Sports

Konawaena Pushes Away From Kea`au, Sets Up Title Rematch With Hilo

February 1, 2014, 12:16 PM HST
* Updated February 1, 12:19 PM
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The much anticipated Hilo-Konawaena league championship game has been set.

Konawaena, the outright regular season champion and top seed in the KTA Super Stores / Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I Girls Basketball Tournament, did its part with a sluggish, yet dominant 55-23 victory over Kea`au, the tournament’s fourth seed in Friday’s semifinal.

The dominance came from the Wildcats’ defensive effort, which kept Kea`au off of the scoreboard in the first quarter and just five shots in the first eight minutes.The Cougars were stymied by a pesky and aggressive 2-3 zone defense, with the top two defenders extending out and challenging perimeter passes. Kea`au committed eight first period turnovers.

Kea`au (5-10 overall, 4-8 BIIF) got its sharp-shooting senior Taylor Pocock going in the second quarter, which tightened up the score before halftime. Pocock scored seven of her team-high 17 points in the quarter, helping to cut the Wildcats’ lead down. Meanwhile, Konawaena star Chanelle Molina ran into foul trouble, and no one was able to step up the scoring effort with the sophomore sitting for extended time on the bench.

Molina got back in her rhythm in the third quarter, scoring nine of her game-high 24 points in the quarter. Kea`au, on the other hand, struggled to score. Pocock scored nine points in the third, but missed her last five shots in the quarter. The rest of her team shot a combined 0-for-6 from the field as the Konawaena lead extended to 41-17 with one quarter to play.

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The Wildcats struggled to take care of the basketball and provided mixed results at the charity stripe, two less-than-stellar numbers that stand out for the defending league champions. Konawaena gave the ball away 26 times, including 12 in the second half. At the free throw line, last year’s state runner-up shot just 11-for-22 from the foul line.

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Molina, who has received a scholarship offer from the University of Hawai`i, scored 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting while draining both of her shots from beyond the arc. She also racked up five rebounds and three assists. Zoe Acdal contributed 15 points and hit two treys.

Pocock, who averaged about 19 points per game entering Friday’s game, scored 17 points and grabbed eight steals. She shot 5-for-27 from the field, however, and missed her last 14 shot attempts. As a team, the Cougars shot just 13 percent (6-for-45).

Konawaena improves to 23-3 overall and 12-0 in BIIF play. The Wilcats face Hilo at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Kea`au High School to determine the seeded berth and regional host in the Hawaiian Airlines / Hawai`i High School Athletic Association Division I Girls Basketball Championships.

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Hilo defeated Waiakea 59-42 to join Konwaena in the title game. The Vikings fell to the Wildcats 48-45 last month in the only meeting between the two teams this year.

Kea`au 0 8 9 6 – 23

Konawaena 10 10 21 14 – 55

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