Pine Lasses topple Na Alii to make final

Lanai to face Maui High for MIL girls team championship

Keona Conroy-Humphrey of Lanai High School returns a shot in the first set of her 6-4, 6-3 win over King Kekaulike’s Shea Sera at No. 1 singles in a Maui Interscholastic League team championship semifinal Friday at Royal Lahaina Tennis Ranch. -- The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

KAANAPALI — Lanai High School twin sisters Keona and Jasmine Conroy-Humphrey never lost faith in leading their girls team to its first Maui Interscholastic League tennis championship appearance.

On Friday, their vision came true as the Pine Lasses won 3-2 over King Kekaulike in a semifinal match at the Royal Lahaina Tennis Ranch.

“I’m very proud because the five of us (seniors) have been a team since freshman year,” Jasmine Conroy-Humphrey said. “We’ve all grown up since kindergarten, so we got to accomplish this thing together.”

Lanai won all three singles matches, while Na Alii claimed the two doubles matches in a contest that lasted 3 1/2 hours and was briefly interrupted by a thunderstorm.

Jasmine Conroy-Humphrey won her No. 2 singles match 6-3, 6-2 over Lannie Hisashima, while her sister claimed a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Shea Sera in No. 1 singles.

Leslie Nabor of Lanai returns a shot during her and Millena Calilao’s loss at No. 1 doubles to King Kekaulike’s Christiane Keyhani and Zoe Bailey. -- The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

“I felt really good,” Jasmine Conroy-Humphrey said. “I was just playing my game and seeing the other girls play their game too. It was good to know that we made it together and it wasn’t just individuals.”

Keona Conroy-Humphrey dropped the first four games of her first set before rallying back to win.

“I was like, dang I can’t let my team down and they’re counting on me,” she said. “I got it together mentally and I started playing my game.”

King Kekaulike’s No. 1 doubles team of Christiane Keyhani and Zoe Bailey won 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 over Lanai’s Millena Calilao and Leslie Nabor. Na Alii’s No. 2 doubles squad of Jennea Nagura and Caroline Stevenson defeated Jenel Gani and Mika Badillo 6-1, 6-0.

The No. 3 singles match between the Pine Lasses’ Bechelle Elaydo and Na Alii’s Samantha Schiedler proved to be the deciding match as it headed to a third and final set with the teams tied at 2-2. After dropping the first set, Elaydo rallied back to win 6-7 (8), 6-2, 6-2.

Jennea Nagura (right) and Caroline Stevenson of King Kekaulike celebrate their No. 2 doubles in Friday. -- The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo

“It was nerve racking watching that last singles match,” Keona Conroy-Humphrey said. “But she’s pulled through for us many times.”

King Kekaulike coach Reuben Dela Cruz said the team was without its No. 3 girls player, forcing Schiedler to step in for her first match of the season.

“(Our players) have to make their decisions and we have to go from there,” Dela Cruz said. “But Lanai is a really strong team. We tried our best, but today Lanai was the better team.”

Lanai coach Randon Sanches said his girls missed a chance to reach the finals last year when the twin sisters were forced to miss the playoffs due to SAT testing. He said the twins only began playing tennis competitively their freshman year, but have become leaders on the team.

“I’m so proud,” Sanches said. “I’ve had them from freshman year and a lot of the seniors have progressed so much. Just seeing them grow and making it here is like a Cinderella story.”

The team will lean on the twins again in today’s championship against Maui High, which has defeated the Pine Lasses twice this season.

“They’re tough, but I know we can give them hard rubs and make them work for that championship because we want to hang a banner, too,” Sanches said.

* Chris Sugidono is at csugidono@mauinews.com

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