LIHUE — Kapaa senior point guard Jaliyah Casem peeled off a game-high 22 points to lead the Warrior wahine to a 43-31 victory over Kauai High School Wednesday night before an audience that nearly filled the Red Raider gym during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls basketball games.
“You have to give a lot of credit to Kapaa High School for doing what they did,” said Kauai coach James Dingus during the post-game celebration of two Red Raider senior players — Rebecca Zenger and Tiana Manera — who were feted during the Kauai girls’ final home game of the KIF season. “Juliyah Casem is a senior point guard for Kapaa, and did what a point guard is supposed to do. Now, Kapaa is smelling a championship.”
Casem, scoring in all four periods and moving the ball upcourt, peeled off four treys from outside the three-point arc in her contribution to Kapaa’s victory that earned the Warriors the Round 2 crown. The win forces a playoff against Waimea, the Round 1 champions, at a site to be determined during Friday night’s contest when the Menehune travel to the Bernice Hundley Gym to face Kapaa in the Warriors’ senior night match.
Kapaa built an eight-point margin early, buzzing the first quarter 12-4 behind a pair of three-balls from Casem, and held the Raiders to four points led by three marks from Kauai’s Marissa Layosa.
“We concentrated on defense, tonight,” said Kapaa coach William Aki. “We worked to try and show a different look each time before getting back to the zone.”
The Raiders’ coaching staff poured over the scenario and the girls responded in the second quarter when five of the 10-member squad found the twine, outgunning Kapaa 9-7 behind four points from Red Raider senior Manera, and buckets from Amalya Sales and Jessica Cezar.
“The girls got better as the game went on,” Dingus said. “They kept working.”
Kapaa continued the pressure coming off a 19-16 halftime lead and sealed the deal behind Sales’ lead.
Joining Casem in scoring, Hailey Overmyer made the starting five and finished with six points despite being interrupted on the court by an injury. Warrior low post Mele Tafea came off the bench for five points. Angelica Cudiamat poured in four points, including a third quarter three-ball, and Lilya Cummings found her four points in the final stanza.
Manera topped the Raider effort on a dozen marks with Layosa ending on eight points.
Earlier in the evening, the Red Raider junior varsity held on to claim the JV crown with a 35-22 win over the JV Warrior ladies to wrap up a 12-0 season.
“The girls are happy,” said Alan Castle, Kauai JV coach. “They’re a great bunch of girls who have played together for a long time. I’m the only one who is sad when I see them all here. We train them to be ready to step up at any time. They’re ready, and this gives us hope for a better tomorrow.”
Krystin Emproso topped the JV Raiders’ scoring on 13 points, Zoe Santa Maria added eight points, and Alena Bernardo ended the night with seven marks.
Jada Ines topped the JV Warriors effort on 18 points, including a trio from outside the three-point arc.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.