LIHUE — It has been a long time coming, but the Red Raiders finally pulled through.
Kauai High School’s girls basketball team (1-1 in second round) got its first win of the season and defeated Waimea 44-33 at home on Tuesday night.
“Finally winning, I have that passion back and now I can go harder,” said Kauai starter Riana Ralston. “We’re looking forward to doing what we did tonight for the rest of the season.”
Ralston led her team in scoring with 12 points.
Kauai head coach Neil Fagarang said he hopes this win will revive his team and be competitive in the second round of the season.
“We needed a win to have confidence,” he said. “That’s what we lacked because we’re young.”
Menehune head coach Brandon Moises said his team just “didn’t show up” to play.
“They pounded the ball inside to Riana, and we let her get the best of us,” he said. “I asked others to step up. They did to a point, but not well enough obviously.”
Waimea’s Caitlyn Owen did not start the game and didn’t step onto the court until the fourth quarter.
“Caitlyn was out sick, so we felt we had to rest her,” Moises said about Owen. “She was able to go, but because she missed practice I had to hold her out.”
He said his assistant coaches convinced him to let her play during the final period.
“Coaches kind of got in my ear and said to put her in,” he said. “I said fine, but at some point we’re teaching them things beyond the game, too.”
Moises said he expects Owen to recover in time for the team’s next game.
Waimea’s Tianalee Apilado said the team had a hard time having to play without Owen.
“She has a lot of chemistry with us and she brings energy to the court,” she said.
“It was playing without her, but that’s why other girls had to step up. They did their job, but we just came up short,” she added.
Apilado finished the game with eight points.
Kauai grabbed hold of its lead and maintained it for the majority of the game after the first quarter ended in a tie.
Waimea (1-1 in second round) attempted a lot of shots from the perimeter, but didn’t make most of them.
“If it was open, they were told to shoot,” Moises said. “If we didn’t have the fastbreak, then we could slow it down and work our base offense.
“It’s a lower-percentage shot, but that’s why we preach the defensive end first. We get stops on the defensive end, we’re allowed to miss more on offense. If [the shot] was there, they were told to take it.”
Kauai’s Marissa Martinez said continued dedication will lead the team to more as the team looks forward to the rest of the second round.
“We’re going to keep practicing harder and harder, and we’ll put more effort into the next game,” she said.
Martinez finished the game with eight points.
Considering his team came close to beating Kapaa the previous game, Fagarang said he hopes the win will drive his players to beat the Warriors the next game.
“From the start, I believed they could win. I just needed to put it in their heads,” he said. “Hopefully tonight gave them confidence and we can continue to win some more games.”
Kauai’s next game is scheduled for Tuesday at home against Kapaa.
Waimea will next play on Friday at Kapaa.
On both occasions, the junior varsity teams start at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity squads will start 20 minutes following the conclusion of the JV games.
Waimea’s junior varsity girls basketball team defeated Kauai 32-11.
Waimea’s Shania Kahepu’u scored nine points and Kauai’s Sheryl Ann Tomas scored five.