WAIMEA — Waimea’s Kaye Serapio tried to beat the clock, bucketing a breakaway with just 32 ticks showing in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls basketball match against Kapaa at Clem Gomes Gym on Friday night.
The effort came up short as Kapaa controlled the sphere for the remaining time in a 60-56 victory before an audience that filled one side of the Clem Gomes in a seating rearrangement.
Mele Tafea came off the bench to score 18 points balanced over three periods to lead Kapaa in settling the see-saw action in the Warriors’ favor against the Menehune, who played the evening short a player due to an injury.
The Menehune handicap was further aggravated when one of its starters fouled out with more than two minutes remaining in the contest — a lot of time for a lot of basketball.
Tafea went to the line on the foul and knotted the contest, 52-52, after calmly dropping the charity pair.
“We made adjustments coming into this game,” said Waimea coach Natalie Mata. “The girls played hard. They played their best. Just put this one on me. We just didn’t make the right adjustments.”
Kapaa’s Hailey Overmyer kept the Warriors close, dropping a bucket just ahead of the first quarter buzzer to pull within a 14-13 deficit. She coughed up a putback off an Alexie Ann Yam shot just ticks before the halftime buzzer to give the Warriors a 42-40 lead.
With both sides demonstrating physical ball, Kapaa preserved its margin, 42-40, following three quarters of play.
Tafea coughed up a plus-one opportunity, coming up empty on the free throw, to break the 52-52 deadlock only to have Waimea’s Cori Burton drop one of her two buckets in the fourth quarter to knot the contest, 54-54.
Liliya Cummings dropped the sole bomb from outside the three-point arc in the fourth quarter to pull Kapaa up, 57-54. With 1:30 showing, Overmyer dropped the opener of a charity pair for a 58-54 lead as the clock ticked down.
“This was a great game,” said Kapaa coach William Aki. “Both sides played hard. Defensively, we gave up a little too many points at the foul line. This was the same against Kauai — we had them on the foul line too many times. Offensively, I just told the girls to stay close.”
The victory gives Kapaa its fourth consecutive win in the KIF Round 2 with two games remaining.
“It’s a good thing we had the first round to iron out the kinks,” Aki said. “But we still have business to tend to. It’s still one game at a time.”
Following Tafea, Kapaa got 12 points from Angelica Cudiamat, who drained two from long-ball land in the first quarter. Jaliyah Casem had 11 points including a trio of treys. Liliya Cummings marked a trey in her six points. Overmyer finished with five points.
Kierstin Gummerus finished with a game-high 20 points to lead the Menehune. Kaye Serapio added 18 points.
Earlier in the evening, Waimea junior varsity’s Qiyrah Rapanot netted nine of her game-total 11 points in the fourth quarter to break an 8-8 deadlock en route to a 23-9 win over the Kapaa JV team, who got five points from Jada Ines and four marks from Kyllre Belmonte.
Waimea will next host Kauai High School on Monday evening at the Clem Gomes Gym to begin the last leg of the season. The JV game tips off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.