Upcountry Elite squeaks by Waimea

KAPAA — Upcountry Elite girls’ basketball teams took two of its three matches during the opening day of the Merv Lopes Kauai Hoops Classic.

“They have five teams between the boys and girls,” said Kamikaze team parent Kevin Matsunaga “We actually won our game against Upcountry Elite, 20-17 in an exhibition match. A three-point shot from Cheryl Tomas was the difference in the end.”

Kamikaze is an Intermediate division girls team from Kauai. 

Earlier in the day, Upcountry Elite took out the hosting Team Central girls 13-8 at the Island School in another exhibition match.

“There’re only four teams in the Girls Division,” said Kaulupono Division 1 girls team coach Bobby Kamakele. “We lost our game to the Kauai Ballers. During the Kaulupono Summer Basketball league games, we beat them and I think our girls became too complacent.”

Trailing 14-5 at the half against Waimea, Upcountry Elite, Division 1 girls clawed back and turned the tide at the 11:11 mark when Lindzee Bowa’s hook shot in traffic knotted the game at 14-14. The Upcountry Elite held Waimea scoreless for more than 10 minutes in the second half.

Shania Kahepuu put Waimea back on the board at the 5:56 mark, deadlocking the match at 16-16.

Following a back-and-forth exchange, Upcountry Elite put away the game with 1.9 seconds remaining when Sylvania Amor dropped the front end of a charity pair for the 26-24 final go-ahead.

Waimea had its opportunities in the final three minutes, but the ball wouldn’t drop, allowing Upcountry Elite to creep up and finally lock in the win.

The championship game for the Merv Lopes Kauai Hoops Classic will take place Saturday at the Island School gym starting at 2:30 p.m.

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