Wailua, Hornets come up short in 12U opener

KALAHEO — Kaira Kupihea finished with a game-high 23 points, but Wailua fell short against Kaulupono Girlz, 36-26, as the county opened their 12 and Under girls season, Monday night.

Kupihea led the largely fledgling team under Coach Talbert Tacbian as they were outgunned by the Kaulupono Girlz at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.

With 1:02 remaining in the fourth (of six) frames, Kupihea managed to pull Wailua to a 20-20 tie against Kaulupono, Kupihea, scoring all of Wailua’s points up until this point.

But, strapped with four fouls, Kaulupono pulled ahead on inside shots from Brandee Victorino and the transition zone from Casandra Owens for the final 10-point bulge.

In addition to Kupihea, Wailua got a final period score from Tieve Daligcon and a charity point from Brienne Saiki who was fouled by Victorino on a nice inside sweep attempt in the fifth period.

Vakesha Lagazo came up with five back-breaking layups in the third period to lead Waimea, the guard finishing with a dozen points followed by 10 points from Victorino. Owens finished with six points. Earlier, Bristy Agu topped the Waimea (Agu) scoring with 13 points in their 43-16 flight over the Westside Hornets.

Sanita Pahelehua added a dozen points, and Shelley Koerte finished with seven in the win. Rea Accocatte ignited the crowd with her first pair late in the opening frame enroute to a five-point finish to lead the Hornets with Kiana Kamala adding four, and Shayna Alop finishing with three points.

Kaulupono continues action Wednesday night when they meet Island Heat in a 6 p.m. matchup at Kalaheo Neighborhood Center followed by Waimea (Agu) going up against Gee’s Angels at 7 p.m.

The county league coordinator, Clyde Vito, was extremely pleased with the turnout for the girls league which started with a total of nine teams.

However, due to school-night commitments, Vito said they will limit weeknight games to just two a night, and extend the season slightly to accomodate the large field.

The girls will play on Monday and Wednesday nights starting at 6 p.m., and on Saturday mornings starting at 10 a.m. The 12 and Under boys league which will start its season on Thursday night, will start with seven teams. Thursday night will see Eastside tangling with Hanapepe starting at 6 p.m. followed by Kalaheo hosting Hanama’ulu starting at 7 p.m. Boys will take to the court on Thursday and Saturday with the Thursday night games starting at 6 p.m., and the Saturday games tipping off at 10 a.m.

Teams in the girls league include Waimea coached by Ben Agu, Kaulupono Girlz coached by Bobby Kamakele, Westside Hornets coached by Francis Kaohi.

Greg Meyers will have his Island School girls who just finished their 14 Under season back in action. Russell Grady coaches the Island Heat, Lenny Rapozo will anchor the Lihu’e , and Kevin Hanano will coach the Lihu’e. Gee’s Angels will be coached by Cecil Gee, and Talbert Tacbian sits in the coaches box for Wailua.

Kaohi also coaches the boys’ Hanapepe team with Sandi Nadatani coaching Kalaheo. Gee will coach two teams in the Gee Unit A, and the Gee Unit B. Neil Fagarang coaches Hanama’ulu, Robert “Joe” Lamadrid coaches Eastside, and Brian Inouye will coach the Kaua’i Fire Raiders.

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