Upcounty Elite wins Merv Lopes Classic girls title

PUHI — The Amor girls, Sylvania and Frita, combined to lead the Upcountry Elite to a 35-32 win over the Westside Girls in overtime Saturday to win the Merv Lopes Kauai Hoops Classic girls championship.

Effectively shutting down the Waimea girls’ scoring in the second half and extending into the overtime period at Island School, Sylvania fired off four of the Elite’s five overtime points en route to netting a game-high 18 points in the win.

Frita, scoring the remaining digit for Upcountry in the three-minute overtime, finished with 10 points and added key plays in the paint throughout the matchup.

“This is the kind of game you want to see,” said Clarence Sales of the host Team Central Basketball. “We had a full house, and the game was really close.”

The Westside Girls replicated its opening match against Upcountry on Thursday night and held a 10-point lead at the half, fueled by seven points from guard Kiarra Palacio, who launched a three-ball, and Tiana Apilado lending five points including a trey.

Upcountry pulled close with 1:52 left on the clock when Jaycee Offut dropped both ends of a charity pair to tie. Following lead exchanges, the Westside Girls pulled ahead 27-17 at the break.

Coming back to new nets installed during the break, Upcountry’s defense stiffened and limited the Westside Girls’ shots as the Elite outgunned Westside, 13-9 to force the overtime.

“One day I’m going to have a game where I can just sit back and enjoy,” said Westside coach Brandon Moises, following the effort. “I told the girls that we can compete. We were close, the girls played hard and were in it until the end. They did the same thing (shut down our shooting) to us, Thursday in Kapaa.”

The boys title game is today at 2:30 p.m. at Island School.

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