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Price sisters lead Punahou to state water polo title


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POSTED: Sunday, May 10, 2009

The afternoon sun was relentless and Kamehameha put up a fight early, but in the end, the Prices were right for Punahou.

Shayna Price scored five goals and her sister, Aisha, added four as Punahou defeated Kamehameha 12-4 in the championship game of the Local Motion/HHSAA Girls Water Polo state tournament at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center yesterday.

“;I was just finishing great passes, working off the picks people were setting for me,”; said Shayna Price, voted the tournament's most outstanding player.

For the second straight year, Punahou soundly defeated its Interscholastic League of Honolulu rival in the title contest, capturing its fourth state girls water polo title in six years.

The Buffanblu finished a perfect 13-0, beating the Warriors (6-5) for the fourth time this season.

Kamehameha grabbed a 1-0 lead when Nanea Fujiyama flipped in a blocked shot for a goal 78 seconds into the game.

After Shayna Price, a junior, evened the score, Fujiyama put Kamehameha up again, stealing the ball from Buffanblu goalie Courtney Miller and backhanding the ball in to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead with 2:19 left in the second quarter.

But Aisha Price, a senior, scored from the deep right wing to even the score at 2. Brailey Hirose-Hulbert put the Buffanblu ahead for the first time, 3-2, converting on a 6-on-5 penalty situation with just over a minute left in the half.

“;Aisha, you don't notice her sometimes (because) what she does doesn't always show up in the stats,”; Punahou coach Ken Smith said. “;But she opens it up for other people. Because she draws so much attention to herself, suddenly she opens it up for sister Shayna on the outside. It's a great combo.”;

Shayna Price scored on a fast-break goal to put Punahou up 4-2 with 32 seconds before halftime, and the Buffanblu broke open the game in the second half. Shayna Price scored on a short lob and converted a penalty shot to spark a 3-0 run that extended the Buffanblu lead to 7-2 before Fujiyama fired in a shot from mid-tank for the Warriors with 6 seconds left in the third quarter.

Aisha Price added three fourth-quarter goals — two on man-up situations — as the Warriors wilted a bit under the unyielding sun and Punahou's multifaceted attack.

“;We try to be relentless, keep the pressure on the attack,”; Smith said. “;We feel if we kept attacking, they would start to make mistakes, and things started going our way.”;

“;What we really try to do is we try to score in four different ways: We can score on fast breaks, man-up situations, from 2 meters (in front of the goal), and score from the outside. And I think we did that today, and that's part of why we were successful.”;

The Buffanblu came up big in penalty situations, converting five of seven 6-on-5 opportunities into goals, while the Warriors could only convert one of their five man-up chances.

On defense, Miller, a freshman, had 12 saves in goal, and her teammates held Fujiyama, Kamehameha's biggest scoring threat, to four goals.

“;We're a little disappointed, but we played hard, and we played good the whole season, so we're happy,”; Fujiyama said. “;(Punahou) deserved it, they played their best.”;

“;We wished we could've won, but we fought as hard as we could,”; Kamehameha coach Brittany Kamai said. “;(The girls) didn't leave anything behind, they played as hard as they could. I couldn't ask for anything more.”;