Keep pulls out Kaulupono win in final seconds

KALAHEO — Taegan Keep finished with a game-high 20 points Monday, but it was the three points in the last 16 seconds which pushed Kaulupono over the Hanakila girls, 30-28, at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.

Samatha Coloma netted 16 points and Tiana Manera added 10 points to lead Team Lihu‘e 1 to a 36-24 win over Team Lihu‘e 2 in the second match of the county’s Division 2 girls youth basketball league.

Leona Sime finished with a game-high 12 points to lead Team Lihu‘e 2, but its next highest scorer came when Hi‘ilani Chow pocketed four points, all coming in the first half.

Taylor Cox, Resa Rapozo and Marissa Layosa each finished with pairs to help the Team Lihu‘e 2 redshirts who were dwarfed by the taller Team Lihu‘e 1 blackshirts.

Following Coloma and Manera, Halia Souza added four points with Koleka Chow adding a pair in the opening period and Seidree Kealoha-Albarado adding a pair in the third frame as Team Lihu‘e 1 controlled the game from the onset, staying just ahead of Team Lihu‘e 2.

In the evening’s opener, Hanakila and Kaulupono waged a see-saw battle with Hanakila getting the edge and even expanding its lead to as much as eight points at one point in the match.

But fouls on the Hanakila low post and its outside post took its toll when Keani Tolenea buzzed out with 4:01 remaining in the fifth period, adding six points to the Hanakila effort and snagging a number of rebounds over Keep.

The foul slowed Hanakila, but when its outside post, Joy Milbrand, buzzed out in the final seconds, she looked up quizzically, not believing she had actually tallied five fouls.

She left the game with six points and invaluable ball moving skills and passing to open shooters.

“We just committed too many fouls on ourselves,” said Hanakila Coach Mike Stevens following the game.

Keep capitalized on the fouls, taking the opener of a charity pair in the final 16 seconds to break a 27-27 deadlock.

Her second shot bounced off the rim, and Keep moved in to snag her own rebound and pocketed the ball for the final.

Hanakila did not give up, Jaliyah Cassem lunging for a final effort, but the ball was not cooperating.

Cassem, like Keani Tolenea and Milbrand, pocketed six points, including a three-ball in the third period to lead the Hanakila effort.

Shanol Tolenea added five points with Angelee Kaden, Asia Boiser and Kayla Tangalin each finishing with pairs, Boiser showing good form in the second half in both defensive rebounding and offensive ball movement.

Keep topped all scorers with 20 points followed by Monique Lorenzo with six points and key guard duties along with D’Analyn Helgen who ended the night with no score.

China Yasay pocketed the four points to round out the Kaulupono win.

Following the boys’ games Thursday, the players will enjoy the Dennis Agena and Kalakaua Basketball clinic which starts Saturday and runs through Monday at the Kilauea Neighborhood Center.

Karen Matsumoto of the Kaua‘i Youth Basketball Association, who coordinated the tournament, said there are about 70 kids registered for the three-day popular basketball clinic.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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