KAPAA — Kauai High School’s varsity girls basketball team defeated Kapaa, 28-22 on Tuesday at Kapaa High School.
With the win, Kauai (2-0 KIF) sits in first place in the first round of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season.
“The five (on the court) were playing really well together and they came up with the win. I’m really happy for them,” said Red Raiders head coach Neil Fagarang.
Warriors senior guard Ariel Cummings and junior forward Tori Daligcon-Pomaikai both fouled out in the fourth quarter.
With Kapaa (1-1 KIF) in foul trouble, Kauai got the bonus and padded its lead on the free throw line, making 9 of 16 free throws in the final period, 11 of 24 overall.
The Red Raiders had a 27-16 lead at one point.
“Our game plan was to actually get (their) big girls in foul trouble. Not by driving to the basket, but as the game went on, we felt that our guards were faster,” Fagarang said. “I just told them that if there’s an open lane, then go for it. They did and everything worked well for us.”
Down the stretch, however, the Warriors surged and cut their deficit to single digits. Senior guard Brandie McCarthy gave her team a boost of energy off of the bench. She was credited with 2 points in the game.
“We tried to make a run a little too late. We got ourselves out of our game,” said Kapaa head coach William Aki. “Their bigs gave us a hard time for a bit until we figured out how to attack them instead of being too passive with the ball … We made a lot of mistakes out there. That’s always going to cost you.
“With her (McCarthy), it’s a give and take what we’re going to get each night. But she did very well tonight,” he added about McCarthy coming off the bench.
Though Kapaa came back energized in the final minutes, Kauai was able to buckle down defensively to seal a victory.
“I just told them that they were making good steals and took a couple of good shots. They just needed to relax and run the clock down, which they did,” Fagarang said. “It showed how mature they got from last year. I’m proud of them. They’re playing well and maturing together.”
Freshman center Taegan Keep scored 7 points for the Red Raiders. Senior center Riana Ralston scored 5. Junior guard Malyssa Manera, sophomore guard Monique Tomacder and junior guard Marissa Martinez each scored 4.
“We knew we were going to have a hard time because Kapaa is big. We don’t have the height advantage,” Martinez said. “But we had a game plan. We stuck with that and that’s what led us to the win. We had mistakes here and there. Other than that, we did good.”
Daligcon-Pomakai, sophomore forward Paea Tafea and senior guard Shai-anne Abigania each scored 4 points for Kapaa.
Kapaa will host Waimea (0-2 KIF) on Tuesday. The junior varsity game begins 5:30 p.m. and the varsity will follow. Kauai will play at Waimea on Jan. 6.