Erin Connelly was on fire and Aiko Grande ignited two three-point bombs to lead Waimea to a 42-29 showing in the Monday night running of the 3 G’s Nation 18 and Under girls basketball league.
Earlier in the evening, Tori Tuttle and Jodi Das finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively, to lead Wailua to a 51-24 showing over the Lihu‘e Kamikaze in the twinbill opener at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.
Wailua, featuring a mixed bag of players from the Kapa‘a High School varsity program as well as some new faces to the court, led from the onset against the Kamikaze which saw a lot of players coming out of middle school.
“Coach Bobby wanted us to play in this league so we would get tough,” said Cheyanne Duarte, and eighth grader at Waimea Canyon School. “The floor is going to get mopped, tonight.”
But that was not to be as both Kaulupono and the Kamikaze put up scappy fights against their taller and stronger opponents.
“Those girls in red are tough,” said Wailua coach Talbert Tacbian following its win. “They’re going to be good.”
Following the Wailua scoring leaders, Kira Nakamura, hustling to the inside a lot, finished with 8 points, including a pair from outside the three-point arc.
Chelsey Villatora did the same, her three-point bombs and a bucket all coming in the final period against a fading Kamikaze defense. Destiny Smith finished with 7 points and pairs from Hanalei Gomes, fresh off Kapa‘a softball’s third place HHSAA state tournament, and Victoria Olsen who recently swam in her final Mokihana Aquatics time trials.
Lacey Lucas paced the Kamikaze with 10 points followed by Kayla Perez hustling for 6 points. Kanani Dreir was tough in the paint for 4 points and pairs from Lauren James and Kawehi Louis-Diamond accounted for the redshirts’ scoring.
Following the pair of scoring leaders for Waimea, Jayme Jacinto, coming off the HHSAA Track & Field Championships, added a pair from outside the three-point arc for 6 points. Joanna Andres was suited up in Waimea blue to finish with 5 points, along with Bristy-Ann Agu who nailed her 5 points on a trey and a bucket.
Kierra Barba had 4 points and a digit from Chaelyn Briones rounded out the win.
Shayna Alop and Janessa Grady set the pace for Kaulupono, Alop nailing a trey in her 7-point lead and Grady adding two from outside the three-point stripe for her 6 points.
Kayla Werner and Vakeesha Lagazo each finished with 4 points, all coming in the final period. Rea Plotado and Kelsey Cadiente each added 3 points with a pair from Kathleen Cadiente rounding out the effort.