LIHUE — The Raider girls came away on top in a contest that came down to the last seconds.
Kauai High School’s varsity girls basketball team defeated Kapaa, 32-30, Friday evening at home.
Kauai (2-1 KIF) had that two-point lead with just more than a second left on the game clock, and Kapaa had the last possession.
Coming off a timeout, Warriors senior guard Paea Tafea inbounded the ball to junior guard Samantha Coloma.
Coloma got the shot off before time expired, and the ball went through the basket. But the game official called traveling to end the nail-biter.
“That was the epitome of a last second call that decided the game,” said Kauai head coach James Dingus. “I got a lot of empathy and sympathy for the girls on the other side because both teams really played hard. It wasn’t a perfect game for either team by any stretch, but everybody played really hard and made it close and physical. We just had two more at the end.”
Kapaa head coach William Aki said he believed that last call when time expired would be a foul on the Red Raiders to give them one last shot.
“That one was a little iffy because the girl had her on her arm when she went up,” Aki said. “The way I looked at it, it should have been a foul called and not a travel. We were being leaned on, and they were calling that on us all night long. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the call.”
Dingus, too, thought a foul would be called but was relieved the call went in his team’s favor.
“I heard the whistle. I thought they were going to call a foul because it looked like there probably was some contact,” he said. “So, my heart was sinking. And then I looked back and I saw another referee pointing to which referee had the call first — who had priority on the call. And then I saw Coach Willie was really upset. When I realized what had happened, it was a really deep, deep sigh of relief.”
Earlier in the fourth quarter, Kapaa (1-2 KIF) had a 30-23 lead with less than four minutes left.
Kauai inched back to take the lead in the final minute. A three-pointer by Red Raiders junior guard Cici Tanicala tied the game at 30-30, and freshman guard Marissa Layosa got the go-ahead score off a layup.
“I feel relieved that it’s over and that we won by two,” Tanicala said. “It was a very nervous ending.”
Tanicala’s three-pointer was her only points in the game. She also had three rebounds and an assist.
Junior center Taegan Keep led Kauai’s offense with 12 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks. Layosa had 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Coloma had eight points, eight rebounds and a steal for Kapaa. Tafea had seven points, five rebounds and two assists. Sophomore guard Jaliyah Casem had six points and five rebounds.
“We had our chances. We took the shots that we wanted. We had a few that we kind of rushed it,” Aki said. “Other than that, the girls played really hard tonight. It’s still a long season.”
Kauai also won the junior varsity game, 20-10. Tiana Manera scored 11 points for the JV Red Raiders, and Leilanna Wong scored six points for the JV Warriors.
Kapaa will host Waimea (1-1 KIF) on Tuesday. The JV game will begin 5:30 p.m. and the varsity will follow. Kauai will play at Waimea on Friday.