Buffanblu No. 1 from
start to finish

Twelve weeks worth of Star-Bulletin Girls Basketball Top 10 polls have now passed.

The Punahou Buffanblu finished precisely where they began -- at the top. With a thrilling 52-50 double-overtime win over season-long No. 2 Konawaena on Friday, Punahou (22-1) won its second state championship in three seasons.

In the end, Punahou's depth was the biggest factor. While standouts Shawna-Lei Kuehu and Shanna-Lei Dacanay scored in double figures, as usual, several role players and reserves came up big.

Tessa Sonobe and Christine Takara provided a little offensive spark and lots of defense. Takara, in particular, fought Konawaena standout Jessica Hanato for every inch of space after halftime.

Sophie Merrifield was clutch with offensive rebounds in the overtime periods, sinking key free throws as Punahou made seven in all -- its only made foul shots of the game -- in the second overtime.

Ciana Aiwohi, however, may have had the most turbulent and ultimately satisfying evening. Despite some key turnovers, she came back to kiss the glass with a perfect left-handed layup in traffic 2 seconds before regulation ended to force overtime.

Like Takara, Aiwohi and Shaena-Lyn Kuehu were instrumental defensively, as well.

"I'm sad it's over," Punahou coach Mike Taylor said. "This year's been special. From 1 through 15, there have been no headaches."

Taylor credited his staff, as well.

"Alan Lum and Alan Ching are guys who are very knowledgeable. They're class acts, and they've taught me a lot," the Punahou elementary school teacher said.

"You dream of everybody doing what they can," he added. "And that's what they did."

Leilehua's Townsend retires

For 33 years, Richard Townsend wasn't just an athletic director and coach.

He was the hub of Leilehua High School athletics. So it's understandable Townsend will be missed now that he has retired.

"Hard to lose a guy like Mr. Townsend. He's kind of like a dad to us coaches. Without him, I don't know if I would've stayed at Leilehua," football coach Nolan Tokuda said.

"I'd have breakfast with him and he'd critique what I've done. I'm like a sponge when I go in his office. He teaches how to do X's and O's, how to deal with parents, even media.

"I'll miss my conversations with him."

Kahuku girls coach Anae leaving for Utah school

Wendy Anae will lead another high school basketball team next season.

Anae, who guided Kahuku to fourth place in this year's girls basketball state tourney, will move to Utah and become the coach at Timpview in Provo.

The former Kahuku standout guided the Lady Raiders to a 47-9 record in her two years.

"It's not permanent, probably about five years," she said. "I'm going to miss Kahuku and Hawaii very, very much."

Anae, a teacher at Kahuku, will also teach at Timpview. "Eventually, I'll go to (graduate) school," she said.

Two of her brothers live in Provo. One, Robert Anae, is the new offensive coordinator for the Brigham Young football team.

Anae hopes her assistant coach for the Lady Raiders, Hiram Akina, is considered for the vacant Kahuku job.


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