WAIMEA — With less than a minute showing on the game clock Tuesday at the Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea, the crowd erupted in cheer when Louisa Tanigawa teased the twine on the first of her charity pair.
The cheering continued as Tanigawa dropped her second shot before an audience that pulled away from the holiday madness to view the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls basketball game.
The charity pair was the first score for Tanigawa in the season, and the crowd egged on Marry Companero to follow in Waimea’s 63-44 victory over Kapaa High School.
Kapaa’s Mele Tafea, finishing with high-point honor for the Warriors, set the pace early and dropped 14 points in the first half to give Kapaa a 29-25 lead at the break.
The effort was matched by Waimea’s Kaye Serapio, who ended the night with 22 points — firing up 13 of her game points in the first half, scoring six in the opening quarter which ended on a 13-13 deadlock.
Waimea rebounded from the halftime deficit to pull ahead 13-6 in the third quarter behind an eight-point showing from guard Monique Joy Lorenzo, and turned up the heat on a 25-9 final quarter as Kapaa’s Kobi Miura and Angelica Cudiamat hit the benches, victims of fouls.
“The girls did a good job, out there,” said Waimea coach Natalie Mata. “I don’t know if it was part of the plan, but Kapaa did a good job of pulling us out of our game. They slowed down the game.”
Kaye Serapio was joined by Lorenzo finishing with 17 points, with 13 scored in the second half to set the pace where all Menehune players but two found the net. Guard Kiarra Palacio netted all her five points in the final quarter. Starlyn Ripley matched up against Tafea and finished with six points, including a three-ball in the opening quarter.
Guard Kiresten Gummerus dropped a trey in the second quarter en route to her five points to round out the Menehune scoring leaders.
Tafea topped the Kapaa scoring on 19 points after taking a rest through most of the third quarter.
“We knew we needed her in the fourth quarter,” said Kapaa coach William Aki.
She was held to just five of Kapaa’s nine-point fourth quarter production. Guards Junelle Kayla Tangalin and Jaliyah Casem dropped the remaining pairs.
Casem finished the night with 11 points, including a first-quarter three-ball, and Cudiamat dropped a pair of treys in the second period for her six points before being buzzed out of the match early in the fourth quarter. Miura finished with four points before leaving the game.
“We lost it,” Aki said after controlling the pace of the match for the first two quarters. “We need to keep working the girls so they’re consistent through all four quarters. They need to play through. They might get frustrated out there, but they just got to keep their heads and leave the frustration part to us coaches.”
Earlier in the evening, the Waimea junior varsity pulled off a similar scenario and rebounded from a 15-13 halftime deficit to outgun Kapaa, 33-14, in the second half for its 46-29 victory.
Alysha Palacio and Brae Cayaban led the JV Menehune with 15 and 12 points, respectively, while Kapaa got 19 points from Lilia Unutoa and five points from Angeline Roslin.
Kapaa next hosts Kauai on Thursday night with the junior varsity match tipping off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity game starting approximately 30 minutes following the completion of the JV game.
The change in schedule is due to Kapaa having its winter ball Friday night.
“There’s still an entire half to play,” Aki said. “We’re back practicing before we meet Kauai Thursday. Then, we get the long break.”
Waimea enjoys the break before resuming play, Jan. 2 when they travel to the Kauai High School gym to start the second round.