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Lady Warriors are KIF basketball champions

WAIMEA — Kapa‘a low post Olivia Malafu finished with a game-high 19 points to lead the Lady Warriors to a 49-32 win over Waimea High on Friday night at Waimea’s Clem Gomes Gym.

The victory gives the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation girls varsity basketball title to Kapa‘a, qualifying the Warriors to advance to the Heide &Cook Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Girls Basketball Division II Championships that will contest at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo, Hawai‘i Island, starting Feb. 1.

Earlier in the week, the Kapa‘a junior varsity girls basketball team also wrapped up its division title over the Kaua‘i High JV. Waimea High and Island School did not field JV girls basketball squads this year.

The Lady Warriors lost little time making a statement by claiming a 10-4 first quarter lead by a pair of treys, one each from Annie Nizo and Taira Samiano, and a pair of buckets from Malafu.

The Menehune were undaunted with the eight-point deficit and battled back in the second quarter, outgunning Kapa‘a 9-7 and trimming the deficit to just four points, 17-13, at the break.

With Waimea’s scoring spread over nine of its 10 team players, Katelyn Constantino finished as Waimea’s high-pointer with 11 points, and launched the first of her three treys on the night followed by buckets from MaryJoy Angala, Stephanie Companero and Hailey Mata.

With 4.5 seconds showing on the game clock, the audience comprised heavily of blue shirts erupted in cheer as the Menehune’s sole senior, Shylah Bagaoisan-Rita, dropped a bucket, her sole score of the night.

Mata ended with five points, including a fourth-quarter 3-ball when the Menehune broke double digits scoring for the night. Companero finished with four points, and Shaylen Leah Guerrero lent three points to the Menehune effort, along with Bagaoisan-Rita, Angala, Constantino and Ari Acosta each dropped pairs.

Kapa‘a responded to the strong Menehune pressure on the ball in the second frame by roaring back with a 32-19 second half, including a 20-6 third frame that was led by a pair of treys, including one from Kiani Pia Salvador — her only score of the night — and Nizo’s second 3-ball on the night. Malafu dropped a bucket, and was four-for-five at the free throw line.

Kapa‘a got 10 points from Nizo, and seven marks from Norma Tuulangavalu at the contest where scoring was spread among eight of the Lady Warriors’ 10 players.

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

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