KAPAA — It’s been quite some time since the Menehune have been in contention for a league title, but that’s where they are.
Waimea High School’s varsity boys basketball team defeated Kapaa High, 61-26, on Tuesday evening at the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa to clinch at least a tie for the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season’s second round.
“You got to give credit to the boys,” said Waimea head coach Dino Pabre. “They really worked hard the last two, three weeks in practice trying to accomplish what we setting out to do all year. Tonight was the game we were hoping for from day one. And, you know, that was a great game.”
Waimea (4-4 KIF, 3-1 2nd round) outscored Kapaa in each quarter. The Menehune outpointed the Warriors, 21-10, in the third period to take a 47-22 lead going into the last quarter.
“They played great defense again. They shot the ball fairly well. We didn’t turn over the ball. That’s things that we ask for, and they executed the game plan the way we set it up,” Pabre said. “Any time you can execute the game plan, minimize the turnovers and make baskets, you should have positive results. And it showed tonight. It showed our potential.”
The playoff game will be played Monday at a location to be determined. The last time Waimea won a league championship was in the 2005-06 season.
“It means so much to the community and the people,” said Menehune sophomore guard David Sabo Jr. “Waimea’s such a hard-working group of guys. We put so much grind and we compete so hard, sometimes that doesn’t show up at the end of the game but this year it has been because we got a whole bunch of loyal and consistent guys. We’re just making the most of it right now.”
Kapaa (1-6 KIF, 0-3 2nd round) tried different things to cut into the deficit, said head coach Kamahalo Ka’uhane.
“We tried everything we could. We tried something different on the offensive side and defensive side. It didn’t work,” he said. “Waimea’s on a streak. They’re grooving at the right moment. So, it’s a testament to their coaching.”
Tuesday was Kapaa High’s senior night. Two Warrior seniors were recognized — guard Rafael Roslin and forward Noah Rall.
“These seniors, this is not how we wanted to end it. This is something we wanted to get done for our seniors,” Ka’uhane said. “Waimea played really tough. They shot the lights out when they needed to. For us, too much individual ball. We didn’t stick to what we needed to do, and it was evident. It showed our inexperience, but lessons learned for us.”
Kapaa will play at Kauai High School (6-1 KIF, 2-1 2nd round) on Friday to conclude the KIF regular season. The junior varsity game will begin 5:30 p.m. and the varsity will follow.
“It’s a big game for us,” Ka’uhane said. “We’re looking forward to our next season, and we want to go out on a positive note. We want to make a positive step forward, and we want to get ready to move forward at this point. And make sure we close out with a victory.”
If Kapaa wins Friday, Waimea will win the season’s second round and Monday’s game between Kauai and Waimea will be for the KIF championship.
If Kauai wins Friday, both Kauai and Waimea will have 3-1 records in the round and Monday’s game will be a second-round playoff.
In this scenario, Kauai would clinch the league title with a win Monday. If Waimea wins, the Menehune win the round and a championship between the teams will be played at a later date.
Sabo Jr. totaled nine points, seven rebounds and two assists for Waimea. Senior guard DJ Pabre had 15 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Menehune senior forward Joel Soriano had nine points including a buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the first quarter, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block. Senior foward Dylan Balaan had six points, four steals and one assist.
Warriors sophomore center Jhencen Cummings had seven points and seven rebounds for Kapaa. Roslin had four points, two rebounds and an assist. Sophomore center/forward Moses Ho had five points and four rebounds.
Waimea also won Tuesday’s JV game in Kapaa, 47-45. Eilon Jamoraban scored 14 points for Waimea. Waika Rogers scored 12 for Kapaa.