KAPA‘A — The game could have swayed either way Saturday night.
“It’s going to come down to the last shot,” said Manuel Henriques, one of the spectators in the crowd that never left until the buzzer sounded on the 36-34 Waimea win, and the first round title.
Tatum Gonsalves, finishing the night with 3 points, including a 1-for-6 showing at the free throw line, dropped the front end of a one-and-one to give Waimea the 2-point cushion as the seconds ticked down.
“The free throws just weren’t going down,” said Waimea assistant coach Ben Agu. “In practice, they were all going in. I don’t know if it’s the traveling, or what. We made all kinds of little mistakes.”
Those free throws governed the outcome of the game. Kapa‘a, being held to just two field goals in the first half, was 10-for-14 in free throw shooting, but stayed in the race, chasing a pair at the half when their field shooting couldn’t find the hole. Waimea was 0-for-6 from the charity line in the half.
Kapa‘a reversed the trend in the third period, going 0-for-2 from the free throw line, but netting buckets from Brittney Carvalho, Poe Gantt, Leilani Laranio, Destiny Smith and a big three-pointer from Maikika Napoleon to outgun the Menehune 11-7. Waimea was limited to a bucket from Cheri Kua and a three-pointer from Moani Durant and going 1-for-6 in free throws.
Waimea surged ahead 12-8 on a big three-pointer from Aiko Grande and buckets by Durant, Gonsalves and Lorrine Lagoc in the final period.
Carvalho turned hot, scoring 6 straight points for Kapa‘a, all in the fourth period, but the effort fell short as Smith netted the final bucket.
Durant and Ho‘onani Dennis paced the Menehune win with 8 points each, Dennis reaping her scores on a pair of treys and a bucket in the first period.
Kua followed with 6 points and an equal number of boards.
Carvalho topped the Kapa‘a scoring with a game-high dozen points, four rebounds and four key blocks. Gantt followed with 8 points and an equal number of rebounds while Smith finished with 8 points and five rebounds.
Napoleon, while finishing with 4 points, joined Gantt with eight rebounds. Coming off a KIF tennis match against Island School that afternoon, Napoleon was admittedly tired.
“I was a little tired at first, but I was excited to play because if we were to win, we would have tied Waimea and had a playoff,” she said. “We were forcing our passes and rushing ourselves a bit. We probably would have won if we hadn’t made those errors.”
Kaua‘i High School (0-2) will be looking to get into the win column when it travels to Waimea Tuesday night.
The JV game tips off at 5:30 p.m. with the varsity to follow.