LIHUE — Kauai High School’s varsity girls basketball team defeated Waimea, 52-34 in its home-opening game Friday night.
“Hopefully, it continues. I cannot use ‘We’re young’ as an excuse anymore. But we still are young. … We only have three seniors,” said Red Raiders head coach Neil Fagarang. “What I saw tonight, we don’t look like a bunch of rookies anymore.”
Kauai centers senior Riana Ralston and freshman Taegan Keep set up screens along the baseline to open up their shooters early on. The Red Raiders (1-0 KIF) hit three shots from outside the 3-point line, two of which were scored by sophomore guard Monique Tomacder, and ended the opening period with a 14-4 lead.
The team was successful in scoring inside and outside the rest of the game.
“Our game plan was to try to dominate inside. But if they took that away, then we’re forced to shoot outside, and we’re not afraid to shoot from the outside,” Fagarang said. “Most of our guards, they can shoot threes. I have confidence and they have confidence to take the shot.”
Tomacder, Keep and junior guard Marissa Martinez each scored 8 points for Kauai. Sophomore guard Sheryl Tomas had 7 and Ralston had 5.
“We played as a team and communicated well. I think that’s what brought us to win tonight,” Ralston said.
Menehune head coach Brandon Moises said mistakes on his team’s part since the opening tipoff allowed Kauai to further extend its lead.
“We let one error turn into two errors, then four errors in a row. At that point, a 6-point deficit became 16,” said Waimea head coach Brandon Moises. “A lot of our girls are getting their feet wet. We took these first two games as experience. We got to come back and keep working.”
Waimea (0-2 KIF) had numerous chances at the free throw line to perhaps close the gap, but converted just 13 of 28 attempts. Kauai made 11 of 22.
“We spend a practice a week strictly on free throws,” Moises said. “At some point, that passion has to turn into belief. That will turn into confidence, and then execution. … We just got to grow and build as a team.”
Junior center Melia Okura scored 8 points for Waimea. Senior guard Tiana Apilado guard scored 6 and junior guard Brandee Burton had 5.
Kauai will play at Kapaa (1-0 KIF) on Tuesday. The junior varsity game begins 5:30 p.m. and the varsity will follow. Waimea will then play at Kapaa on Dec. 30.