Nomura, Galdeira at top of all-defensive team list


POSTED: Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The correlation between postseason honors and hard work wasn't lost on the coaches and media.

When ballots for the Star-Bulletin Girls Basketball All-State team were distributed, voters were asked to select an all-defensive team along with the primary category, the Fab 15. Five of the top six selections to the all-defensive team also cracked the Fab 15.

The top defensive vote-getter was Janelle Nomura of Punahou, and right behind her was player of the year Lia Galdeira of Konawaena. Nomura's teammate, Rebecca Lau, rated third in the balloting — no surprise considering how tough the Buffanblu defense was all season.

Molokai's gifted 6-foot-1 center, Kalei Adolpho, was fourth in the defensive tally, and 'Iolani guard Lori Yamashita was fifth in a tie with Kamehameha's Lindsey Wong. All but Lau made the top 15.

Other defensive stoppers who received votes: Pualei Furtado (Kamehameha), Kylie Maeda ('Iolani), Kara Hanato-Smith (Konawaena), Dawnyelle Awa (Konawaena), Natasha Helsham (Aiea), Valerie Lesu (Farrington), Natalie Mata (Farrington) and Kamri Lin (Sacred Hearts).

The title of toughest gym went to 'Iolani, which beat out Punahou. The Raiders' gym is unique, with a cushioned wall less than 10 feet behind either baseline. That may alter the depth perception of some shooters, especially those who are more comfortable with the cavernous back areas of Punahou and Kamehameha.

Other fun categories included best uniforms, a tag shared by Konawaena and Punahou. The best snack bar crown went to the 'Iolani Classic, where homemade meals are sold each day and night of the two-week event. McKinley and Farrington followed in the voting.

Coaches and media also voted for the double-overtime state final between eventual state champion Konawaena and Punahou as the best game of the year.


Helsham to team with Kuehu

Helsham's future plans were a question mark through her senior season. Despite an all-around game, the combo guard was relatively overshadowed in the OIA Red West. She was not forgotten, though.

On March 18, Idaho came calling and offered her a scholarship. Helsham accepted on the spot, rejoining one of her childhood friends, Vandals freshman Shaena-Lyn Kuehu. The two attended Webling Elementary School and Aiea Intermediate before Kuehu went to Punahou. Kuehu was named to the Western Athletic Conference all-freshman team this year.

Helsham visited the campus recently, hosted in part by Kuehu.

“;She said, 'I can't wait. I'm so excited.' It's going to be me and her and Kanisha (Bello),”; Helsham said. Bello, of Waiakea, committed to Idaho early.

Helsham has been working out with former UH standout Nani Cockett, lifting weights, doing ab work and running treadmills, stairs and hills.

“;Nani's fun. She tells us stuff on the side that we have to work on,”; Helsham said.

By playing for WAC member Idaho, Kuehu, Helsham and Bello will return to the islands at least once during the season.

“;We'll get to play against (UH),”; she said, already speculating about her future foes and Shaena's twin sister, former state player of the year Shawna-Lei Kuehu, who is reportedly interested in playing for Hawaii. “;Shawna's going to play at UH.”;