WAIMEA — Kapaa High School’s varsity girls basketball team defeated Waimea, 45-32, Friday evening.
“Tonight, we came out with a little more intensity, and we held through the whole first half,” said Kapaa head coach William Aki. “We got sloppy in the third quarter. But in the fourth quarter, we just sustained the lead.”
Kapaa (1-1 KIF) got off to a fast start and finished the first half with a 29-12 lead.
Warriors Jaliyah Casem, Samantha Coloma and Jazmin Kaleiohi each scored five points in the half.
“We did pretty good. Before the game, we went to the team meeting and discussed what we should work on before the game and what our goal are,” Casem said. “Our main goals were rebounding, attacking the basket and keeping the ball. Stuff like that.”
Aki added about the first half success: “After the last loss we had, we tried to intensify our game and take more attempts at the basket, which we didn’t have in the first game we played. That helped us out a lot.”
Waimea (0-1) then inched closer in the third quarter. The Menehune outscored the Warriors in the period 12-2 and cut the deficit to single digits.
The third quarter run was sparked by back-to-back steals by Kiarra Palacio, which both resulted in fastbreak layups.
“The fire lit up,” said Waimea first-year head coach Natalie Mata about the run in the third quarter.
“It could have been my fault, too. My team, we’re small but we’re fast. In the beginning, I told them to play out in the zone. I take responsibility for that. (It’s a) learning process for everybody,” she said about the slow beginning. “So when we brought them out in the second half and we played man-to-man, that’s our style of basketball.”
The Warriors then went back to how they performed in the first half. Kapaa outscored Waimea 14-8 in the final period to seal the road win.
“Just control and running the offense, and recognizing what the defense is doing so we can fix our offense,” Aki said. “Run our stuff, and not run a fast game like Waimea was trying to do. We slowed the ball down and tried to pick out the defense as best as we could just to sustain that lead. That helped us through.”
Casem led the Warriors offensively with nine points. Paea Tafea had eight points for Kapaa. Kaleiohi had seven points.
Palacio was the game’s leading scorer with 14 points. Shania Kahepuu had five points, and Jasmin Santella had four points for Waimea.
“We just got to come back and work harder,” Mata said. “They did good. The second half was way better than the first. That’s all I can ask from the kids — to give their full 100 percent. … First game of the season. Hard loss, but we got more games to go.”
Waimea will play at Kauai High (1-0 KIF) on Tuesday. The junior varsity game between Kauai and Kapaa will begin 5:30 and the varsity game between the Red Raiders and Menehune will follow.
Kapaa will play at Kauai on Friday.