WAIMEA — Menehune guards Kierstin Gummerus and Kaye Serapio combined for 34 points on Monday night to pull Waimea High School to a 52-45 win over Kauai High School during the first game of the second round in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls basketball season at the Clem Gomes Gym.
“We had to wake them up,” said Waimea coach Natalie Mata, who kept the short bench of eight sequestered in the locker room until the final ticks of the break. “Kauai came at us with all new adjustments. They did their homework during the winter break. The first half got us. We had to adjust.”
Fueled by a trey lighting up the nets from Kauai guard Amalya Sales and four points from Marissa Layosa, the Red Raiders roared to an 18-7 first quarter lead before an appreciative audience who stayed with the game until the final buzzer.
Mata and her coaching staff adjusted. Despite a 13-7 second-quarter run fueled by Braelyn Cayaban finding the three-ball in her nine-point contribution, the Menehune trailed 25-20 at the break.
“Our girls were out of it,” Mata said. “We talked about the physical and mental part of the game because, I don’t know, too much vacation? They weren’t playing as hard as they were capable of. We had to wake them up.”
The Menehune starting five roused and came back to outgun Kauai, 14-12, in the third frame when a Kaye Serapio bucket in torrid traffic knotted the game, 31-31, midway through the period.
“This was a very competitive game,” said Kauai coach James Dingus. “It was a very tight second half — a lot of give-and-take, a small lead here, a small lead there. This is high school sports, and a good game for the fans. I hope they appreciated that.”
Waimea came back for an 18-8 fourth quarter run fueled by Gummerus dropping eight of her game-total 20 points, and Kaye Serapio and Cori Burton adding four points apiece for the take-away.
The long ball kept Waimea in the game as its production was limited to just five of its eight-player roster. Gummerus bombed the hoop for two of the Menehune’s four long balls, while Kauai was held to just one throughout the 32 minutes of play.
“We had our chances,” Dingus said. “It came down to the final two, three minutes of play when they made more plays than us. They were hitting the threes. They really got going.”
Following Gummerus, Kaye Serapio, one of three Serapios on the starting five, finished with 14 points including a third quarter three-ball. Burton added eight points, Cayaban finished with seven and three points from Hazel Serapio accounted for the hard-fought win.
Tiana Manera, Bailey Perreira, Sales and Jessica Cezar led the Kauai attack with eight points apiece. Layosa ended the night on six points and Rebecca Zenger had four points. Tia Jaquias had the sole three-ball for Kauai.
Earlier in the evening, Kauai defeated Waimea’s junior varsity girls, 36-34.
Zoe Santa Maria led the Kauai JV attack with 11 points followed by Brooklyne Alayvilla with eight and Anyia Cromartie finishing with six points.
Qiyrah Rapanot fueled the Waimea JV attack on a game-high 16 points including a pair of first-half treys and 10 points in the final stanza. Deysha Kenney added five points including a second-quarter three-ball, and Maria Constantino had a trey in the second quarter toward her four points. Tisha Burton also finished with four points.
Kauai next hosts Kapaa High School on Wednesday at the Red Raider gym. The JV match tips off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity game.
Waimea enjoys a bye until Friday when the Menehune host Kapaa at the Clem Gomes Gym.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.