Kapa’a makes bold opening statement

KAPA’A — If there wasn’t a clear cut favorite going into the KIF girls basketball season, then last night was a big indicator that Kapa’a means business.

The Warriors overmatched the Menehune, 54-39, behind 21 points from senior guard Kennilyn Nakamura, who poured in 17 in the first half.

Kapa’a gradually increased its lead to double digits after the halfway mark.

A Nakamura lay-in gave the Warriors a 32-25 advantage heading into the halftime locker room.

Waimea, who fields a young squad, was sluggish throughout the game and couldn’t find any sort of rhythm.

Junior Moani Durant and freshman Natalie Mata provided the only spark for the Menehune, who were playing catch-up from the beginning.

The Warriors clamped down even harder in the second half, as Kieren Pond nailed a lay up, while being fouled, which handed the eastsiders their biggest lead of the game at 43-31.

Waimea (0-1) rained down three treys, thanks to Durant and Mata in the fourth period, but Kapa’a managed to keep the pressure on for the eventual 54-39 win.

Nakamura’s game-high 21 points was followed by Poe Gantt’s 12 and Brittney Carvalho’s five.

Durant led Waimea with 14 points and Mata added 12 in the loss.

In JV action, Kapa’a cruised with a 43-38 victory, thanks to 13 points from Leilani Laranio. Jondi Das chipped in with 12 points and Sarah Tangalin added nine.

Sera Pascual, Chaelyn Briones, and Tatum Gonsalves each scored nine points for Waimea.

The Warriors (1-0) travel to the Raiderdome to battle Kaua’i (0-0) on Friday. The JV game starts the festivities off at 5:30 p.m. The varsity contest begins 20 minutes after the completion of the JV contest.

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