Menehune capture KIF title

Waimea 51, Kapa‘a 42

WAIMEA — It was deja vu for the Kapa‘a High School girls basketball team.

“This is exactly what happened last year,” said Mailika Napoleon. “Last year they won the coin toss and we had to come here for the playoff. When they won the coin toss again, and we had to come here again, (the team) was like ‘wow.’”

Kapa‘a won that game last year. But this year was different, as the first round champs of the Waimea High School (2-2 Round 2, 7-2 overall) won the playoff against the second round champs Kapa‘a (4-0, 6-3) 52-42 last night for the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation title and the state berth in the Division II state tournament.

“We deserved it,” said Waimea senior Nani Dennis, who finished the game with 11 points and three rebounds. “I think we worked harder. We knew we had to come out strong in the beginning.”

Come out strong they did. In the first quarter, Waimea went on a 9-point run before Kapa‘a called a time-out.

Kapa‘a came back scoring with Brittney Carvalho picking a basket and the foul for a 3-point play. But Waimea had an answer for that too, continuing to score, ending the period at 12-5. By half-time, Waimea led by 10.

Kapa‘a’s Napoleon stepped up in the third quarter, coming up with three key steals and scoring 8 of her total 14 points then. That brought Kapa‘a within 4 points. It was the closest the Warriors ever got to the Menehune.

“We just needed somebody to step up,” she said. “We didn’t have anyone doing that.”

Waimea’s Moani Durant posted 14 points and five rebounds. Teammate Kierra Barba scored 10 points.

“I’m really excited,” Barba said about coming back in the playoff to win the title. “We were all just really confident going into the game.”

Waimea goes on to the state tournament next week on O‘ahu.

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