LIHU’E — Down by 10 points at the half, the Menehune turned up the heat on Kaua’i, thanks to a big fourth-quarter run for the 57-51 victory last night at the Raider-dome.
The win improved the Menehune to 2-0 in second round play and dropped Kaua’i one game back at 1-1. Idle Kapa’a, the first-round champion, is 0-2 in round two.
The Red Raiders let the game slip away in the fourth period as Moani Durant drilled a three-pointer and added a driving bucket for the 43-40 lead with 4:14 to go in the contest.
Waimea’s Cheri Kua slid in for a putback, while being fouled, which gave the girls in blue a 48-41 lead at the 3:20 mark.
Kaua’i senior guard Rachel Taira threw in a three-point bomb, which cut the lead down to four, but Waimea’s Anna Jacinto answered with a trey of her own for the 51-44 bulge, with 2:28 on the clock.
The trifecta put the Red Raiders out for good, as Waimea’s best friend, the clock, ran out with the Menehune on top, 57-51.
Earlier in the contest, Taira helped Kaua’i to a 26-16 lead at the half, but Waimea cruised back in the third period, as Durant and Natalie Mata combined for eight points, which knotted the score up at 30 apiece.
Waimea instituted a full-court press scheme at the start of the second half, which shook up the Red Raiders, who turned the ball over numerous times during the comeback.
Durant led Waimea with 15 points and Mata chipped in with 14. Taira led all scorers with 18 points and Inouye added seven in the loss.
Waimea’s JV squad also took the win over the Red Raiders, 48-27, thanks to 19 big points from Tatum Gonsalves. Rachel Hamamura led Kaua’i with nine points.
KIF girls hoops heads to the Bernice Hundley Gymnasium, with the Warriors battling the Menehune on Saturday.
JV action starts at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity girls hit the court 20 minutes after the completion of the JV contest.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or kauaisports@kauaipubco.