LIHUE — The scoreboard stagnated at a 20-6 Kauai High School lead for the longest time Monday during the Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls basketball game at KHS gym.
“But we played with heart,” said Waimea player Tiana Joy Ramos.
For the first five minutes of play, a lid over their basket kept the Menehune tamed, and Kauai capitalized on turnovers and a physical defense that piled up fouls.
The Menehune fought back and trimmed the deficit to 25-14 at the end of the first quarter. Led by their shooting guards Kaye Serapio and Kierstin Gummerus, the Menehune held a 44-39 bulge at the half and went on to win the game, 81-66.
“It’s nice to see the team participation where everyone gets the glory,” said Waimea coach Natalie Mata of the comeback effort where the Menehune made the best of rebounding and forcing turnovers that resulted in scores.
Serapio finished with a game-high 32 points, including a 12-for-13 showing at the charity stripe to lead Waimea. She got help from Gummerus who finished with 24 points, and 10 points from Hazel Serapio who nailed a pair of three-balls.
“Waimea played good, heady basketball for four quarters,” said Kauai coach James Dingus. “They had a plan and executed it, the players kept their composure and were mentally strong. Both teams have skilled players and that brings on the scoring that came in bunches. But their free throw shooting, and the adjustments, especially in the fourth quarter.”
Kauai lost ground when its leading scorer, Marissa Layosa with 27 points, buzzed out with more than two minutes remaining in regulation. Amalya Sales added 10 points and Angeline Nizo had nine.
The Menehune win became crucial entering the final leg of the first round. With both teams strapped with a loss, they need to overcome Kapaa for a showdown on the final game of the first round that is scheduled for Dec. 27 at the Clem Gomes Gym.
In junior varsity action Kauai won, 53-26.
Kauai JV had earlier built a 32-6 lead at the half behind the balanced scoring led by Amy Khoang dropping seven points, including a bomb from outside the three-point arc. Jadelyn Reynolds also dropped seven marks.
Khoang, Jazmine Constantino and Reynolds led the JV Red Raiders with nine points apiece.
Waimea’s Deychia Kenny notched her eight points in the second half, and Qiyrah Rapanot finished with seven marks in the effort.
Kauai High School next faces Kapaa Friday night at home, while Waimea will make the trek to the Bernice Hundley Gym Wednesday night to face the Lady Warriors.
“We try to get better,” Mata said. “Not just one game, but every game.”
The junior varsity match tips off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity matchup.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island