HHSAA Girls Basketball
Konawaena, Lahainaluna win big to square off in semis


Thu, Feb 17, 2022 @ McKinley

Final 1 2 3 4  
Punahou (5-6, 9-7) 10 99836
Lahainaluna (11-1, 14-4) 13 8 14 1449
L. Pahukoa 14 pts  3 3pm  3/4 FTs
T. Loa 12 pts  0/2 FTs
K. Kaniho 8 tot  2 off  6 def
T. Loa 11 tot  9 off  2 def
K. Kaniho 5 ast
K. Lloyd 5 ast

KAKAAKO—No. 2 Konawaena crushed Mililani, 56-24 and in the nightcap, No. 3 Lahainaluna pulled away in the fourth quarter from No. 7 Punahou, 49-36, in the Heide & Cook/HHSAA Division I Girls Basketball Championships quarterfinal round at McKinley's Student Council Gymnasium.

All seeded teams in the tournament advanced to the semifinals. Tipoff between the Lunas and Wildcats is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Moanalua while the nightcap features top seed and No. 1 Iolani and fourth seed and No. 8 Campbell.

The last time Konawaena and Lahainaluna faced each other in the semifinal round was in 2018, the year Wildcats last won a state title.

The Lunas came to Oahu to participate in the Iolani Classic and the team found a way to jell together throughout the course of the season. 

"We only had a few practices as a team. We had some girls transfer in last-minute. We knew throughout the season, we would get better as we get more chemistry. The last few weeks we've been coming together and jelling pretty good and the girls are playing their hearts out right now," Lahainaluna coach Iolani Kaniho said.

"Since preseason, we got closer as a team and now we have more chemistry with each other. On the offensive end, we can swing the ball and really know where we are on the court," Ledjan said.

Three Lunas scored in double figures led by Ledjan Pahukoa, who finished with 14 points and was 4 of 12 from the field.

"Before the game I got some time to put up some shots and see where on the court I was comfortable with. In the game, I think I did well finding my spots and knowing my distance from 3," Ledjan said.

Chaland Pahukoa added 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting, four rebounds, and Taylor Eldredge rounded out the double-digit scoring with 10 points and four boards.

"I feel we got two of the best shooters in the state. Our whole thing is can we create enough ball movement to get them open in spots they're comfortable at. Anytime they're open and they shoot, I believe it's going in," coach Kaniho said.

Lahainaluna looked to pull away in the first quarter but Laynee Torres-Kahapea went on a 5-0 run by herself to pull the Buffanblu within three going into the second quarter.

The Lunas held a two point lead after Torres-Kahapea's free throw but pushed it to eight following a 3-pointer from Eldredge near the top of the arc and Ledjan bombed a triple deep from the left wing to make it, 21-13.

Ashley Tom answered with a pair of triples of her own, her first from the right corner and her second near the top of the arc as Punahou trailed, 21-19 at halftime.

The Buffanblu shot 3 of 25 (12 percent) from the 3-point line and was 15 of 52 (28.8 percent) from the field for the game.

"Everything for us starts on defense, more than anything. Some days you can shoot, some days you cannot. When you can guard, good things will happen. We were able to mix some presses on them and take away their drives to force them to shoot from outside, that was able to get some stops we needed," coach Kaniho said.

"They drive to the basket well. We figured we would cut off their lanes and try to pack the paint so they wouldn't get those easy shots inside the paint," Ledjan said.

Tanea Loa led Punahou with a double-double: 12 points and 11 rebounds, and scored six points to keep the Buffanblu afloat. Torres-Kahapea split her pair of free throws to get Punahou within one, but Eldredge answered with a floater going baseline.

Loa went up and under to bring the Buffanblu within one again, but Chaland Pahukoa splashed a 3-pointer off a kick out from Ledjan on the left wing and nailed another from the opposite wing for a huge six-point swing heading into the fourth.

"Chaland hit some 3s and it got us some leeway to pull the ball out and pull Punahou's defense out," coach Kaniho said.

Ledjan continued the scoring run with two treys of her own for an 8-0 run to open the fourth. Loa broke the 14-0 Luna scoring run with a putback at the 4:20 mark but by then it was too little too late for the Buffanblu as Lahainaluna pushed the lead to as much as 19.

"I think we did well controlling the ball. We handled it well and didn't pressure out with it. While we were running our plays, we were able to swing, swing, move set screens and get off a good shot," Ledjan described the team's ball movement.

The Lunas shot 17 of 37 (45.9 percent) from the field and was 6 of 19 (31.6 percent) from 3.

Torres-Kahapea, the Buffanblu's leading scorer, finished with seven points and was 2 for 12 from the field and tallied four steals.

Kiera Kaniho and Travina Harris each grabbed eight and seven boards respectively.

Greg Yamamoto | SL    Purchase image

Konawaena overwhelms and blitzes Mililani

Kaliana Salazar-Harrell led the Wildcats with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line as Konawaena scored early and often.

Braelyn Kauhi was the next Wildcat to score in double figures and finished with 11 points.

Kayla Pak had seven of the Wildcats' 20 steals and Mililani committed 26 turnovers. 29 of Konawaena's points came off those turnovers.

The Wildcats led 32-6 at halftime and went by as much as 39 in the second half. It was 51-14 heading into the fourth quarter.

Mahealani Choy Foo led the Trojans with 12 points, seven rebounds and finished 4 of 5 from behind the arc.

Mililani faces Punahou in the consolation bracket fifth place semifinals at 7 p.m. preceded by No. 4 Maui and No. 5 Waiakea tomorrow at McKinley.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].

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