Kaua’i catches fire

KAPA’A — Intensity was the name of the game last night, as the Red Raiders grabbed the 56-48 win over Kapa’a at the Bernice Hundley Gymnasium.

“It was a big game. We needed to step our intensity and we did. We were really aggressive,” Kaua’i coach Dennis Aquino said.

Kaua’i’s big three also came to play, scoring the brunt of the Red Raider baskets. Rachel Taira netted a team-high 18 points, followed by Carie Inouye with 15, and Ho’onani Dennis with 14, including four three-pointers.

“I’m really happy for the girls. We pushed them really hard this past week. It’s just a matter of believing and these girls did their job,” Aquino said.

For the first round champion Warriors, it was another bitter defeat, after losing their first game of the season against Waimea on Tuesday.

Kapa’a, who ran off a perfect 4-0 first round, seemed to have lost its intensity in the past two contests.

On the other hand, the Red Raiders have now won two straight and battle a tough Waimea squad on Tuesday.

Kaua’i opened up with the early lead, as Dennis canned three of her trifectas before the half, which handed the Red Raiders the 32-29 advantage at the midpoint of the game.

Poe Gantt kept the Warriors close with 14 big points at the half.

Kapa’a climbed back into the contest in the third period, as Danielle Creamer and Gantt fueled a mini comeback, with the Warriors down by a single point at 38-37 at the end of three.

In the fourth quarter, Taira and Inouye teamed up to increase the bulge for the Red Raiders, by nailing down crucial shots.

Taira’s breakaway lay-in off an inbounds pass, handed Kaua’i the 48-41 lead with just over a minute to go. Brittney Carvalho and Gantt added buckets , which cut the lead down to three (49-46) with 41 seconds on the clock, but the Red Raiders slammed the door shut, by converting key free throws (Taira, Inouye, Darcie Allianic, and Tahnee Shigematsu).

Gantt ended up with a game-high 19 points and Kennilyn Nakamura chipped in with eight for the Warriors.

Kaua’i improved to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in the second round. Kapa’a dropped to 4-2 overall and 0-2 in the second round. Idle Waimea sits at 2-3 and 1-0 in second round play.

In the JV game, the Warriors (6-0) stayed undefeated with a 45-23 win over the Red Raiders (0-5), who are winless on the season. Leilani Laranio led Kapa’a with 18 points, followed by Chelsie Villatora with eight. Kathleen Cadiente paced Kaua’i with six points and Wailana Borrero added five in the loss.

KIF girls hoops continues on Tuesday, with Kaua’i hosting Waimea.

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