Second round showdown Friday

LIHUE — The Red Raider wahine surged to a 12-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and held it to the end.

Kauai High School’s varsity girls basketball team defeated Waimea on its Senior Night, 34-14, on Tuesday. 

“I’m very excited because it’s my last home game. I’m just very glad that my team got together and we actually played like a team,” said Red Raiders senior center Riana Ralston, who finished the game with three points. “We came together on this night. I’ll remember all the memories we made in practice and in the bus rides.”

The win brought Kauai (4-3 KIF, 2-1 second round) level with Kapaa for the second round of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation season. A winner will be determined when the two teams face off on Friday.

The Warriors varsity girls claimed the first round earlier this month.

“We kept telling the girls that they got to learn how to finish,” said Kauai head coach Neil Fagarang. “We cannot afford turnovers, make free throws and make smart decisions. Tonight, I was very excited and happy for them. Hopefully, they saw what we as coaches were talking about.”

Though the night was devoted to the team’s seniors, it was freshman center Taegan Keep who led the Red Raiders’ offense with 16 points.

“We played smart. We made smart choices,” Keep said. “I wanted the win and I wanted to play hard.” 

Waimea (2-6 KIF, 1-3 second round) outscored its opponent 7-2 in the second quarter to go into halftime with a 14-7 deficit, but couldn’t muster enough offense to close the gap. 

“In the first and third quarters, we didn’t match Kauai High’s energy. We came out flat,” said Menehune assistant coach Elton Montemayor. “We cut it to within single digits, but in the fourth quarter we just couldn’t come back.”

He added the players could have possibly been mentally drained after Waimea won in its Senior Night against Kapaa on Tuesday, but it’s not a justification because the team was still in contention for the second round. 

“If a game is presented in front of you, you got to go and attack it,” Montemayor said. “If we had a win tonight, we would have had a chance. If Kauai High beats Kapaa, we would have had a three-way tie. With that senario, there’s no excuse for players and coaches to not be prepared.”

With the home win, Kauai said aloha to its four seniors: Ralston, center Natalia Alvarez, guard April Balisacan and team manager Tia Fagarang. 

“There’s a lot of things that I will miss. Overall, it’s just their presence,” coach Fagarang said about the graduating class. “They’re always positive.”

Kauai junior guard Marissa Martinez had eight points and sophomore guard Monique Tocacder had seven.

Waimea senior guard Caitlyn Owen had five points, and fellow senior guard Tiana Apilado had four points. 

Kauai will play at Kapaa (5-2 KIF, 2-1 second round) on Friday. The junior varsity game will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity will follow. 

If Kapaa wins, the Warriors would win the second round and claim this year’s KIF girls basketball title. If Kauai wins, the Red Raiders would win the second round and the two teams would play a championship game at a date and location to be determined.

“We’re reaching for that. That’s our next goal,” Ralston said about Friday’s game. “I think we need to play like how we did tonight. If we accomplish that, I think we’ll accomplish the W.” 

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