KAHULUI - The Molokai High School girls basketball team had a huge first half on Friday, and needed pretty much all of it.
Shaniah Mollena-Lopez scored 11 points and Tiara English scored all eight of hers in the first two quarters on the way to a 31-28 victory over Seabury Hall in the Maui Interscholastic League Division II tournament final at the Maui High gym.
The Farmers (7-3) and Spartans (7-2) will meet again today at 5:30 p.m. for the overall league championship and MIL's lone berth in the D-II state tournament.
Lehiwa Pedro of Molokai High School tries to shoot as Seabury Hall’s Tiare Camarillo defends during the first half of the Farmers’ 31-28 win over the Spartans in Friday’s Maui Interscholastic League Division II tournament final at Maui High.
The Maui News / KYLE SAKAMOTO photo
"It's been a constant build throughout the season and I have got to say the girls are playing their best basketball right now," said Molokai coach Lee DeRouin. "I am really proud of them. I couldn't ask for a better group of kids right now. They gave a great effort tonight."
Seabury Hall, which trailed by 14 at halftime, went to a full-court press to begin the third quarter and got back into the game. The Spartans also did a better job finding seams in the Farmers' 2-3 zone and getting to loose balls.
"We practice the press almost everyday and we try to force turnovers," said Seabury coach Rama Camarillo.
Tiana Camarillo scored all the points in a 6-0 run for the Spartans that made the score 31-28 with 78 seconds left. Her twin sister, Tiare Camarillo, had assists on two of the three baskets.
The Spartans, the regular-season champions, had three opportunities at a potential game-tying 3-pointer, but two attempts missed and they then could not get off a shot before the final buzzer.
Molokai went 0-for-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth period, including three times on the front of bonus situations.
The Farmers took a 24-10 halftime lead with the help of their zone and perimeter shooting. English, Mollena-Lopez and Hepuakea Falealii all hit 3-pointers in the first half.
"The first half, we played zone all the way," Mollena-Lopez said. "The twins, we just blocked them out mostly. We got help in the middle to clog it up for the other big girls."
Added English: "Our focus was to go all-out in the first quarter."
Tiana Camarillo scored nine points for the Spartans, and Shayla Hoest added eight.
Today's matchup will be the teams' sixth meeting of the season. Seabury has a 3-2 edge.
"We've played them five times and four of the games have been down to the last minute," DeRouin said. "So, can you expect anything else tomorrow? I hope everybody comes down and watches a great basketball game tomorrow on Maui."
* Kyle Sakamoto is at firstname.lastname@example.org
MOLOKAI GIRLS 31, Seabury Hall 28
Camille Borden 0, Tiara English 8, Shaniah Mollena-Lopez 11, Hepuakea Falealii 4, Tyra Mollena-Lopez 0, Ilana Meyer 3, Rebecka Adolpho 3, Lehiwa Pedro 2.
SEABURY HALL (28)
Tehani Akina-Ankog 0, Gabrielle Vega 0, Allison Rudow 0, Tiana Camarillo 9, Tiara Camarillo 4, Shayla Hoest 8, Nani Wong 0, Pili Hao-Meyer 7.