OLINDA - A rivalry is brewing in the Maui Interscholastic League Division II girls basketball ranks - that much was clear in Molokai High School's 44-34 victory over Seabury Hall on Friday.
The Farmers played in back-to-back state championship games in 2009 and 2010, winning the first state crown ever for an MIL basketball team in 2009.
Seabury Hall took the MIL crown in 2012 and won three of the first four games between the teams last season before the Farmers won the MIL tournament and overall championship game to capture the MIL's only state berth.
Molokai High School’s Lehiwa Pedro puts up a first-quarter shot against Seabury Hall’s Shayla Hoeft as Ilana Meyer looks on during the Farmers’ 44-34 victory over the Spartans on Friday. Molokai used a 20-0 run during the middle of the game to take control.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Seabury Hall’s Taylor Rudow dribbles upcourt past Molokai’s Ilana Meyer.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Friday in the Seabury Hall Wahine Classic at the Erdman Athletic Center, Molokai rode a 20-0 streak in the middle of the game to the win the first meeting of the teams this season, although it will not count in the MIL race.
"This was a preseason game, it was all about us becoming a team, us building our team," said Ilana Meyer after scoring a team-high 13 points for the Farmers. "We have new players, so we just want to have that bond with each other."
Two baskets in a row after offensive rebounds by Pili Hao-Meyer gave Seabury Hall a 23-15 lead with 2 minutes, 38 seconds to play in the second quarter.
Hepua Falealii scored seven points in the third quarter and Tiana English added six in the period as Molokai outscored Seabury Hall 17-2.
Falealii and English finished with 12 points apiece and the Farmers led 35-23 before the Spartans' Shayla Hoeft broke an 8 1/2-minute scoreless stretch for her team with a putback basket.
"We were really looking forward to this game, but it wasn't really, like, an important game for us," Meyer said. "When we were down eight our coach pulled us in and we were just talking with each other, uplifting each other, telling each other that 'We can do this.' "
Seabury Hall got within 41-32 with 2:40 to play on a steal and breakaway by Taylor Rudow, but the Spartans would not get any closer. Rudow committed her fourth foul early in the second half, but led Seabury Hall with 14 points.
"We are just over here for the game and for the Maui officials to get to see our team," said Molokai coach Lee DeRouin after his team improved to 2-4 in preseason play. "Because we have Molokai officials and there's Maui officials. We need them to see our style of play so they get an understanding of our team and our kids get to experience being on Maui."
The friendly rivalry is just heating up - the pair will play two on the Friendly Isle on Dec. 27-28 and then two more back at the EAC on Jan. 10-11.
"We are not really scoreboard-watching during the preseason," DeRouin said. "We are trying to get kids minutes, understand their roles and it's starting soon enough. Next week we open up in Hana."
Seabury Hall coach Heidi Burger said that the matchups offer a challenge each time the Farmers are the opponent.
"It's always a race, Molokai is a good team and we have a good competition with them," Burger said. "It was a good game - it was a fun game for both teams, I think."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Taylor Keliihoomalu 0, Tiana English 12, Precious Rawlins 0, Hepua Falealii 12, Jamaica Bumatay 0, Kristine Aquino 0, Kari-Lee DeRouin 0, Liana Meyer 13, Lehiwa Pedro 5, Edal Mae Alvarez 0, Kelcyn Balbas 2.
SEABURY HALL (34)
Elle Bega 2, Ana Lavongtheung 0, Taylor Rudow 14, Tehani Akina-Ancog 3, Shayla Hoeft 4, Nani Wong 3, Pili Hao-Meyer 8.
* * *
Kamehameha Maui 60, Kapaa 35
Jayden Almeida scored 20 points, Rebeka Revelle added 14 and Neula Aarona had 12 as Kamehameha Maui beat Kapaa.
Sierra Shigematsu scored 11 points for Kapaa.