KAPAA — There was a new addition to the Kapaa High School girls basketball bench Wednesday night, during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls basketball game against Kauai High School at the Bernice Hundley Gym on the Kapaa campus.
“That’s The Enforcer,” said Kapaa coach William Aki. “He’s watching, and the girls are scared of him. He goes in the locker room and the girls know that.”
The wood cutout fastened to a portion of a discarded broom handle sat quietly, lording over the activities taking place on the court floor.
“Actually, he came from the Junior Varsity coach Mits Yokotake,” Aki said. “He created that as a reminder to block shots so we can make shots.”
The mascot’s presence must have helped because a long shot from the outside by Wahine Warrior Lilya Cummings put Kapaa up 46-44 for the final time with less than three minutes showing on the game.
Earlier, Kauai’s Rebecca Zenger came up with a big play for the Raiders when she was fouled on a basket, sending her to the line on a Plus One. The foul that came with 5:06 remaining also buzzed out a key Warrior, Mele Tafea who finished the night leading the Kapaa scorers with 12 points.
Zenger dropped the Plus One to knot the contest 44-44 before Cummings’ bucket pulled Kapaa ahead en route to a 53-45 victory that came when Cummings iced the victory with .5 second showing on the opener of a charity pair.
“This was a good game for both sides,” Aki said. “The girls on both teams played hard. Kauai High School gave us a really good game, and I’m glad to see how our girls stepped up to the challenge.”
Following Tafea, Kapaa got 11 points from guard Jaliyah Casem who finished the night with a pair of long balls from outside the three-point mark and a six-for-eight showing on the free throw line, including a pair that came with just 52 ticks showing in the game.
Angelica Cudiamat finished with nine points coming on a trio of treys, and Cummings ended the night with seven points.
Kauai’s Marissa Layosa finished with a game-high 13 points to lead the Raiders through the game where the lead changed hands through most of the contest, the Raiders staying close after giving up a 12-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Amalya Sales added nine points for Kauai, including a trey in the opening quadrant and Zenger finished with seven points in the effort.
“We just need to see what worked for us,” said Kauai coach James Dingus. “We can build from there. There is still Round 2 ahead, and we can improve.”
Earlier in the evening, Kauai Junior Varsity’s Alena Bernardo netted 11 points to lead the Red Raider JV to a 46-23 win over the Kapaa JV who got nine points from Shayna Rapozo-Kamoku, including a three-ball, and eight points from Jada Ines who bombed a pair of treys.
With the win, Kapaa heads to the Clem Gomes Gym, Friday to meet Waimea High School who earlier had claimed the KIF Round 1 title. The JV contest tips off at 5:30 p.m. with the varsity match starting 20 minutes following the JV game.
Kauai enjoys the Winter Break until Jan. 7 when it kicks off Round 2 with a trip to the Clem Gomes Gym.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.