WAIMEA — With three of its starting five sidelined, Kauai High School’s girls basketball team held off the hard-playing Menehune for a 45-40 win at the final buzzer Tuesday night at the Clem Gomes Gym.
“The girls did enough to get by,” said James Dingus, the Kauai coach. “They made the plays. It was not good, but enough to win.”
The Red Raiders came out strong. Taegan Keep netted six of the team’s eight first quarter points while the defense held Waimea to four points — all coming from the charity stripe.
The Menehune rebounded in the second quarter, outscoring Kauai 15-12 behind seven points from Jazmin Santella and five from point guard Kiarra Palacio. Kauai stayed in the game behind a three-ball from Monique Tomacder and held its own on four points from Keep and another three points from Marissa Layosa for a 20-19 bulge at the break.
Layosa and Keep continued to lead the Red Raider offense in the third quarter. Layosa scored five points, including a trey, and Keep fueled the effort on four points to build a 31-22 lead.
“We knew the Menehune were going to foul us,” Dingus said. “They played aggressive ball, and our girls struggled at the free throw line. That’s just a part of basketball. It was not good, but enough to get us out of there.”
Waimea came back strong in the fourth quarter. Palacio came up with 10 points before fouling out of the contest. Monique Joy Lorenzo popped a three-ball that catalyzed the crowd cheering, and Starlynn Ripley dropped two baskets in the 18-14 effort.
Fouls took their toll on the Raiders. Keep was held to three charity points before being fouled out, and Tomacder also got three points before fouling out. Layosa went down early with no points before being sidelined.
“The girls played hard, tonight,” said Natalie Mata, Waimea coach. “They were consistent and never gave up. This was one of those games the girls were in it from beginning to the end, and they were consistent. It was the simple things that we need to work on. It’s been a rocky season for us, but as I tell the girls, ‘Being successful is not just winning.’”
Keep finished the game with a game-high 17 points, followed by Layosa with eight points, and Tomacder and Sierra Fernandez each with six points each.
Palacio led the Menehune charge with 15 points, followed by Santella with eight points. Ripley and Lorenzo both finished with four points apiece.
Kauai next travels to the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa on Friday to take on the Kapaa team. The junior varsity match tips off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity contest.