Molokai moves on
POSTED: Friday, February 27, 2009
Molokai forward Kalei Adolpho scored 16 points, grabbed 25 rebounds and blocked seven shots to lead the Farmers over Kapaa 47-37 in the semifinals of the Division II portion of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships last night at Kalani High School.
Danna-Lynn Hooper-Juario, Molokai's junior point guard, chipped in a game-high 18 points and dished out three assists to help fourth-seeded Molokai, the Maui Interscholastic League Division II champion, advance to the tournament championship game tonight at 5 in the Blaisdell Arena.
"I didn't have the best game (Wednesday night), and I really took it to heart," said Adolpho of her squad's 35-30 win over University High in the quarterfinals. "I really thought about it, figured out what I had to do when I came out again, and tried to leave it all out on the court."
Both squads struggled offensively out of the gate as Molokai worked to beat Kapaa's fullcourt press, and the Warriors attempted to create fast-break opportunities against the Farmers' defensive unit. Molokai assistant Mike Hooper, Danna-Lynn's father, implored his team, which held a 10-9 lead after one period, to recognize and adjust to Kapaa's defensive scheme, instead of attacking aimlessly.
"They started to attack it the wrong way," said Hooper of his squad's struggles against the press, which led to Molokai committing 35 turnovers in the game. "But when they found out how to break it, they got a little more in control. We've got a young team, and for them to come out and do this, it was awesome."
Molokai (14-0) extended its lead to 20-13 at halftime thanks in part to a 6-0 run to end the second quarter. Adolpho dropped eight points in the half, converting four close-range shots in the paint as the 6-footer towered above the competition. The forward also added 11 rebounds and five blocks in the half, and helped the Farmers hold Kapaa to 15.8 percent shooting from the field through the opening two quarters.
Conversely, Kapaa's go-to scorer in Mai'lika Napoleon went 0-for-9 from the field in the first half, and missed four 3-point attempts.
"We just weren't hitting tonight, I thought we took some good shots, but they just weren't falling for us," said Kapaa coach Terry Maguire. "You have nights like that, and unfortunately, that night was tonight."
The Kauai Interscholastic Federation champion Warriors (10-1) came into the contest fresh off a 60-56 upset of top-seeded Kahuku on Wednesday night in the quarterfinals. Napoleon scored 20 points and Jondi Das added 17 as Kapaa dispatched a Red Raiders squad that currently ranks No. 7 in the Star-Bulletin Girls Basketball Top 10, a statewide poll of coaches and media.
But last night, Das led her squad with 11 points and Napoleon managed just two points after hitting one of 16 shots for the night. Not only did Molokai convert more field goals than the Warriors (18 baskets to 17), but the Farmers did so despite attempting 36 fewer shots in the game.
Winning the championship tonight would result in Molokai's first girls state basketball crown at any level.
"Just being in that game (tonight) is big already. It's more than any school could ask," Hooper said. "We're representing the small schools."
KAPAA—Leniaala McCabe 10, Jondi Das 11, Leihua McCabe 2, Mai'lika Napoleon 2, Victoria Tuttle 0, Jessilyn Artaho-Aki 6, Kira Nakamura 0, Layna Christian 0, Mahea Hanie-Grace 6, Kasa Pohiva 0, Shalyn Tupou 0.
MOLOKAI—Danna-Lynn Hooper-Juario 18, Kalei Adolpho 16, Puna Kawamae 0, Kylie Joe Mawae 4, Kaira Kaulia-Makaiwi 0, Jolenta Duvauchelle 4, Jamie Duvauchelle 5, Marissa Sterner 0.