Farmers secure D-II regular-season title
OLINDA – The Molokai High School girls basketball team has taken a big step in its bid for a return to the state tournament.
The Farmers clinched the Maui Interscholastic League Division II regular-season championship Friday with a 26-22 win over Seabury Hall at Erdman Athletic Center.
“We worked really hard for this,” Lehiwa Pedro after Molokai (9-0) secured at least a playoff for the MIL’s lone berth berth in the D-II state tournament. “We came a long way and pushed hard. It was good.”
Pedro and Hepua Falealii each scored seven points for the Farmers, who reached the state tournament for the fifth time in six years last season.
Tehani Akina-Ancog and Allie Rudow each scored nine points for the Spartans (5-4).
The Farmers trailed for nearly all of the first half, until a 7-0 run to close the second quarter put them in front 15-11.
“When you’ve got to play on the road, especially when you’re coming from Molokai, it takes a lot of time and energy,” said Farmers coach Lee DeRouin. “The girls really battled and defensively they kept us in the game. I’m very proud of them, we got just enough points to pull out the win.”
Molokai shot 11-for-39 from the field for the game.
“We didn’t back down and went for it like we always do,” Pedro said.
Seabury allowed just two points in the third quarter to enter the fourth down 17-16, and went in front 19-18 on a basket by Rudow with six minutes left. A 3-pointer by Taylor Keliihoomalu, however, put Molokai in front for good.
“(Before the fourth quarter) coach told us to try to work the ball on the bottom more and shoot more 3s,” Falealii said.
The Spartans, last year’s regular-season champions, remained second in this season’s D-II standings.
“We were really, really trying, it was just out of our grasp,” said Seabury coach Heidi Burger.
Molokai defeated Seabury twice in Hoolehua last month.
“There was a little different energy,” Burger said. “We’re on our home court and we always have a good rivalry with Molokai so we came out and we wanted to come out strong and start right away.”
The teams are scheduled to meet again today.
“They’re right at our level and we love playing against them because they’re a good team for us,” Burger said.
* Chris Sugidono is at email@example.com
Taylor Keliihoomalu 3, Tiana English 2, Precious Rawlins 2, Hepua Falealii 7, Ilana Meyer 3, Lehiwa Pedro 7, Rebecka Adolpho 2.
SEABURY HALL (22)
Ana Lavongtheung 0, Allie Rudow 8, Tehani Akina-Ancog 8, Kaitlyn Yamada 0, Pili Hao-Meyer 4, Aria DeMartino 0.
Molokai …………. 4 ….. 11 ….. 2 ….. 9-26
Seabury Hall ….. 9 ……. 2 ….. 5 ….. 6-22