Kamehameha finishes
strong in tourney

If the Kamehameha Warriors girls basketball team can make as much progress this season as they have in this weekend's 15th Annual Lady Tiger Challenge, look out.

After suffering a tough opening-day loss to Lahainaluna, the fourth-ranked Warriors bounced back to win their final two games of the tournament, including a convincing 36-21 victory over the host McKinley Tigers yesterday.

Junior Tatriana Lorenzo scored 10 of her game-high 12 points in the third quarter to help Kamehameha improve to 5-2 for the season. But as important as her contributions on the court are, her leadership abilities off the court might be even more crucial to the team's success as the preseason wraps up. Kamehameha doesn't play again until its Interscholastic League of Honolulu opener.

"I can relate to what the freshmen are going through because I was there once as the only one with a bunch of juniors and seniors," Lorenzo said. "It might be tough not playing for a while because we won't know how to gauge ourselves, especially with a bunch of the younger players needing experience."

In the three-day span of this tournament, however, the Warriors really came together, bouncing back from Thursday's loss with an overtime victory against Kaiser on Friday, and yesterday's dominating victory.

"(Friday) night was a new beginning for us," Warriors coach Clay Cockett said. "We're still learning how to focus and we've got a long way to go. It's going to be very challenging."

Yesterday, the Warriors used a frenzied man-to-man defense that gave the Tigers fits all game long. Holding McKinley to just two free throws in the first quarter, the freshmen duo of Casey Lum and Rhani Kaneaiakala combined to score all 14 second-quarter points for the Warriors as they took a 22-7 halftime lead.

The Tigers were without starting point guard Kaitlyn Ikehara who was out with a leg injury, forcing sophomore Chelsie Sato to try to pick up the scoring slack. Sato finished with 11 of McKinley's 21 points, but was constantly hounded by the Warriors.

"The biggest thing for us is just to be disciplined," Cockett said. "We just needed to settle down and they did a better job of it today."

Lorenzo's big third quarter helped Kamehameha extend the lead to 19 heading into the game's final 8 minutes.

"These last couple of games have really helped our confidence," Lorenzo said. "I think at first we weren't really ready and we didn't think much of the outer-island teams, but we've learned from it and we have such good chemistry off the court that I think we might be a shocker (in the ILH)."

In other action from yesterday's tournament, sophomore Nicole Fu scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in the first half as fifth-ranked Maryknoll took a 28-10 halftime lead before coasting to a 51-36 victory over Baldwin. Jessica Akamine added 13 points and five rebounds for Maryknoll while Rosalani Gogue had nine points and three boards to pace the Bears.

The 10th-ranked Kaiser Cougars fell victim to a 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime as Lahainaluna finished the tournament 2-1 with a 45-43 victory over the Cougars. It was Kaiser's second loss in overtime in as many days.

In the first varsity game of the day, Kamehameha II defeated Waimea 49-31.

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