Wednesday Preview: State Girls Basketball Tourney
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Tuesday was an unprecedented day for Big Island teams at the Hawaiian Airlines / HHSAA Girls Basketball Championships, as all three Big Island teams won their first round contests in Oahu.
The highlight of Tuesday night was the three overtime thriller between 5th ranked Waiakea and number 10 Roosevelt at Moanalua High School, where the Warriors defeated the Rough Riders 56-55 on Ciera Pacheco’s pair of free throws with :18 remaining in the game. Meanwhile, in Division II, Big Island schools had a fairly easy time against their opponents, as Honoka’a defeated Seabury Hall by 32 points, while Hawaii Preparatory Academy avenged a non-league loss to University High by beating the Junior Bows 50-38.
All five Big Island schools are in action today on Oahu. Here’s our preview of each of the contests:
– DIVISION I: Kaiser vs. #1 Konawaena (5:00 p.m.)
The biggest question out of this game may be this: will Konawaena be tested? After all, the Wildcats have rarely had to break a sweat to beat opponents throughout the year. The closest they came to a nail biter came last Saturday during the league championship game, when Waiakea took a one point lead into the locker room at halftime, only to see Kona pull away for a double digit victory.
Kaiser comes off of a dominating victory over Maui High out of the MIL last night, cruising to a 53-24 victory on statewide television. Three different Cougars finished in double digits in scoring, led by Micaela Bitanga’s 14 points.
– DIVISION I: Waiakea vs. #3 Lahainaluna (5:00 p.m.)
How much do the Warriors have in the tank? They needed twelve extra minutes last night to put away Roosevelt by a single point, but the stamina question becomes a big factor. After all, the Lunas are playing for the first time in the tourney tonight, while Waiakea will have played the equivalent of a full game, a full quarter, and another half of a period.
This will be the second meeting between the two teams this year. Back on Thanksgiving weekend, Waiakea participated in the Lady Luna Invitational on Maui, and lost to the Lunas 43-33.
– DIVISION II: Hawaii Baptist vs. #2 Kamehameha-Hawaii (5:00 p.m.)
The BIIF Division II champion doesn’t come in to the tournament riding a big wave of momentum. Despite beating Hawaii Prep in the league’s semifinal, the Warriors seemed to fall asleep at times, racking up turnovers and getting a little lazy on defense, allowing their opponent to hang around. The next night, Kamehameha-Hawaii had to rally back against Honoka’a to take home the league crown.
Hawaii Baptist survived a three-point barrage against Kalani at the Falcons’ gym. Kalani hit 10 treys in the game, accounting for 40 of their 43 points scored in a losing effort, falling 50-43. Jennifer Uehara was one of two HBA girls scoring in double figures, dropping in 18 points.
– DIVISION II: Honoka’a vs. #4 Kaua’i (5:00 p.m.)
Honoka’a put together one of its most complete efforts of the season on Tuesday, dropping Seabury Hall 58-26, behind 13 points from athletic guard/forward Yvonne Daniels. The Dragons finished the game strong, outscoring their opponent 34-10 in the second half.
Kaua’i got the seeded berth into the tournament over MIL champion Seabury Hall, giving them a day of rest before finding out who they would play in the Quarterfinals. The Raiders are led by guard Kristle Henry, who was invited to play for Team Aloha and the Mufi Hannemann Jamboree.
– DIVISION II: Hawaii Prep vs. #1 Radford (7:00 pm, ESPNHawaii.com)
Despite falling to University High in their second game of the season, HPA had better luck against the Junior Bows, riding a strong fourth quarter edge to win 50-38. Chancis Fernandez was splended from the field, scoring 14 points on the night to lead Ka Makani.
Radford is led by arguably one of the best players in Division II, Imani Winbush. Winbush possesses something that HPA doesn’t have: size. Winbush stands at six feet tall, which immediately puts HPA in a disadvantage, since they don’t have the size in the post that they have had in recent years.