Kaua’i may have given away its chance for the KIF girls first-round basketball title in its first game against Kapa’a.
With the score tied at 39 with just under three minutes to go in the game, the Red Raiders let Kapa’a forward Poe Gantt take control of the contest for the eventual 43-39 nail biter at the Raiderdome.
The junior scored two consecutive crucial buckets, which gave the Warriors enough fuel to win the game.
The loss put Kaua’i in a tough spot to start off the 2006 campaign. The two-time defending champions then fell to Waimea, which automatically cut them out for first-round title contention.
Now, with the first-round crown nestled in Warriorland, the Red Raiders will try to play for pride and to carry over some momentum to the next round.
Meanwhile, the Warriors, who are 3-0, will try to keep Kaua’i out of the win column this season with a victory tonight.
In the first contest, Gantt led the Warriors with 14 points, followed by 10 from Kennilyn Nakamura.
Ho’onani Dennis caught fire in that game, with five three-pointers on her way to a game-high 16 points.
Reigning KIF player of the year Rachel Taira was held down for only 7 points.
Catch Kaua’i and Kapa’a at the Bernice Hundley Gymnasium at 5:30 p.m. (JV). The varsity contest begins 20 minutes after the JV game ends.
On Friday, the Red Raiders will host the Menehune in the first round finale.
The second round of KIF girls basketball gets under way April 18, with Waimea hosting Kapa’a.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or firstname.lastname@example.org.