Menehune girls stun Red Raiders

WAIMEA — Menehune junior center Alyssa Pigao knocked down two jump shots just outside the paint in the closing minutes to ice her team’s first win of the season.

Waimea High School’s varsity girls basketball team beat Kauai, 32-25, at home Tuesday night. 

“We were trying to kick it out to any person. If I was open, I was going to shoot,” Pigao said about her catch-and-shoot jumpers. “I was running high on adrenaline. It was a good feeling to have our teammates up for once. It was all for the team.”

Kauai (2-1 KIF) held a short lead for most of the game. Waimea sophomore forward Shania Kahepuu hit a layup at the 3:10 mark of the fourth quarter to give her team a 25-23 lead. Pigao then made the two shots, her only points of the game.

Senior guard Tiana Apilado also made three free throws to pad her team’s lead. Waimea (1-3 KIF) then held on to the ball to kill the clock and seal the victory.

Menehune head coach Brandon Moises described the win in one word — reciprocity.

“Last year, we were one game ahead in the second round. We went to Kauai High School and we lost the game,” Moises said. “They got to go Friday now, knowing they were in first. They’re not in first. They’re now tied for first.

“The girls played with heart. We figured out we don’t have to be big to win,” he added. “In the end, you got to compete and you got to be smart. We made smart plays to finish the game. We ran an offense we were waiting for all season — wide open, short jump shots.”

Kauai had chances at the free throw line, but made just 1 of 7 attempts in the final quarter and was 4-23 overall. Waimea was 8-15.

The Red Raiders also had several second-chance opportunities from offensive rebounding, but most of the put-back shots didn’t fall through. 

“It’s not like we didn’t have good looks at the basket. We had our opportunities. We just didn’t get them in,” said Kauai head coach Neil Fagarang. “Not taking anything away from Waimea. They played with heart. Heart, you cannot teach. They were aggressive to the ball. They executed and played well. We didn’t. They made the easy baskets and we didn’t.”

Senior center Riana Ralston was Kauai’s leading scorer with 10 points. Junior guard Marissa Martinez had 6 points and freshman center Taegan Keep had 4.

“I guess we just thought we could come in here and take it, but they came out 10 times harder,” Ralston said about the loss. “Now, we just have to learn what we did here and work on it. So our next game, we’ll know what to do.”

Apilado was Waimea’s leading scorer with 7 points. Senior guard Caitlyn Owen and junior forward Schae-Marie Tavita each had 6 points.

Kauai will host Kapaa (2-1 KIF) on Friday. The victor will claim the first round of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season. 

The junior varsity match will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity will follow. 

“There’s not a lot of adjustments that need to be made. We just got to make baskets. The opportunities are there. We just got to make it,” Fagarang said about Friday’s match. “Again, it comes down to free throws and easy baskets. That’s how it’s going to be in the KIF, pretty much.”

Waimea will play at Kapaa on Tuesday to start the second round. 

Waimea also won Tuesday’s JV game, 37-13. Kiarra Palacio scored 20 points for the JV Menehune. Shae Erickson scored 5 for the Red Raiders.

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