[ HIGH SCHOOLS ]
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou's Sophie Merrifield, Shanna-Lei Dacanay and Christine Takara, from left to right, celebrated in the first half in front of Iolani's Marci Kang.
ILH with ease
Iolani had a chance to knock the defending champs out last night.
to begin playoffs
The Oahu Interscholastic Association playoffs tip off tomorrow with four games. At Leilehua, Mililani meets Farrington in a 5 p.m. game, followed by Moanalua and the host Lady Mules at 7.
At Kaiser, Roosevelt battles Pearl City in a 5 p.m. contest, followed by Nanakuli and the host Lady Cougars at 7.
The winners advance to quarterfinal-round play on Friday. Kapolei and Kalaheo are the host teams.
Kapolei and Radford finished the OIA West tied in first place. A coin flip allowed Kapolei to be the West's No. 1 seed, giving the Hurricanes homecourt advantage.
Likewise, in the East, Kalaheo and Kahuku shared first place. Kalaheo won the coin flip and has homecourt advantage.
Punahou would not allow any such thing. The top-ranked Buffanblu shot 66 percent from the field and rode a balanced team effort for a 66-51 victory, securing their third straight Interscholastic League of Honolulu girls basketball crown. The win also secured a state tournament berth for the Buffanblu.
Punahou (19-1) finished the ILH season 10-0. Iolani (16-6) closed the regular season 8-2 and will have to chase the league's second state tournament berth in the ILH's postseason tournament.
"We wanted to come in here, be aggressive and be smart," Punahou coach Mike Taylor said. "Sophie was in a zone."
Sophie Merrifield made all five of her mid-range shots and finished with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists -- and no turnovers -- to help spark Punahou's all-around effort.
"After the first quarter, one of my teammates, Tessa (Sonobe) said to have confidence in my game," said Merrifield, a 5-foot-10 junior. "I took it to heart."
Senior guard Shanna-Lei Dacanay led the way with 21 points, finishing the game despite cramps to both calves.
"I feel ecstatic. We got contributions from everyone. We were sharp out there," she said. "But we still have more hard work to do."
Taylor's team may have played its best game of the season.
"I'm very proud of our bench. Everyone played within themselves," he said.
Freshman center Shawna-Lei Kuehu scored just six points against a double-teaming Iolani defense. She grabbed five boards and dished out three assists.
The Buffanblu will have two weeks off until the state tournament, where they have a strong chance to gain the No. 1 seed.
Iolani, one of the youngest teams in the state, had won four in a row since losing at Punahou on April 15. In that game, the Lady Raiders led by nine points in the fourth quarter.
This time around, Punahou was firmly in control. After an even first quarter, the visiting Buffanblu went on a 10-0 run to seize momentum. Punahou's fullcourt man-to-man defense created a quick flurry of turnovers, with Dacanay scoring off a steal, and then on a pick-and-roll jumper.
After Merrifield sank a 12-foot bank shot, Punahou led 24-13 midway through the second quarter. By halftime, Punahou led 30-17 thanks to 14-of-23 accuracy from the field.
Iolani crept within nine after Alana Matayoshi drove through the paint for a layup. Punahou, however, answered with another 10-0 blitz. Merrifield sank two more outside jumpers, and Stacy Brossy added four points as Punahou zoomed to a 40-21 lead with 3:41 left in the third quarter.
Keilyn Fujioka led Iolani with 13 points and five rebounds. Freshman Jamie Smith added 10 points for the Raiders, who shot 40 percent (19 of 47) from the field.
At Hemmeter Fieldhouse
PUNAHOU--Ciana Aiwohi 7, Shanna-Lei Dacanay 21, Stacy Brossy 4, Shawna Kuehu 6, Shaena Kuehu 2, Tessa Sonobe 8, Sophia Merrifield 12, Christine Takara 6.
IOLANI--Kaz Masutani 2, Chelsea Unemori 0, Hennasea-Sue Tokumura 6, Alana Matayoshi 5, Chanel Hirata 0, Marci Kang 6, Alana Wall 4, Jamie Smith 10, Meilin Akamu 3, Sarah Turgeon 2, Keilyn Fujioka 13.
3-point goals--Punahou 2 (Dacanay 2), Iolani (Akamu, Tokumura).
No. 5 Maryknoll 42, Mid-Pacific 34
Jessica Akamine scored 12 points as the Spartans defeated the Owls.
A 9-3 Maryknoll run in the third quarter helped break the game open.
Jasmine Vieira scored a game-high 15 to lead Mid-Pacific.
At Mid-Pacific gym
MARYKNOLL--Nicole Fu 4, Kristie Watanabe 0, Jessica Akamine 12, Tammie Andres 7, Kaulana Salangdron 0, Bowha Kang 0, Cheryl Lee 9, Sela Fisilau 10.
MID-PACIFIC--Keri Nakamura 2, Ciera Aiwohi 0, Yuki Sei 0, Jasmine Vieira 15, Meghan Laughlin 4, Kristina Lin 1, Sherice Ajifu 8, Marysia Wu 2, Melanie Wu 2, Crisi Nihipali 0.
Kamehameha 47, Sacred Hearts 37
The Warriors used a big fourth-quarter run to rally past the Lancers.
Rhani Kaneaiakala and Thais Lee scored 11 points each to lead Kamehameha. Rebecca Debo led the Lancers with 21.
At Sacred Hearts gym
|Sacred Hearts (1-9)
KAMEHAMEHA--Miki Nakamura 4, Johanna Sai 4, Analee Viena Lota 6, Tiana Abbley 0, Noelani Hoopii 0, Trixy Miller 0, Rhianna Farm 0, Tatriana Lorenzo 8, Danna Friedemann 0, Thais Lee 11, Nicole Pharr 0, Leah Godinet 1, Casey Lum 2, Rhani Kaneaiakala 11.
SACRED HEARTS--Samantha Saito 6, Jessica Lindsay 0, Kapryce Thatcher 0, Rebecca Debo 21, Karis Moi-Simeona 5, Stephanie Horn 0, Samantha Valle 2, Lola Williams 0, Cara Smith 3, Maleselina Manupuna 0.
3-point goals--Kamehameha 1 (Lee), Sacred Hearts 0.
Christian Academy 41, Kamehameha 35
St. Andrew's 51, Punahou 33
St. Francis 54, Hawaii Baptist 51
Leading scorers--CA: Ashley Medcalf 17, Hanna Edwards 16. Kam: Bobbie Lee Kawamoto 11. StA: Holly Saito 24, Laurie Miyasato 11. Pun: Arielle Daniels 8. StF: Siutiti Takai 19, Bryanna Batts 10, Jennifer Perry 10. HBA: Jodi Kamemoto 17, Kara Onosaki 15, Rayna Kitaguchi 10.
Junior varsity girls
Le Jardin 43, St. Andrew's 40
Division II playoffs
Junior varsity girls
Kalani 51, Waianae 25
Waialua 42, Castle 40