Lunas earn spot in D-I semifinals
LAHAINA – It wasn’t until Folau Hafoka cradled the final rebound and fired an outlet pass downcourt that the Lahainaluna High School girls basketball team and about 1,800 of the Lunas’ closest friends could breathe.
The Lunas held on in an electric atmosphere at a crowded Lahaina Civic Center for a 61-57 win over Maryknoll in a Hawaiian Airlines Division I Girls State Championship quarterfinal Saturday night.
The top-seeded Lunas (15-0) advanced to a semifinal on Friday at the McKinley gym against Hilo, a 62-61 winner over No. 4 Roose-velt on Saturday at the Neal Blaisdell Center.
The championship game is next Saturday at the Blaisdell Center.
“It felt very good because we were up by two points,” Hafoka said of her eighth rebound – she also had eight points. “We love our fans, we were so happy that we had our quarterfinal game over here. They were here to support us and get us through that.”
The game seemed like a track meet for most of the night, with both teams running up and down the floor.
The Lunas led 34-25 midway through the first half, but the Spartans (10-4) were within 38-35 at hafltime.
Maryknoll trailed by one point two minutes into the third period before Lahainaluna went on a 9-0 run behind four points apiece by Lindsay Bates and Fiemea Hafoka to go in front 50-40 with three minutes left in the quarter.
Taylor Bates committed her third and fourth fouls, twin sister Lindsay Bates was charged with her fourth and Fiemea Hafoka got her fourth – all in a span of 71 seconds – as the Spartans rallied, taking a 53-52 lead on a jumper by Maia Laboy with 6:50 to play.
“We were nervous because the players that we needed were on the bench,” Folau Hafoka said. “But everybody pulled their weight and we were able to get through it.”
The Lunas shot 10-for-18 from beyond the 3-point line. Taylor Bates went 4-for-4 for all 12 of her points and Lindsay Bates was 4-for-6 on the way to a team-high 16 points.
When Taylor Bates fouled out with 3:06 left, the Lunas were clinging to a 57-55 lead. Folau Hafoka then made two free throws after a steal for a four-point advantage.
Lindsay Bates left with a cramp with 2 1/2 minutes to play, but came back with 1:14 remaining, her left calf heavily wrapped.
A jumper by Maryknoll’s Maya Rodriguez-Chang made it 59-57 with 1:26 to play, and the Lunas threw the ball away with 48 seconds left before Alexis Delovio, who finished with a game-high 24 points for the Spartans, missed a 3-point try with eight seconds to go.
Folau Hafoka then grabbed the last rebound of the game and fired a pass to Loke Basques, who made two free throws with a second remaining. A state-championship-type celebration then followed.
“Lahaina crowd, they are the best,” Taylor Bates said. “I wish we could take all of them with us next week.”
Delovio’s drive to the hoop had given Maryknoll its final lead at 55-54.
“Too bad somebody had to lose one of those kind of games,” said Spartans coach Chico Furtado. “It was a great game, back and forth, we were just about to get blown out twice, but we came back, battled. We had a one-point lead 55-54 and then we gave them four chances at the basket on offensive rebounds. I like their chances from here on out.”
Lahainaluna owns wins this season over the rest of the semifinalists – No. 3 seed Punahou and Mililani are also in the final four.
“We have to take one game at a time and see where we can get,” Rickard said. “When we get games like we did from Folau, when she plays like that, we can be unstoppable at times.”
The Lunas finished the game with 24 fouls – Fiemea Hafoka, Lindsey Bates and Basques all had four. Basques finished the game, playing 18 minutes, after picking up her fourth foul with 2:37 left in the first half.
“It feels amazing,” Lindsay Bates said. “We just had to buckle down, play our game and pick up the slack with everybody out. I was playing even harder after (Taylor) went out. I had to play hard and pick up my sister’s slack.”
Taylor Bates noticed, after leaving the game in tears.
“I knew they would get it done, especially my sister,” she said.
The Lunas started 5-for-15 at the free-throw line before making their last four. They also committed 26 turnovers, while forcing 19 with their never-stop-pressing defense – Folau Hafoka had five of Lahainaluna’s 13 steals.
“We put ourselves in a tough situation in the beginning,” said Lunas coach Todd Rickard. “We had some early foul trouble, a lot of foul trouble, but that’s the way we play. We play aggressive, we play 110 miles an hour. It was a great game, but we have to make more of our free throws. Maryknoll is a great team, a great coaching staff, and great girls. It was a great game in general.”
* Robert Collias is a email@example.com
Alexis Delovio 24, Maia Laboy 7, Cianna Ochoco 0, Kaile Cambra 1, Maegan Martin 8, Maile Goodin 0, Maya Rodriguez-Chang 4, Lindsey Lee 6, Siena Shupe 7.
Mina Faaumu 3, Fiemea Hafoka 8, Taylor Bates 12, Loke Basques 6, Keleah-Aiko Koloi 1, Cameron Fernandez 4, Lindsay Bates 16, Aloha Salem 3, Folau Hafoka 8.