WAIMEA — Kauai High School’s varsity girls basketball team defeated Waimea, 37-33, on Friday night on the road.
“I’m happy for the girls. They needed this win. Losing two games in a row, the kids started doubting our decisions,” said Red Raiders head coach Neil Fagarang. “I’m glad we won. Everybody’s happy. We learned a lot tonight.”
With just under 5 minutes left in the fourth period, Waimea senior guard Tiana Apilado hit a layup to give her team its first lead of the night, 28-26.
Red Raiders freshman center Taegan Keep then put her team ahead, 30-28, soon after with a layup and a drawn foul. She converted the 3-point play.
From then on, Kauai (3-2 KIF, 1-0 second round) would pad its lead from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Monique Tomacder hit two free throws in the final minute to ice the win.
“We had heart in this game. We went out as a team and we communicated. I’m glad we did,” said Kauai senior center Riana Ralston, who had six points. “Our team needed to feel how to win again. So when the next game comes, we know how to play. We already know how it is to lose. We don’t want to be in that spot again.”
Though Waimea (1-5 KIF, 0-2 second round) came up short, head coach Brandon Moises said he and his team will continue to work for their last two games.
“They deserved to win that game at the end. They made their free throws and got the loose balls,” Moises said about Kauai. “Our girls played a much-better team game tonight, but Kauai High School earned it.
“We’re going to keep pushing and striving. Until somebody says the season is done, we’ll play as if every game is a championship game,” he added. “We’ll keep building on the idea that this is a team — there is no one key piece, but there are many pieces.”
Apilado, who had seven points in the game, added she will play her hardest for the last two games of her senior season.
“Now that we know how it is to play for each other, I think it’s going to be interesting in the next couple of games,” she said. “We’re going to bring it. We’re not going to let them just finish their season smoothly. We’re going to give them a hard time.”
Keep led Kauai’s offense with 13 points. Senior guard Marissa Martinez had nine points and Tomacder had seven.
Senior guard Caitlyn Owen was the night’s leading scorer with 14 points.
Waimea won the junior varsity game, 44-13. Kiarra Palacio scored 14 points for the JV Menehune and Kaylee Braun scored six for the Red Raiders.
Kauai will host Kapaa (4-1 KIF, 1-0 second round) on Tuesday. The JV game begins at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity will follow. Waimea will host Kapaa on Friday.