Kapaa splits KIF girls hoops opener

KAPAA — Waimea came back to outshoot Kapaa 17-12 in the second half during Tuesday’s game at the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa.

However, the 30-14 deficit at the half was too much to overcome and Kapaa notched its first win, 42-31, to open the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls basketball season.

Playing in front of an audience of about 400 people, each enthusiastic about their respective team’s chances at winning, Kapaa coach Willy Aki capitalized on the depth of the Warrior wahine to maintain control over the Menehune in the physical matchup.

The physical nature of the game was attested to when Waimea was sent to the free throw line 32 times in the game, making 17 shots while Kapaa went to the charity stripe 26 times with 18 shots dropped.

Tianalee Apilado led Waimea in scoring with 12 points, including dropping six points on nine tries at the foul line.

Apilado made one of two shots in the opening quarter when the Kapaa full court press limited Waimea to just three points while the Warrior offense bucketed nine points.

Tori Daligcon-Pomaikai had the hot hand for Kapaa, finishing with nine points, but added intensity in the paint on both ends of the court with blocks and boards.

Daligcon-Pomaikai was joined by Ariel Cummings to lead Kapaa in the opening stanza. Cummings got four points, including her sole field goal in the game, and Daligcon-Pomaikai added three points.

The full court pressure continued to stymie Waimea until the final three minutes of the first half when the Menehune netted 11 points, nine coming from free throws. Its only field goal came from guard Taylor Gaspar who dropped her only points of the game in the second frame.

Kapaa, on the other hand, had its most productive frame in the second period as the team scored 27 points led by Maile Tuttle who scored her game-total seven points in the frame, then followed by Uilani McCabe getting four free throws and Kaylee “Lele” Silva adding three points on an and-one 3-point play.

Waimea answered the Kapaa defensive adjustment coming off the break, outgunning the Warriors 13-7 led by Apilado who netted eight points.

Following Apilado’s dozen points for Waimea, Brandee Burton netted seven points, five coming in the second half. Caitlyn Owen, after she played as goalkeeper for the first half of a KIF soccer game, added four points. Nicole Palacio, a three-ball threat, was held to three points. Guard Jenaiah Banasihan rounded out the match with a two-for five showing at the line.

Following Daligcon-Pomaikai’s nine points for Kapaa, Tuttle and Cummings each added seven points. McCabe netted six points before she fouled out. Silva ended with five points, Shai-Anne Abigania pocketed four, and a pair from Shyanne Almarza rounded out the Kapaa math.

Earlier, the Waimea junior varsity wrapped up a 34-22 win over Kapaa behind Jasmine Santella, a product of Kaulupono community basketball, who led the effort with nine points, followed by Shania Kahepuu adding eight points. Lauren Lagoc finished with six points, Casey Fernandez added four points, Schae-Marie Tavita had three and digits from Charissa Waalani and Breeann Cayaban rounded out the victory.

Jazmin Kaleiohi topped the Kapaa JV scoring with six points, followed by Paea Tafea and Lupe Tafea who each netted four points. Pesi Paua added three points and pairs from Lila Hearn, Mele Masaniai and Kunani Tuttle rounded out the effort.

Kapaa next travels to Kauai High School on Friday where the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team will open its practice following the varsity game.

The JV match tips off at 5:30 p.m., followed by the varsity match starting 20 minutes after the completion of the JV game and the Hawaii men’s team starting its practice at the completion of the girls’ varsity match.

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