Molokai makes history with first state crown


POSTED: Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Molokai girls basketball team asks a lot of Kalei Adolpho. The 6-foot-1 sophomore is fully expected to be the Farmers' go-to scorer, initiate the team's offense by setting ball screens on the perimeter, help against the full-court pressure and dominate the defensive paint.

But in yesterday's Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championship game against Kamehameha-Hawaii, the Farmers merely asked Adolpho to spearhead her team's fourth-quarter comeback by scoring the final five points, by blocking two potential game-winning layups in the final minute and by sealing the title victory at the free-throw line.

What, the water bottles didn't need filling, too?

“;She takes the challenge, every day in practice, every day we play a game, every day,”; said Molokai assistant coach Mike Hooper. “;She takes the burden, and she enjoys it. You can tell. It doesn't faze her.”;

Instead, Adolpho stunned the second-seeded Kamehameha-Hawaii Warriors with a frenetic 45-42 last-minute victory in Blaisdell Arena to earn the Division II title, the program's first in any team sport for girls. Adolpho powered her way to 21 points, 19 rebounds and six blocks while playing all 32 championship minutes.

“;Best feeling in the world,”; said junior guard Danna-Lynn Hooper-Juario, who tossed in 11 points. “;Dreams do come true.”;

That dream appeared to be shattered midway through the fourth quarter.

After the fourth-seeded Farmers fought to earn a four-point lead midway through the third quarter, the Warriors put on a stunning 14-4 run. Guard Kayla Lacaran-Costales, who finished with a team-high 19 points, nailed high-arcing back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers to give KS-Hawaii a six-point advantage heading into the final quarter. Her last 3-pointer, a buzzer beater that Kamehameha-Hawaii pushed the length of the court with three passes, gave the Warriors all the momentum.

But with just 2 minutes to go and Molokai trailing 42-40, Adolpho took over. She caught the ball in the post, drew a foul and made both free throws to tie the game. Kamehameha-Hawaii tried to milk the clock on the next possession, but when freshman guard Chelsea Poe saw an opening with a minute remaining, she drove into the lane, only to have her layup rejected by Adolpho's long right arm.

Teammate Kimberly Palea picked up the carom and tried to sneak a layup past Adolpho, but the sophomore center blocked her sixth shot of the game. And when senior guard Joelle Cabasa picked up the loose ball, Adolpho's presence forced a crucial turnover with 28.5 seconds to play.

“;She's tough,”; said Warriors coach Kalani Silva. “;She's very active on the boards. You can hardly block her out because of her agility. And she does a good job of using her body.”;

On the ensuing possession, Molokai pushed the ball up the floor quickly. Kylie Joe Mawae missed an open 7-foot shot on the wing, but teammate Jolenta Duvauchelle grabbed the weak-side rebound. Duvauchelle missed the layup, grabbed her own rebound and fired up another shot.

As Duvauchelle's miss hung in the air, Adolpho reached up over three Warriors and snared the rebound. She elevated again quickly and tossed in a picture-perfect, 4-foot shot that hit nothing but net with 9 seconds left.

“;I knew the score and I knew what we had to do to finish the game, which was tie the game, so I just tried my hardest to put it back in,”; said Adolpho in her typically understated way.

After a timeout, Kamehameha turned the ball over, and Adolpho went to the free-throw line to seal the game with 6.4 seconds left. She made the first free throw in a one-and-one situation, and that proved to be enough, as Cabasa's desperation 3-pointer rolled off the rim as the final buzzer sounded, crowning the Lady Farmers as the 2009 Division II state champs.

“;This is the biggest feeling of our lives,”; Hooper-Juario said. “;Our team always works for goals, and we knew that we could come out with a bang. We had a timeout, stuck together, and Coach just said, 'Go your hardest. This may be the last 2 minutes of your guys' lives in basketball. You'll never know when you'll get this chance, so go out and play hard and do what you can.'”;

What the Farmers did was knock off a traditional powerhouse—Kamehameha-Hawaii won Division II titles in 2005 and 2007—and crown a new program for its first state title. It is also the first girls basketball title for any program from the Maui Interscholastic League.

“;It didn't sink in yet,”; Hooper said with a wide smile. “;I cannot believe the Molokai Lady Farmers are state champions. When did you ever hear that? It's history.”;

Third place
Kaimuki 59, Kapaa 51
Fifth place
Kahuku 60, Maryknoll 54


Molokai 45, Kamehameha-Hawaii 42





































































































Warriors (12-2)
Team  4



Farmers (15-0)
Duvauchelle, Jo.4-70-03180329
Duvauchelle, Ja.0-21-22112331
Team  4

Key—fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; rb: rebounds; pf: personal fould; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.
Halftime—KS-Hawaii 19, Molokai 17
3-point goals—KS-Hawaii 3-8 (Lacaran-Costales 3-6, Poe 0-1, Cabasa 0-1).
Steals—KS-Hawaii 13 (Cabasa 5, Lacaran-Costales 2, Heaukulani 2, Paleka-Kennedy 2, Poe, Palea), Molokai 1 (Hooper-Juario). Blocked shots—KS-Hawaii 2 (Paleka-Kennedy), Molokai 6 (Adolpho 5, Mawae).
Officials—Lisa Mann, Chuck Martin, Anthony Carvalho. Attendance—1,687.