KAPAA — Kapaa High School’s varsity boys basketball team defeated Waimea, 54-42, Friday evening at home in the last game of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation regular season.
“The game started off really slow, very unorganized and inconsistent. Then we corrected all of that at halftime and let them know where we’re at, what we’re doing, and what we had to do to finish the game,” said Warriors head coach John Kaneholani.
Kapaa (7-2 KIF, 4-0 2nd round, 0-1 playoff) will play Kauai High (6-3 KIF, 2-2 2nd round, 1-0 playoff) on Tuesday at home for the KIF championship playoff game.
“We’re in a very good position to win it all, but I don’t think it’s going to come that easy,” Kaneholani said. “We watched Kauai High play Waimea the last game. It was an inspirational game for them. They’re capable. They’re capable of winning, too. We’ll be ready though. We have a couple more practices. We’ll make sure they’re focused on that game.”
The Warriors led by three points at halftime and went on to lead by double digits in the second half.
“We just played as a team, hustled to the ball and played our game,” said Warriors senior forward Mosese Fifita. “Most of all, we worked on rebounding, conditioning and our shooting. We worked on all of that through the week.”
Kaneholani added: “We went to the run-and-gun. It worked out really good — running with the ball. We were out of sync earlier. The run-and-gun really helped us get back into the game. We’re happy about that.”
Waimea (0-8 KIF, 0-4 2nd round) brought up some of its junior varsity players.
“We feel good about next year and what we have,” said Waimea assistant coach Dino Pabre. “We have a good bunch of sophomores coming up.”
Menehune senior forward Briggs Agu added: “We did good with bringing in the JV players. They’re the future of the team. … It was fun playing with them. I wish I had another year to play with them.”
It was Kapaa’s senior night. The school honored its four seniors: Fifita, guard Christian Roslin, guard Kai Maroney and forward Christopher Yam.
“I’m feeling good. I don’t want to look past Tuesday, but it’s going really good right now,” Fifita said about his last season. “(I’ve enjoyed) just playing with my teammates that I call brothers. And just thankful for all the coaches — all the sacrifices that they did to come and coach us.”
Kanehlani said about the four seniors: “I’m proud of those boys, all four of them. The work that they put in, the leadership that they shared with the younger ones, and just being good people. We’re going to miss them.”
Junior guard Daniel Yabes had 10 points, five steals and two assists for Kapaa. Junior forward Carson Schmick had nine points, three rebounds and two assists. Fifita had seven points, four rebounds, three assists and a block.
Agu had 13 points, six rebounds and a steal for Waimea. Junior guard DJ Pabre had eight points, two rebounds and an assist. Senior center Levi Sagucio had six rebounds, two points and an assist.
“It (the season) was challenging. We felt that the players, we felt like we had enough talent, to make a run at the KIF,” Pabre said. “They played hard, and that’s all we ask for.”
Kapaa also won the JV game in overtime, 54-53. Warriors sophomore guard Telii Fonua had 19 points. Menehune sophomore forward Joel Soriano had 15 points.
”It was a little stressful, but it was a good game. That’s all it was,” said Kapaa JV coach Kamahalo Kauhane. “Waimea, every game they get better and better. They get more competitive. It’s just a dogfight out there.”