WAIMEA — The defending Kauai Interscholastic Federation champs started their title defense with a win on the road.
Kapaa High School’s varsity girls basketball team defeated Waimea 49-31 in the 2014-15 season’s opening game at Waimea High School.
“Our game tonight was to play a half-court game with Waimea and not try to run with them because of their speed,” said Warriors head coach William Aki. “We made sure the girls didn’t let up. Being we only got nine (players), if we start fouling out, then we’ll get short-ended.
“We kind of got sloppy at the end, but it’s things we can work on and fix,” he added. “A lot of it was because of ball control. Every time we lost the ball, we’d try to get the ball back. Just got a little sloppy on the defensive end.”
The Warriors (1-0 KIF) shot themselves to a 17-4 lead after the first quarter and didn’t slow down en route to getting their first win of the season.
Sophomore forward Siokapesi Paua and junior center Paea Tafea, both of whom were promoted to varsity this year, were a huge presence in the paint area and led the Warriors offensively. Paua scored 17 points and Tafea scored 11.
Senior guard Ariel Cummings also had 11 points, including one 3-pointer.
“We have the biggest bigs around here. We’re going to use that, of course,” Paua said. “From the preseason, we know what our strong sides are … We just practice what our weak things were, like passing and how fast we can go.”
Though Waimea (0-1 KIF) played with urgency, it couldn’t find a way to close the gap.
Though it wasn’t the result he hoped for in the home opener, Menehune head coach Brandon Moises said all he and his team can do is learn from their mistakes and move on.
“I think we were star-struck. I think we came in big-eyed and bushy tailed. Kapaa dictated everything that we did,” he said. “We give credit to what Kapaa did, game plan-wise and player-wise. We just got to come back and get ready for Kauai High School now. We got two days to get ready.”
Sophomore forward Shania Kahepuu scored 8 points for Waimea. Senior guard Tiana Apilado scored 7 points and junior guard Brandee Burton had 6.
Waimea’s varsity team will play the Red Raiders at Kauai High School on Friday. The junior varsity game begins 5:30 p.m. and the varsity game will follow. Kapaa will play at Kauai on Tuesday.
Kapaa also beat Waimea 40-25 in the JV match. Lila Hearn scored 7 points for the Warriors and Kianna Palacio scored 12 for the Menehune.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or NCelario@thegardenisland.com.