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Lahainaluna presses, defeats Maui High 59-33

AIRA BAGUYO – “Defense is all about pressing”

KAHULUI — From the first minute, Lahainaluna put the pressure on Maui High.

Until the final buzzer, the Lunas girls basketball team played full court press against the Sabers to win 59-33 on Monday night at the Izumi Shine Matsui Gym.

“Our Lady Luna defense is all about pressing, and it’s just all about defense, and like, fast pace,” said Lahainaluna junior guard Aira Baguyo, who scored eight points. “Execution is something we need to work on, so I would want to see that more.”

Junior guard Abigail Akamine led the Lunas with 22 points; sophomore forward Kiera Kaniho added 12 and junior guard Ashley Akamine, eight.

Lahainaluna improved 2-0 in Maui Interscholastic League play while Maui High fell 1-2.

“I think it was a tough contested game, I think it was a little bit sloppy, a little bit hectic from both sides,” Lunas coach Todd Rickard said. “It was kind of a messy game, but I think we settled down in the second quarter, second half, and did a better job.”

Maui High sophomores Kayla Thornton and Makena Stevenson led the team with seven points each, while senior Kylenna Rieta scored six.

Lahainaluna and Maui High were the MIL’s top two Division I teams last year. The Lunas have their sights set on another MIL championship and a trip to the Final Four in the state championships, said the Lunas’ Baguyo.

But in the meantime, coach Rickard said that “we still got to work on defense, being in the proper areas at the proper times.”

Maui High recently returned from the Honolulu Freight Pine Lasses Classic at Lanai High School, where they played the MIL’s Seabury Hall, Baldwin and Lanai and the the Oahu Interscholastic Association’s Kalaheo and Big Island Interscholastic Federation’s Kealakehe. The Sabers saw this game against the Lunas as another lesson for improvement.

“I commend Lahaina on their win, of course, but for me as a coach, I do believe this was a good test for my girls to see where they’re at, and we’re just going to keep on getting better and better,” Maui High co-coach Crystal Bal said. “My girls know how hard that we have to keep working and this is, like I told them, this is a good challenge to see where we’re at, and I felt like if we could control the tempo a little bit better, we could’ve been up there.”

Sabers sophomore Stevenson tied the score at 7 in the first quarter after a jump shot and a free throw. But the Lunas came back with three free throws and a layup by Taylor Eldredge to drive the lead to 12-8.

The Lunas went on a 8-0 run to finish off the half with a 33-14 lead, which included a shot by Eldredge that drew a free-throw, a jumper by Ashley Akamine and a three-pointer by Baguyo.

Maui High closed the gap to 47-30 near the end of the third quarter after back-to-back baskets by Ronie-Lynn Butihi and Thornton. The Lunas’ Abigail Akamine countered with a jump shot after getting her own rebound to push the lead to 49-30.

The Lunas finished out the game with a 5-1 run that included shots by Baguyo and a free throw by Akamine. Sabers’ Kiana Manuel had a free throw to end the game.

* Dakota Grossman is at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

LAHAINALUNA (59)

Paia Asuela 0, Abigail Akamine 22, Chaland Pahukoa 0, Ashley Akamine 8, Alea Kimokeo 0, Aira Baguyo 8, Kiera Kaniho 12, Taylor Eldredge 21, Ame Taufa 0, Margie Ruiz-Sana 2, Kyana Brucelas 3.

MAUI HIGH (33)

Jordyn Luna 3, Jacy Anne Dela-Cruz 0, Reizel Yadao 0, Kayla Thornton 7, Kylenna Rieta 6, Makena Stevenson 7, Sophia Otsuka 0, Leiana Thornton 5, Ronie-Lynn Butihi 4, Kiana Manuel 1.

Lahainaluna 12 21 16 10–59

Maui High 8 6 16 3–33

KING KEKAULIKE 64, BALDWIN 27

BALDWIN (27)

Melissa Caliva 8, Ella Mitnick 0, McKenzie Schwindler 1, Sarang Kim 0, Taylor Manangan 0, Kayla Martin 0, Aya Buttaro 5, Talo Mafatini 6, Rita Wengu 0, Makayla Chung 7, Lillianna Kirkbride 0, Tasha Caulford 0.

KING KEKAULIKE (64)

Cailyn Ukida 3, TC Pahukoa 8, Kylee Dee 6, Mary Pahukoa 0, Ledjan Pahukoa 20, Namahana Kaeo-Young 15, Annalee Peters 0, Alia Ah-You 0, Ashante Wong 2, Kreyajan Pahukoa 6, Kailia Purdy 2, Keira Archangel 2.

Baldwin 6 8 4 9–27

King Kekaulike 15 20 14 15–64

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