Lahainaluna finishes perfect regular season
PUKALANI — The first two times the Lahainaluna High School and Kamehameha Maui girls basketball teams met this season, the games were close in the fourth quarter.
Saturday’s final period, however, didn’t see a lead of less than 22 points for the Lunas, who won their 132nd Maui Interscholastic League game in a row, defeating the Warriors 49-24 at Kaulaheanuioka-moku Gym.
“It felt good tonight. I felt that we were more composed as a team,” said Lahainaluna’s Rachael Balagso, who scored a game-high 15 points.
The Lunas (12-0), already assured of their 16th consecutive berth in the state tournament, completed a ninth straight unbeaten regular season as they bid for a 13th MIL title in a row.
Earlier this month, Lahainaluna beat Kamehameha 46-36 after trailing by a point midway through the fourth quarter. In December, the Lunas led by six with four minutes to play in a 51-40 victory.
The Lunas scored the first 11 points of Saturday’s game, and led 19-2 with just over a minute left in the first quarter. They were in front 32-10 at halftime, and the lead reached its zenith at 40-14 on a drive to the basket by Susi Namoa with 3:04 left in the third quarter.
“We just told our girls that basically the past two games defensively I don’t think we came out as prepared and we didn’t come out as hard as we should, so I told the girls to channel all their energy on the defensive end and see where it gets us,” Lahainaluna coach Todd Rickard said. “They stepped up, played outstanding defense, played hard, and we were fortunate to get that lead.”
Kimani Fernandez-Roy had eight points for Kamehameha (9-3).
“They’ve always been tough, they are always going to be tough, and it’s just something that’s ingrained in them,” said Warriors coach Victor Aguirre. “It’s hard to stop that stuff.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Sheilaika Agbayani 0, Rachael Balagso 15, Braenna Estabillo 14, Keiko Aotaki 3, Erin Hookano 2, Lisa Hafoka 10, Teani Rickard 0, Susi Namoa 5.
KAMEHAMEHA MAUI (24)
Kealia Sjostrand 2, Brylee Carillo 2, Mikiala Sniffen 0, Kimani Fernandez-Roy 8, Logan Spencer 2, Kaylee Cambra 6, Ashley Peralta 2, Angel Pauole 2.
Lahainaluna 19 13 8 9–49
KS Maui 4 6 6 8–24