Kauai High School’s varsity girls basketball team placed sixth at the Snapple Girls Basketball Championships — Division II state tournament.
Kauai’s Red Raiders lost to Moanalua of the Oahu Interscholastic League, 37-35, in the tournament’s fifth place game Saturday at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu.
“First off, it was fun for the girls to get the experience to go in there and play in the arena, play on the floor and experience that whole aspect of basketball that not everybody gets to do,” said Kauai High varsity girls basketball head coach James in a phone interview Saturday.
“Playing in the last day of the tournament, that’s what you want to be doing. That’s the bill you want to be in, and our girls earned the right to do it. We were able to go and participate at that level, so that was fun. That was encouraging.”
Kauai gave up a nearly double-digit lead by the end of the opening period, then the Red Raiders started to pick up the pace in the second half, Dingus said.
The score was tied at 24-24 after the third period before Moanalua edged Kauai High.
“Like these girls have done all season, they were able to compete, play together and figure out a way to get back in the game,” Dingus said. “And then in the fourth quarter, it was really nip and tuck — two point lead here, tie game there. I think we did have a one-point lead at one point, maybe two or three minutes to go. And just, Moanalua was able to make one more play, (get) one more bucket. Quite a few of our losses have been really close, and this was just another one of those games.”
Red Raiders junior center Taegan Keep was Kauai’s leading scorer with 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks. Freshman guard Marissa Layosas had 10 points, four rebounds and a steal.
Moanalua’s Raven Rosa-Lasco scored a game-high 19 points and also had six steals.
On its way to the fifth place game, unseeded Kauai got a 45-34 win over Kohala of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation in the opening round.
The Red Raiders then lost to No. 4 seed Kalani of the OIA, 68-48, in the Falcons’ home gym in the quarterfinals. On Friday, Kauai won a consolation game against Damien Memorial of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, 59-37.
Kauai High finished the season with an 8-4 record, going 6-3 in the regular season to win the school’s first Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls basketball title and state tournament berth since the 2012-13 season.
“It’s a good group of young women. They’re growing up, and they’re making lots of the right choices,” Dingus said. “I think they’re going to successful in whatever they do moving forward, the seniors.
“And then as far the basketball side goes, they were KIF champions, and that’s something that nobody can ever take away,” he continued. “They should have pride in that. They worked hard, made some sacrifices, and they were able to earn that. And then participating in the state tournament, we were 2-2. We had a really respectable showing. … Just proud of the girls. I hope they’re proud of themselves. I hope the community back on the island is proud of them.”
Information from Hawaii High School Athletic Association.
Saturday’s Division II results
Game 16 (fifth place): Moanalua 37, Kauai 35
Game 17 (third place): No. 4 Kalani 59, Saint Francis 29
Game 18 (state championship): No. 1 Mid-Pacific 63, No. 2 Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii 38