Dragons Figure Out KS-Hawai’i in Comeback Win
The Honoka’a Dragons looked like they were trying to find their way through a maze to figure out Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s mix of zone and man defenses.
Once Daphne Honma’s Dragons figured it out, the defending state champions in Division II found their way to win, defeating the Warriors Friday night at Koai’a Gym by the final score of 43-37 in a rematch of last year’s Big Island Interscholastic Federation and Hawai’i High School Athletic Association championship games.
Honma said her squad made some progress against Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s 1-2-2 zone and man defenses sometime in the middle of the third quarter. “They started to kinda understand what we wanted them to do, and then the light bulb went on.”
Kamehameha-Hawai’i (9-7 overall, 4-3 BIIF) was allowed to set its half court defenses as the pace slowed down in the game. Those defenses kept the basketball out of the paint and forced a number of Honoka’a turnovers. Honoka’a gave the ball away 15 times in the first half.
Honoka’a (7-13, 6-2) adjusted its attack, getting the ball to each wing and sending shooters to the corners. That opened up outside shots and other holes in the middle of the zone. It also helped trim down the Dragons’ turnover count, with just seven second half giveaways.
“They started to take care of the ball a lot better, and the unforced errors went down,” Honma explained. “I thought they did a better job controlling the tempo, holding their composure, those kinds of things. It was a lot better.”
On the other side, Kamehameha-Hawai’i’s offense went nearly silent in the second half. The Warriors shot 0-for-5 from the field in the third quarter and managed to hit only two field goals, both by freshman Camille Poe, in the fourth quarter. Kamehameha-Hawai’i shot 2-for-12 in the second half after shooting 52.9 percent (9-for-17) in the first 16 minutes.
That allowed Honoka’a, who had trailed for much of the game after a strong start, to take the lead back. Kayla Requelman’s missed jumper was grabbed by teammate Uluwehi Cordero, who scored her only basket of the game on a follow-up lay-in up close to give Honoka’a a 25-24 lead with 2:40 remaining in the third quarter. It capped off a 6-0 scoring run over the start of the period.
Rebounding was a big story throughout the game, as the Dragons out-boarded the Warriors 31-12. Eliyah Fernandez led the way with 10 rebounds to compliment her eight-point effort.
The game went back-and-forth after Honoka’a took the lead back, thanks in part to the Warriors’ ability to find their way to the free throw line when shots wouldn’t fall from the floor. Kamehameha-Hawai’i shot 9-for-12 from the foul line in the final half and shot 12-for-19 for the game.
Honoka’a solidified the lead for good with five minutes to play when Requelman received a nice pass in the paint from freshman Kawena Kaohimaunu and finished at the rim to put the Dragons up 36-34.
Requelman finished with seven points, joining sophomore Taylor Souza and junior Markell Marquez in scoring key baskets when needed. Souza scored eight points and Marquez came off of the bench to drop four points in the fourth quarter.
The Dragons were led, however, by Shayla Ignacio, who shot 3-for-6 from beyond the arc and finished with 12 points.
“She’s been one of our most consistent shooters, so that’s been almost an expectation,” Homna said.
Ignacio’s first three-pointer sparked a 7-0 run after the game started with a Riana Arima three-pointer for Kamehameha-Hawai’i. That was when the pace was frantic, turnovers were up, and both teams had yet to settle into the flow of the game.
Arima led Kamehameha-Hawai’i with nine points and 2-for-2 shooting from beyond the three-point line, all in the first quarter. She shot 0-for-3 from the floor for the rest of the game.
A key point in the game came early in the third quarter when the Warriors’ freshman point guard, Saydee Aganus, picked up her third and fourth fouls of the game, limiting her minutes and aggressiveness to the basket. She finished with seven points, all in the first half. She took just two shots in the final 16 minutes.
With the win, Honoka’a extended its lead in Division II over the second-place Warriors, who are tied with Kohala in the standings. The Warriors defeated Kohala 82-48 on Dec. 16.
Honoka’a 11 8 11 13 – 43
Kamehameha-Hawai’i 14 10 5 8 – 37
Honoka’a 43, Kamehameha-Hawai’i 37
Konawaena 74, Kealakehe 23
Kea’au 64, Ka’u 46
Waiakea 53, Hawai’i Preparatory Academy 14
Kohala def. Pahoa (no score reported)
Hilo 59, Laupahoehoe 34