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Kapolei, HBA roll winners


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POSTED: Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Kapolei girls bowling team stayed focused and won.

Leading at the conclusion of day one of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships, the Hurricanes came into Schofield Bowling Center yesterday morning with only one thought on their minds.

And that was winning.

That determination led Kapolei to state title victories in both the individual and team categories, energized by exceptional bowling on the part of Raelena Mattos.

The senior kept pace with her competition on day two, holding off the challenge of Kalaheo's Tammi Sakaguchi in the three-game set to win the girls individual title. She beat a 10-team field of girls bowlers with a pinfall total of 1,620, nipping Sakaguchi by eight pins.

Mattos said when she woke up yesterday morning she knew she would have a battle on her hands.

“;The competition out here is great. ... When (myself) and my teammates walked in here this morning we were prepared to win,”; Mattos emphasized.

“;In the past I came close to winning, but never quite managed to win. I'm sure this tournament win will always remain a fond memory for me in the future,”; Mattos said with a smile.

Teammates Christalynn Bonifacio (1,580) and Valerie Ibarra (1,521) finished third and tied for sixth. The trio ensured that Kapolei won the team title with 7,427 pins. Kalani came in second, tallying 7,163 pins.

Following that same pattern, Hawaii Baptist hung on to capture the boys team title.

Led by senior Jaron Goto's 1,740 total, Hawaii Baptist (7,798) took the top honors in the nine-team boys competition, surpassing Pearl City (7,616).

The win gave the Eagles their fourth state boys crown in the last six seasons.

“;It feels awesome to be state champion,”; Goto said after receiving the team's first-place trophy.

“;I didn't give up. I bowled pretty badly in the first game (rolling a 170). But I knew I had to re-focus and step my game up the rest of the way. This was my last opportunity, so I just gave it my all,”; Goto added.

Teammate Lewis Wang, who placed 14th, said, “;We kept a positive attitude throughout the tournament. And I think that was our key to victory.”;

In the opening game of the final round, Hawaii Baptist was out-bowled by Pearl City 891-848, then cranked up its engines after that. They cruised to the title over the last two games, beating the field with high totals of 890 and 921.

“;It was tough in the early going,”; commented 22nd-place finisher Derek Leong. “;But since most of us are seniors we've learned over the years to just go out there and have fun. When you have fun the score will take care of itself.”;

Kapolei also struggled in its first game of day two and had to sweat it out to the end. A final game total of 921 pins carried them into victory.

“;I just told my team to concentrate on picking up our spares,”; Kapolei coach Angel Legaspi said. “;We're usually are the underdog in these types of tournaments, but today we are champions.”;