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Kapa‘a Lady Warriors win D2 state basketball title

When the Kapa‘a High School girls basketball team beat Hanalani, 54-37 Saturday night in Hilo, Hawai‘i Island, they never realized the Lady Warriors team made history by being the first Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation member school to enter the win column for that sport.

“That’s what I understand,” said Neal Fagarang, the Kapa‘a girls basketball coach after he was greeted at Lihu‘e Airport on Sunday by more than a handful of parents, friends, supporters that included Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, Council Chair Mel Rapozo, who did a special Facebook Live presentation, and Council Member Bernard Carvalho.

The win over Hanalani in the 2023 Heide &Cook HHSAA Division II state girls basketball championship game gave the Lady Warriors the title, and also marked the first state win in basketball for Kapa‘a High.

The victory was the only victory the KIF marked during championship Saturday, as the Kapa‘a High girls soccer dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to PAC-5, Saturday at Waipahu High School, in the Motiv8 HHSAA Division II Girls Soccer championship match.

“This has been an amazing journey,” Fagarang said. “It was an experience to be able to play at the state level. But the girls did a great job of playing our own game, and just focusing on what had to be done. Coaches from the other schools we played looked at our girls and realized they’re not just average girls.”

Kapa‘a’s Olivia Malafu was named Most Outstanding Player on the HHSAA D2 Girls Basketball All-Tournament Team, along with Denise Alfonso. Malafu was rewarded by also carrying the championship koa trophy shrouded by the game net through the Lihu‘e Airport doors Sunday afternoon.

Malafu, the tall guard/forward/center, led the Lady Warriors at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium, finishing the contest against Hanalani with 19 points, a pair of assists and eight rebounds. Alfonso followed with a 9-point contribution, including a 3-ball, eight assists and eight boards.

Norma Tuulangavalu had eight points, a pair of assists and five rebounds. Angeline Nizo kicked in seven points, including a trey, a pair of assists and two rebounds during the contest where Kapa‘a led from start to finish and outgunned Hanalani in every quarter, starting with the opening frame where the Lady Warriors took a 10-4 lead, which grew to 24-16 at the break.

Eliana Klemp, also being selected to the HHSAA D2 All -Tournament team, topped the Hanalani Royals’ effort with 15 points and 12 rebounds.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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