LIHUE — Kapaa clinched the first round of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls basketball after edging Kauai High School, 39-24, Friday night at the Kauai High School gym.
Spreading its offense over four Warriors, coach William Aki piloted the wahine from a 11-10 halftime deficit, keeping the Red Raiders scoreless in the final two minutes of play.
“We had a plan,” Aki said. “We played the plan, staying close in the first half.”
Despite trailing 7-0 following the opening frame, the Warriors rallied with 10 points in the second period, including four points from Siokapesi Paua and a three-ball from Ariel Cummings.
The Lady Warriors turned the tide early in the third quarter, wrestling the lead on a 9-7 run, ending the period in the driver’s seat, 19-18.
“That was the plan,” Aki said. “Slow the game down, spread their defense and run the bigs until they were tired. We kept pressing and it threw their game off. It came down to who made the better adjustments.”
The Warriors coasted the final minutes to victory behind 10 points each from Paua and team captain Tori Pomaikai-Daligcon. Cummings, who was a perfect 4-for-4 at the foul line, added seven points. Kunani Tuttle also had seven points.
“It was very frustrating,” said Kauai coach Neil Fagarang. “Free throws were the key — we weren’t making any, and Kapaa was dropping theirs.”
The Red Raiders were five of 20 at the charity line — all in the second half. Kapaa was 16 of 26.
“We had some good plans,” Fagarang said. “If we had hit half of the 10 free throw attempts in the first half, we could have run. It would have been a different game. But it was a combination of missed free throws, bad decisions, and even if we could get inside, we turned over the ball before we could get it inside.”
Taegan Keep led Kauai with eight points, including a 2-for-10 performance from the foul line followed by Monique Tomacder adding five points, including a three-ball in the opening frame. Malyssa Manera and Riana Ralston finished with four points apiece.
“It’s not like we don’t practice these things,” Fagarang said. “We work on these things at every practice. It’s time to go back to the beginning and get the kids to play together.”
Earlier in the evening, Kapaa’s JV kept its undefeated record intact with a 37-12 win over Kauai while the Waimea JV took a 42-21 win over Island School at the Wilcox Gym at the Puhi campus.
The KIF begins Round 2 on Tuesday when Kapaa hosts Waimea at the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa when the JV game tips off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity match.
Island School will host the Kauai JV in a single game starting at 5:30 p.m.