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Lady Govs happy to have point guard back


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POSTED: Wednesday, December 30, 2009

SEVENTH IN A SERIES

This is a team game, but it's also a sport where one person can make a difference.

The Lady Governors of Farrington know this. A lineup loaded with size and athleticism didn't have quite enough skill and poise to get past some heavy hitters in early December.

With Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo sidelined due to tendinitis, Farrington was close, but lost to powerhouses Punahou (39-35) and Lahainaluna (48-39).

With the junior guard back in the lineup, the Govs scored 75 and 72 points in their first two Oahu Interscholastic Association games.

Her return doesn't automatically make Farrington a better team than all elite squads, but it sure doesn't hurt.

Farrington, the defending OIA Red champion, is ranked No. 4 in the Star-Bulletin Girls Basketball Top 10.

On paper: Coach Caroline Tatupu's Govs are 5-3 overall with losses only to tough teams, including Kamehameha-Hawaii during the Lahainaluna Holiday Tournament.

Kirsten Liana is multi-dimensional — a low-post scorer with 3-point range and the ability to bring the ball upcourt against pressure.

Sofia Folaumahina and Janell Nance are imposing centers with strength and good hops.

With newcomers and raw talent in the backcourt, the burden falls on Tatupu-Leopoldo to settle the team down under duress. While she was out, Liana became a primary ballhandler, but that job affected her production as a scorer.

If Tatupu-Leopoldo stays healthy, the Govs could get past the semifinal round of the state tourney. Last year's team went 25-7 (18-1 OIA) before losing to eventual state champ Konawaena in the semis.

The skinny: Coach Tatupu likes an uptempo game, but with stamina issues for her post players and Tatupu-Leopoldo's sore knee, a slower pace seems likely at some point. That might suit the backcourt, too. McKinley transfer Ashley Gravely and energetic Lucky Crichton are tough defensively.

X factor: The development of secondary scorers like Aisha Gaea, Angeline Argel and Dianna Prescott is key.