LIHUE — The Waimea High School girls basketball team coached by Natalie Mata earned the No. 3 seed entering the Snapple Hawaii High School Athletic Association girls basketball Division 2 state championships that start Wednesday and runs through Saturday at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo, on the Big Island.
The No. 3 seed earns Waimea a bye on opening night Wednesday in the field that includes top seeded Mid Pacific Institute, second seed Seabury Hall, and Kamehameha-Big Island as the No. 4 seed. Teams participating in opening day competition for Division 2 include McKinley taking on Damien in a 1 p.m. matchup; Farrington tangling with Lanai in a 5 p.m. showdown.
Hawaii Preparatory Academy will tip off against Hawaii Baptist in a 7 p.m. contest, and the winner of the match with Hanalani and Campbell, tipping off at 3 p.m., will advance to face Waimea in a Thursday contest tipping off at 1 p.m.
The state Division 2 championship game tips off, Saturday at 7 p.m. in Hilo.
The Menehune, earning the KIF Championships earlier, return to the state Division 2 tournament after finishing in third place at the 2019 tournament. With no graduating seniors on the Starting Five, Waimea’s young team is a homecoming of sorts because its assistant coach Kamie Imai is a former player for Waiakea High School of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation.
The best showing for the KIF at the Division 2 tournament was in 2012 when the Kauai High School team was edged out of the title by Kamehameha School-Big Island. Kapaa High School also finished in fourth place for three consecutive years in 2009, 2010, and 2011.