LIHUE — Waimea High School guard Kaye Serapio dropped a pair of long balls in the tail end of the girls basketball game against Kauai High School, Friday night during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation games at the Kauai High School.
The bombs from outside the three-point arc turned the tide in favor of the Menehune and iced the 63-54 win of the see-saw contest that kept the nearly-capacity audience on the edge of their seats throughout the 32-minute contest.
“This was definitely a tough one,” said Waimea coach Natalie Mata. “The girls have heart, and that carries the team. Heart takes them a long way.”
Kaye finished the night with a game-high 20 points, balanced between the first and last frames. Cori Burton, finishing the night on nine points, stepped up in the interim second and third frames to come up with seven of those marks, including a three-ball in the second quarter when the Red Raiders turned a 24-11 first quarter deficit behind a 17-7 run.
Chipping away at the 13-point deficit, Kauai’s Tia Jaquias turned on the light for the Raiders, nailing a charity pair with a minute-plus on the half to tie the contest, and giving Kauai its first lead of the night on a bucket with just 30 seconds showing on the break.
Waimea answered the challenge when Braelyn Cayaban nailed the opener of a free throw pair, her only score in the quarter, for a new game, 28-28 at the break.
The Menehune continued its run, outscoring the Raiders, 7-6 in the physically intense defensive third frame, and banking the win on the tail end of the fourth quarter.
“This was disappointing,” said Kauai coach James Dingus. “We made critical mistakes in the stretch. But credit to Waimea who made the plays and pulled away.”
Marissa Layosa pocketed 18 points balanced through four quarters, including a sorely-needed three-ball in the second quarter, to lead the Red Raiders’ effort, leaving the contest with a dangerous four fouls. Amalya Sales fouled out, but not before lending 11 points, including a long ball in the opening frame, and Jaquias finished with eight marks.
Adding to Kaye’s lead, sister Hazel Serapio finished with 10 points, including a fourth quarter three-ball, and Kierstin Gummerus added eight points, including a long ball in the opening frame. Cayaban finished with seven points, and Burton, who also figured strong in defense, marked nine points in the win.
Earlier in the evening, the Red Raider junior varsity broke away from a 4-4 first quarter stalemate to stay ahead of the Menehune JV, 30-26 at the final buzzer behind eight points apiece from Jadelyn Reynolds and Emma Burgess.
Kathleen Alvarez finished with a game-high nine points followed by Tisha Burton, Cori’s younger sister, who lit up six points in the second half for Waimea.
“It’s not over,” Dingus said. “It just got harder, but it’s still possible. We just need to work (and play) harder, smarter, and together, as a team.”
Waimea, improving to 2-0 in Round 2, next travels to the Bernice Hundley Gym, Monday to meet Kapaa for the second time in the round. The JV contest tips off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity match.