points and 10 boards.

“;We knew they were big and that they would pack it inside. We weren't expecting Kela to be stepping out and shooting 3s,”; said Bello, who played with Thoemmes last year on the Hawaii Select team. “;She's a force.”;

Waiakea (12-10)121581752
Roosevelt (17-10)1418241369

WAIAKEA—Jamielynn Moe 2, Kanisha Bello 17, Kamie Imai 14, Amanda Hubbell 8, Tricia Amuimuia 0, Ciera Pacheco 4, Tracie Sakane 0, Alyssa Ferreira 7.

ROOSEVELT—Kelcie Namba 3, Nicole Ramirez 11, Abcde Furuta-Harata 3, Joshlyn Noga 12, Tasia Kamakawiwoole 5, Charisse Tanabe 2, Samantha Murakami 0, Kathleen Nakata 5, Rachel Gomes 2, Mikela Thoemmes 26, Ciera Kapea 0.

3-point goals—Waiakea 2 (Bello 2), Roosevelt 6 (Ramirez 3, Namba, Furuta-Harada, Thoemmes).


State Division II

University 51, Hawaii Prep 47
The Jr. Bows survived a 21-11 fourth-quarter run by Ka Makani to earn the victory.

Hawaii Prep (8-4)118721 47
University (12-1)1416101151

HAWAII PREP—Katie Ho 5, Cori Wang 2, Maya Chong 0, Leahi Lindsey 12, Desi Seid 0, Tayler Wang 24, Lana Queen 4.

UNIVERSITY—Melanie Cortez 8, Angie Yoshizu 15, Quynne Eharis 15, Melissa Cortez 0, Brooke Loveless 0, Pi'ilani Mahoe 3, Kaylenn Fitzgerald 0, Ruthie Tusi 10.

3-point goals—Hawaii Prep 6 (Lindsey 4, Ho, T. Wang), University 2 (Mahoe, Meli. Cortez).

Kaimuki 44, Seabury Hall 23
Olivia Phommachanh dominated the Bulldogs' first game in the tournament, scoring 18 points, including six 3-pointers in a win over the Spartans.

Seabury Hall (9-4)9734 23
Kaimuki (14-4)91215844

SEABURY HALL—Charlotte Burns 0, Lesley Smith 3, Sierra Jacob 11, Ariel Duell 2, Taylor Rudow 7, Katie Bettendorf 0, Allicia Imada 0, Samantha Sullivan 0, Brooke Sturdevant 0, Samantha Monge 0.

KAIMUKI—Olivia Phommachanh 18, Pua Akaka 0, Letisha Fa'asoa 5, Dejah Fa'asoa 4, Ashley Fortson 7, Sasha Tokuda 1, Brooke Borce 0, Tanya Villanueva 0, Dinishah Fa'asoa 2, Justell Arthur 0, Nikki Chipen-Ii 3, Brittney Anglin 0, Keana Paez 0, Leti Mikaele 4, Lani Mikaele 0.

3-point goals—Seabury Hall none, Kaimuki 8 (Phommachanh 6, De. Fa'asoa, Chipen-Ii).

Kaiser 44, Hawaii Baptist 43
Bailey Miller's clutch free-throw shooting with 5 seconds remaining held off the Eagles for the win.

Hawaii Baptist(10-6)219101243
Kaiser (12-6)7121015 44

HAWAII BAPTIST—Amber Au 0, Jennifer Young 4, Stefanie Sueda 0, Sharon Kim 0, Keline Yoshimura 9, Narissa Fujii 19, Reana Lee 2, Jordin Ramos 0, Jamie Iha 0, Kayla Yamamoto 7, Jami Grumling 0, Lyndsey Strach 2.

KAISER—Hailey Durham 8, Lijah Bowerman 0, Chelsy Okuma 4, Keely Bitanga 10, Krysta Yasui 1, Daryn Vorderbruegge 5, Celeste Tsutahara 0, Bailey Miller 16, Shelby Pa 0.

3-point goals—Hawaii Baptist 7 (Fujii 5, Yoshimura 2), Kaiser 3 (Miller 3).

Kapaa 59, St. Andrew's Priory 39
Leniaala McCabe scored 14 points and Jondi Das added 12 as the Warriors defeated the Pride.

St. Andrew's Priory (9-5)771015 39
Kapaa (9-0)1412181559

ST. ANDREW'S PRIORY—Minna Watanabe 15, Noelani Kawashima 11, Shelley Wong 10, Erika McCaskill 2, Rebecca Kelinschmidt 1.

KAPAA—Leniaala McCabe 14, Jondi Das 12, Leihhua McCabe 10, Mailika Napoleon 8, Victoria Tuttle 4, Jessilyn Artaho-Aki 4, Layna Christian 3, Ashlyn Lee 2, Mahea Hanie-Grace 2.