Monday, Aug. 8, 2022 |
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KAPAA — Kapaa girls basketball head coach William Aki could not help himself and let out a loud exhale Tuesday night at the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa following his team’s 33-26 win over Kauai High School.
“This is the third straight game,” Aki said. “I just don’t like these slow starts.”
The Kapaa Warriors led by Paea Tafea roared back from a 15-6 halftime deficit.
Tafea put Kapaa up for good in the final stanza when she dropped a bucket in traffic for the 25-22 lead. She finished with a game-high 17 points, including 15 in the second half.
“She is a really good athlete,” said James Dingus, Kauai High School coach. “She made a difference for Kapaa, generating a lot of turnovers. Kapaa changed their defense coming off the break; we didn’t switch quick enough.”
Coming out of the locker rooms, Kapaa moved Tafea to the top of the key and got nets from Atelaite “Lupe” Tafea and Siokapesi “Pesi” Paua, igniting jubilant cheer from the home crowd.
“We put one of our tall people up top,” Aki said. “That way we could guard against the small Kauai guards. We could also utilize our bench. I just don’t like the slow starts.”
Joining Tafea, guard Jaliyah Casem dropped eight points, six coming in the second half and the other pair coming in the second quarter when Kauai held Kapaa scoreless until the final minute before the half when Casem found the net. Casem iced the win with less than a second remaining on the clock, dropping a charity pair at the foul line.
Taegan Keep finished with 13 points and Malyssa Manera added six to lead Kauai.
“We got some good minutes from Seeley Byers in the first half,” Dingus said. “She’s been working really hard at practice, and tonight, she got to see the reward for her effort. This allowed us to give Taegan some rest in the half.”
Sheryl Ann Tomas scored all of her four points in the second quarter when Kauai outgunned Kapaa, 11-2. The third quarter was a reverse scenario when Kapaa outscored Kauai 15-5, Kauai’s first bucket not finding the twine until the final two minutes of the frame.
Earlier in the evening, Angelica Cudiamat and Keani Tolenoa each dropped 16 points to lead the Kapaa junior varsity to a 59-32 win over the Kauai JV squad, which got 12 points from Shaelynn Erickson.
With the win, Kapaa takes a break until next Tuesday when the Warriors travel to the Clem Gomes Gym to face Waimea.
“We still need work,” Aki said. “We have a game to rest, but our next two games are on the road, Tuesday in Waimea and Friday at Kauai.”
Kauai will host Waimea Friday night with the junior varsity game tipping off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity match.
“We can’t assume anything,” Dingus said. “There have been some tough games in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation. We need to work on taking care of the ball.”
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