Kauai Ballers win summer league title

Jessi Aki fired off 20 points to lead the Kauai Ballers to a 46-38 win over Team 808 on Friday at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.

Aki, the player/coach for the Ballers, collected two of the team’s four 3-point balls en route to the victory that earned them the title for the Kauai Youth Basketball Association 18 and Over women’s summer league.

The win, coming on the contributions of eight points from Reggie McCabe and six points from Lauren Claypoole, preserves the team’s undefeated record during the summer league.

Lauren’s sister, Joy, an Island School standout, was not on the floor because she was part of the 20-member Kauai Junior Lifeguard squad participating in the Nautica Junior Lifeguard Championships in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

But that did not slow the Ballers who built on a 10-6 first quarter lead and never looked back, getting help from Ala McCabe, who launched a 3-ball in the opening frame, and Raquelle Matayoshi, who added another in the second quarter.

Both squads tied in field goals at a dozen each but the Ballers went ahead on a 10-for-13 showing at the charity stripe compared with Team 808’s 6-for-15 showing. The Ballers launched four from outside the 3-point arc compared with the two for Team 808.

Guard Kristle Henry took the scoring lead for Team 808 with a dozen points followed by recent Waimea High School graduate Paige Connelly, who dropped 10 points. Kayla Perez pushed the button on a 3-pointer in the opening frame, while Kristyn Lorita got the second bomb in the third quarter.

Liona Hasegawa, a strong guard for the Meatballs, finished the night with six 3-point balls — one in the opening frame, four in the third quarter and one in the final frame) — leading the Meatballs to a 45-44 edge for third place honors.

Anna Jacinto knocked in a 3-pointer in the opening quarter as the Meatballs peppered the hops with seven treys compared with the #Ballout’s five — three of which came from guard Casey Anacleto.

Anacleto dropped two in the first quarter and added one in the fourth quarter. Natalie Mata dropped two in the fourth quarter during the effort that came up short at the buzzer.

#Ballout took the lead, 21-12, following the opening frame but could only drop eight points in the second frame as the Meatballs closed the gap at the half.

Working behind Hasegawa’s four treys in the third frame, the Meatballers took the lead 34-32 at the end of three quarters and held on for the digit lead at the final buzzer.

Hasegawa finished with 25 points for Meatballs’ high-point honors followed by Jenaiah Banasihan, who added six points.

Anacleto finished with a game-high 26 points to lead the #Ballout scoring followed by Brianna Lagat-Ramos, who added seven points, and Natalie Mata, who ended with six points.

Karen Matsumoto said Coach Dennis Agena of Kalakaua Basketball is planning to return to Kauai for another basketball clinic during the students’ fall break in October.

More details on the clinic will be forthcoming.

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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