KS-Hawai’i Opens BIIF Girls Hoops Season With Lopsided Win
Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s girls basketball team has a lot of new faces, from new head coach Weston Willard to a whopping six freshman.
While the focus of the state’s prep enthusiasts are on seniors Riana Arima and Makamae Gabriel, Willard, a former high school coach in Washington D.C. and intermediate school coach around this state, is focused on making sure that the varsity newcomers become important contributors to a team that was the runner-up in last year’s state championship game to Honoka’a.
Two of those freshmen, Saydee Aganus and Taylor Sullivan, played important roles in Tuesday’s 61-21 victory Kea’au at Ko’aia Gym.
Willard sees Aganus as a “raw talent,” someone who shows natural athletic ability and competitive energy, but has never played the point guard position before. Aganus showed solid court awareness and good energy on the court, scoring 12 points, grabbing seven steals, and limiting her mistakes.
“She had a really good game,” Willard said of Aganus’ performance. “You saw some glimpses of her athleticism where she can go coast-to-coast and finish, she can elevate. She really focused in on making good decisions. That was her goal, and I felt like she did an outstanding job of doing that.”
Sullivan saw increased playing time when Makamae Gabriel struggled to stay on the floor with foul trouble. She took advantage of the extra minutes, scoring eight points off of the bench on 3-for-5 shooting and grabbing a game-high six rebounds.
“Kea’au did a really good job rotating and making us work hard for it,” Willard explained. “We went 12 deep today, so we went into our bench early and they were able to respond, and that’s a real luxury to be able to have a freshman come off the bench and be able to play at a high level.”
It also helped that the Warriors started the game on a 12-0 run over the first six minutes of the game. Kea’au guard Vanessa Castro drained a three-pointer to stop the run, but her team could never get a consistent run together to get the game any closer.
All-BIIF standout Arima led all scorers with 14 points, including 10 in the second quarter. She shot 7-for-16 from the field, including two made treys, and added five rebounds.
Those performances were good enough to make up for the lack of production from Gabriel, who fouled out early in the fourth quarter. She scored just three points on 1-for- shooting from the field and 1-for-5 shooting from the free throw line.
Macey Mokuhalii and Ranchell Berinobis each led the Cougars with six points. Kea’au shot 6-for-37 (16 percent) from the floor and committed 32 turnovers.
Kea’au hosts Konawaena next Tuesday night, while Kamehameha-Hawai’i hosts Kohala.
Keaau 3 7 11 0 – 21
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 12 18 17 14 – 61
Tuesday’s BIIF scoreboard
Hilo 60, Kealakehe 8
Honoka’a 66, Kohala 51
Waiakea vs. Pahoa – not reported
Ka’u vs. Laupahoehoe – not reported
Laupahoehoe 69, Ka’u 48