KALAHEO — Westside Hornets’ coach Maynard Shea invoked the command in the final 2:30 of play as the Hornets attempted a late-game surge for the championship of the KYBA Girls 12 Under summer league Friday night at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.
“We were chasing four points, and the girls weren’t playing that well,” coach Shea said following their 30-29 win that was settled at the buzzer as a traveling turnover by Waimea’s Natalie Mata sealed the Minihunes’ fate with six seconds left on the clock.
“They’re playing Gotcha!” an excited Kaumakani Supersonic Jayme Jacinto relayed to her team-mates who were relishing their earlier third place 29-19 win over the Lihue Comets.
Jacinto, whose interest in the game centered around the performance of her sister Josey who ended the night contributing four points for the Minihunes, was not alone as another sister, Joanna doing scorekeeping duties along with Lorraine Lagoc.
Hornets’ Cherilyn Kua and Brytney Yadao-Lanning figured heavily in the championship as they endured heavy defensive presssure from the shorter Minihunes.
Kua finished the night with game-high 18 points in the one-point win.
Mata topped the Minihunes’ scoring with 15 points in the loss, being held to a single trey in the opening stanza that saw the Minihunes jump out 7-2 only to have the Hornets swarm back 7-4, 9-4 in the second and third frames.
Mata led the final frame Minihune charge 14-12, dropping 8 of Waimea’s 14 markers, but critical free throw misses by Whitney Cachero (0/4) gave the contest to the hard-fighting Hornets. Cachero ended the outing with six points.
Kua’s efforts were aided by Yadao-Lanning’s six points, five coming in the second half.
The Kaumakani Supersonics got help from the state Hershey’s track meet on Oahu as they faced the Lihue Comets who were without the services of five players involved in the Oahu meet.
Despite a concerted Comet effort from the three scoring leaders, Kaumakani controlled the contest from the onset, previaling 29-19 behind 15 points from Aiko Grande who got strong defensive support from Joanna Andres, Lorrine Lagoc-Agrade, Sera Pascual, and Britnelyn Palacio.
In a pre-championship contest, the Kapaa Warriors controlled the Kalaheo Pistons 40-27 in a Boys 14 Under contest that had Elijah Phillips leading the Kapaa charge with 14 points. Devin Saiki and Nathaniel Kalahiki each contributed six points in the win.
The Kalaheo Pistons’ scoring came from three players led by Grant Fujimoto tucking in 11 points with Galen Lee adding 10, and Anson Acain rounding out the scoring with six points.
“It’s not over, yet” coach Shea said as the Hornets picked up the brooms and started cleanup chores at the neighborhood center, waiting until the post-game potluck to savor their medals.
Kua, Yadao-Lanning, and guard Tori Espino will continue on in the ongoing 14 Under playoffs for the Hornets while Minihunes’ Jacinto, Mata, Cassandra Nacapuy, and Reisha Banasihan continue on with the older Minihunes in the KYBA 14 Under league.
Playoffs for the Girls 14 Under begin Tuesday at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center with games scheduled for 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.