Back-to-Back: KS-Hawai`i Outlasts Honoka`a for DII Crown
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by Josh Pacheco
For the second time in a week, the Kamehameha-Hawai`i Warriors and Honoka`a Dragons met with a trophy at stake. Once again, following a slow start, the Warriors took control late in the game and captured a championship.
For the second year in a row and fourth time overall, the Warriors captured the Hawaiian Airlines / HHSAA Division II Girls Basketball Championship with a 55-46 win over the Dragons in front of a mixed crowd at the Neal Blaisdell Center.
The dynamic scoring duo of Casey Poe and Riana Arima got the Warriors out to a 4-0 lead in the game’s first 1:13. Honoka`a would eventually settle down after turning the ball over five times in the period. They put together a long 15-2 scoring run that lasted nearly eight minutes to take a 15-6 lead early in the second quarter. Kizzah Maltezo led the charge, hitting a trey to start the run. She scored five of her 11 points in the opening frame.
Another factor in Kamehameha-Hawai`i falling behind was the early foul trouble to Arima, who picked up two fouls midway through the first quarter. She scored only four points in the opening half and seven in the game.
Honoka`a (11-7) led 22-16 at the intermission with a balanced scoring effort. Hunter Liftee led them with six points to go along with Maltezo’s five.
The tournament’s most outstanding player took the game over in the second half. Poe scored 10 points in the third quarter, and was supplemented by key baskets from Namele Naipo-Arsiga and Makamae Gabriel, to help give the Warriors a 36-28 lead at the end of three periods.
Poe, the daughter of assistant coach Shannon Poe and sisters to assistant coach Chelsea and teammate Caitlyn, turned up the game’s physicality by forcing her way to the free throw line with tough drives to the basket. Poe shot 8-for-10 in the third from the charity stripe and 14-16 for the game.
Every time the Dragons tried to get closer, Poe pushed the game back out of their reach. She scored 10 more in the fourth quarter to finish with a game high 28 points to secure her team’s second consecutive title. The 5’11” junior shot 7-for-17 from the field in her 28 point masterpiece.
Naipo-Arsiga added 10 points on 3-for-9 shooting while Gabriel contributed 10 more by shooting 4-for-7 from the field.
Honoka`a’s demise came in the form of 23 turnovers. Despite shooting nearly 43 percent from the field and out-rebounding the Warriors by 12, the Dragons could not take care of the ball when it mattered.
Liftee compiled a double-double in the losing effort, scoring 16 points and grabbing in 32 minutes. Maltezo came off of the bench to add 11 points, but she also had 10 turnovers.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i finished the season with a 17-6 record and captured their second trophy in less than a week, following their league championship win last Saturday at Kealakehe High School.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 6 10 20 19 – 55
Honoka`a 13 9 6 18 – 46
Division II All-Tournament Team