Kahuku's Karla Tailele went to the hoop against Punahou's Elyse Umeda during last night's state championship game.

Buffs stall
Raiders’ run

Punahou prevails in a state title
game that was close throughout

Finesse, poise and ball control won out over size, speed and undying defensive prowess -- barely.

Punahou (17-0), led by guards Rachel Kane, Shanna Dacanay and Elyse Umeda, finally shook Kahuku (14-3) in the fourth quarter to secure a 56-52 victory in the Hawaiian Airlines State Girls Basketball Tournament championship game.

"I love all those girls and it brings tears to my eyes to have it end like this when I think about all of the effort we put in every day at practice," Umeda said.

Punahou's Becky Hogue drove past Kahuku's Latoya Wily on her way to the basket during last night's state final.

"Kahuku is a great team. They rode us to the end, and it came down to free throws and taking care of the ball. Our loss in the state final last year (to Kamehameha) when it was really close until the fourth quarter really helped us know what to expect with the game on the line this time. We could taste it then, so it made us want it more now."

The Buffanblu put an end to the Red Raiders' three-game, giant-killing winning streak. Kahuku was hoping for its first state title since 1983, but couldn't find the magic for one more victory after defeating defending state champion Kamehameha, Big Island champ Konawaena and Oahu Interscholastic Association winner Moanalua in consecutive nights.

"I'm never going to be happy until we win it," Red Raiders post Latoya Wily said. "That's our goal is to win the states next year, big-time."

Punahou's Christine Takara put a shot up against Kahuku's Lesina Funaki last night.

The lead changed hands 13 times in the first half. Throughout most of the second half, Punahou held slim leads, but continued to fend off Kahuku comebacks.

The Buffanblu won their seventh state championship and first since 1998. It's also the first under coach Mike Taylor.

"I'm so proud of my kids -- my seniors, the whole team, the assistant coaches," Taylor said. "I'm so lucky to be part of it, but so many others deserve the notoriety."

When Karla Tailele made a trey midway through the fourth quarter, it brought the Red Raiders to within one, 45-44, but that's as close as Kahuku got.

Punahou School's Eryn Chun took a shot against Kahuku High School's Lesina Latoy Wily and Michelle Peters during last night's final of the 2003 Hawaiian Airlines Girls State Basketball Championship.

Despite just a one-point lead, Punahou went to a stall with under five minutes left and it worked. Kane was fouled and hit a free throw and then Dacanay and Becky Hogue added two more each from the charity stripe for a 50-45 lead with 1:39 to go.

"We kept our composure as a team and we stepped it up as a team on defense," said Kane, who scored a game-high 20 points and had seven rebounds. "When we slowed it down, we were trying to force them out and trying to beat them off the dribble and looking for a foul.

"It's good to end with a win, and the fact that we finished undefeated is even better."

Punahou's Elyse Umeda and Kahuku's Monarisa Ale hustled for the ball.

Umeda put a wrap on the victory by going 4-for-4 from the line for a 54-48 lead, and despite six more tough inside points from Wily, Kahuku was too far behind to catch up.

"Our girls played hard and they were required to play hard for four nights in a row," Kahuku coach Wendy Anae said. "Maybe we should have fouled earlier (when Punahou went into the stall), but things are always more clear in retrospect.

"Our kids are all heart and played together as a team. They gave it everything they had. For our young kids to see that it's so attainable gives them a taste of it, and it (state championship) is something they want to be part of."

Dacanay and Umeda both finished with 12 points for Punahou. Wily scored 14 points, while teammate Tuli Peters chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Punahou's girls basketball team celebrated after hanging on to beat Kahuku for the state championship yesterday.

Kahuku outrebounded Punahou 36-16 overall.

"We expected Kahuku to be tough and we didn't buy into the fourth-day tiredness," Taylor said. "They just kept competing. We tried to make (Kahuku) work harder on defense (by stalling). We were putting the game in the hands of our great ballhandlers Rachel Kane, Elyse Umeda and Shanna Dacanay."

Kane was named the tournament MVP, and Umeda and Wily were picked to the all-tournament team along with Kamehameha's Megan Ching, Farrington's Laosamoa Misa-Uli and Moanalua's Marleen Leautu.

Third place

Moanalua 67, Farrington 55

The Menehunes (15-1) breezed past the Governors (12-6) for third place as Patti Hardimon scored 14 of her team-high 22 points in the first half.

Center Marleen Leautu was a force inside for Moanalua, with 12 points and 17 rebounds. She finished the tournament with 45 rebounds and 16 blocked shots in three games.

Laosamoa Misa-Uli scored 19 of her game-high 23 points in the second half for Farrington. Meleane Mateaki contributed 11 rebounds.

Moanalua (15-1) 9 20 18 20 - 67

Farrington (12-6) 7 11 17 20 - 55

MOANALUA - Amy Kotani 14, Sherry Reyes 0, Bonnie Austad 0, Ronni Keliihoomalu 2, Sasha Silva 5, Patti Hardimon 22, Joy Matsukawa 1, Kepuanani Lee 11, Talia Bertulfo 0, Jade Miller 0, Mahina Hayashi 0, Marleen Leautu 12, Mahina Hayashi 0.

FARRINGTON - Revelyn Cabaya 10, Ellaine Bihag 0, Joanne Fernandez 5, Jo Ann Montiero 7, Shirlynn Tambua 0, Sandy Tauta 0, Racquel Rivera 0, Merrissa Keohohou 0, Paepaetele Poasa 2, Tanya Alualu 2, Talia Tapua 2, Audrina Esera 0, Hanau Kaiura 2, Meleane Mateaki 2, Laosamoa Misa-Uli 23.

3-point goals - Moanalua 8 (Kotani 4, Hardimon 2, Lee 2), Farrington 4 (Montiero 2, Cabaya, Fernandez).

Fifth place

Baldwin 55, Konawaena 52

The Bears (15-3) fought back from a big third-quarter deficit to defeat the Wildcats (14-2) for fifth place.

Baldwin's Kami Kapaku hit two free throws in the final minute for a 53-52 lead and then scored on a layup at the buzzer for the three-point victory.

Konawaena's Nancy Hoist set a tournament record for free-throw percentage through three games by going 20-for-20.

Konawaena (14-2) 13 7 17 15 - 52

Baldwin (15-3) 7 11 11 26 - 55

KONAWAENA - Kristen Kitaoka 6, Tiane Estoy 0, Loren Gomes 0, Shawna Marie Gomes 4, Leesa Deniz 0, Elizabeth Chung-Hoon Palau 5, Jennifer Tayamen 11, Jessica Hanato 14, Keala Kaupu 3, Tiare DeAguiar 0, Nancy Hoist 9.

BALDWIN - Kami Kapaku 23, Crystal Manuel 12, Kapua Atay 3, Kai Sarmiento 0, Rachel Leano 0, Ashley Perkins 1, Isabeau Waiau 8, Jenna Mailou 6, Heidi Namauu 2, Nichole Inciong 0.

3-point goals: Konawaena 2 (Tayamen, Hanato), Baldwin 3 (Kapaku, Manuel, Mailou).

Consolation championship

Kamehameha 76, Kealakehe 47

Reigning Star-Bulletin Ms. Basketball Hawaii Megan Ching ended her high school career by scoring all of her 15 points in the second half as the Warriors won the consolation final.

Kamehameha scored 17 straight points to end the first quarter and 11 in a row to end of the half.

The Warriors forced the Waveriders into 38 turnovers.

Kamehameha (14-3) 17 15 19 25 - 76

Kealakehe (11-5) 12 13 16 16 - 47

KAMEHAMEHA - Jeneka Taeoalii 14, Jordan Tangonan 0, India Soo 7, Tiffiny Shim 4, Wendy Kashiwabara 9, Lori Nakamura 0, Tatriana Lorenzo 10, Lehua Wood 4, Mounia Nihipali 10, Megan Kanoa 3, Megan Ching 15.

KEALAKEHE - Leila Kang 0, Jennifer Ching 0, Neesh-Ann Kimitete 7, Ashlee Moncier 0, Nalani Hee 0, Kahaunani Kahananui 13, Saundra Cariaga 10, Candice DeSilva 5, Raynell Moi 8, Ashley Moi 4, Paige Moi 0.

3-point goals - Kamehameha 2 (Soo, Ching), Kealakehe 2 (Kimitete, DeSilva).


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