WAIMEA — The Kapa‘a High School girls basketball team escaped with a 60-57 win over Waimea High School in a Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation game in Waimea.
The Menehune trailed 51-33 entering the fourth stanza at Clem Gomes Gym, which was filled with an enthusiastic home crowd that was stoked by the 15-9 Waimea advantage following the opening quarter.
Kapa‘a’s Oliva Malafu and Skylyn Fagarang fueled the Lady Warriors answer to the deficit by netting 10 and nine points, respectively, of Kapa‘a’s 21 points to reverse the bulge to a 30-20 lead at the break.
Staring at an 18-point hole, the Menehune came alive in the fourth stanza, outscoring Kapa‘a by netting 24 points while holding the Warriors to just nine points.
Waimea was fueled by Ari Acosta netting six points, and Alyssa Gummerus and Kiaura Rita each pouring in five points. Menehune guard Hailey Mata added four points in the comeback effort.
With 16 ticks showing, the Menehune long distance shooter took a spot in the rightside pocket and waited for the feed that would potentially force overtime play. The shot was launched, but missed its mark with Kapa‘a snagging the rebound and staying ahead of Menehune defenders for the win.
“They were playing head and shoulders below them,” said former Waimea basketball coach Basilio “Bunga” Fuertes, who watched the game with former Menehune coaches Tommy Rita and Glenn Nitta. “They never gave up to the end. That’s the real Waimea spirit.”
Malafu, who sat out the starting five for Kapa‘a, finished the night with a game-high 25 points with guard Skylyn Fagarang adding 18 points, including a pair of three-balls. Taira Samiano was limited to just eight points, including no treys.
On the other side of the ball, Waimea’s Acosta was an effective counter against the low posting of both Malafu and Denise Alfonso. She finished the night with 11 points followed by Gummerus, who poured in 10 points, including a sorely-needed three-ball in the fourth quarter.
Mata added nine points. Leah Guerrero finished with eight points and Rita had seven points in the second half.
Earlier in the evening, the Waimea junior varsity limited the Warriors to just two players scoring, and capitalized heavily on Kapa‘a turnovers in Waimea’s 59-5 victory.
Kapa‘a got three points from Kehakeha Lawhead and two points from Ginger Nunez.
Cyani Bagaoisan-Rita led the Menehune with 18 points. Wailana Tanigawa-Christian finished with 17 points.
The next KIF girls basketball games tip off on Friday, when Waimea makes the trip to the new Kaua‘i High School gymnasium to tackle the Red Raiders. The JV contest tips off starting at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity matchup.
Source: The Garden Island