Wailua fires up crowd at 12U girls finale

KALAHEO — Wailua girls gave the audience lots to cheer about Wednesday night.

Looking for its first win, the team coached by Talbert Tacbian ignited the audience early in the contest as Kekai Gonsalves dropped a bucket that tied the contest 4-4.

But despite the crowd-pleasing antics, Wailua finished the season with a 39-20 loss at the hands of Island Heat in the second of three games played at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.

The Wailua team, comprised of a lot of girls 10 years old, finished their tenure in the county’s 12 and Under girls basketball season still searching for a “w,” but had a lot of fun on the court.

Kayla Tokuda gave the crowd another reason to erupt in cheer in the second period when her bucket stalemated the contest 6-6, an achievement that was rare during the greenshirts’ season.

Taylor Garcia, who finished the night with a game-high 16 points, spurred the Heat to a 7-2 period en route to their eventual victory. Garcia finished the period netting four of the Heat’s seven points.

But the Wailua greenshirts weren’t done yet as Tokuda rekindled the fans in the fifth period by launching a three-point bomb. Her feat was repeated in the final period when Jacquelyn Padre set off another bomb from beyond the three-point arc at 11 o’clock, the feat earning the team well-earned applause and cheers from its supporters.

Gonsalves, one of the smaller Wailua team players, topped the greenshirt effort with 6 points followed by Tokuda’s 5 points in the game. Jenna Iwasaki netted her game-total 4 points in the final period along with Padre’s 3 points. A pair from Cortney Higa, who opened the books in the first frame, accounted for the Wailua math.

Following Garcia, Jennifer Grady added 10 points for the Heat and No. 3 player Courtney Contrades netted 8 points. Mariah Dias and Shelley Tottori each added a pair to account for the winning formula.

In the opening game, the depth of the Gee’s Angels defense held the Lihu‘e Kamakazes to just four points in its 44-4 season-ender.

Kawai Calderon and Alexis Hernandez netted the Kamakazes’ buckets, the Lihu‘e team finishing the contest 0-for-4 from the free throw line.

Mahea Hanie-Grace, igniting the twine with a late-game trey, topped the Angels’ scoring with a game-high 17 points. Kristle Henry, the speedy guard who hung out for the remaining two games, joined Daezsa Tomas, Reggie McCabe, the Angels’ cleanup and No. 3 player, and Bristy Ann Agu, the inside post, in contributing four points each. A trio from Tiorie Daligcon, 1-for-4 at the charity stripe, accounted for the season-ending arithmetic.

Overcoming physical limitations, the pink-shirted Ha‘aheo could not overcome the blistering defensive pressure exerted by Kaulupono girls in its 28-9 loss in the defensive slugfest.

Anchored by Paige Connelly, Krista Kali, Cheyanne Duarte and Shyna Alop, Kaulupono held Ha‘aheo to just four points in the final two periods of the contest.

Vakeesha Lagazo took the lead for the Kaulupono offense with a game-high 14 points, 10 coming in the first half. Kali followed with her game-total 4 points coming in the first half. Rea Piotado also finished with 4 points for the Kaulupono Girls. Pairs from Duarte and Connelly figured in the final score.

Machaela Rapozo, although smaller in stature than many of her Kaulupono counterparts, topped the Ha‘aheo effort with 5 points followed by Maegan Wong and Mia Cabulisan adding a pair each, Cabulisan being an asset in the transition role for the Ha‘aheo.

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