HHSAA Girls Basketball
Kamehameha flattens Konawaena to reach title game for first time since 2019


Thu, Feb 8, 2024 @ McKinley

Final 1 2 3 4  
Kamehameha (4-6, 17-8) 8 10151952
Konawaena (13-1, 21-4) 7 6 12 1035
T. Harris 13 pts  1/1 FTs
N. Dunn 22 pts  0/0 FTs
T. Harris 9 tot  2 off  7 def
N. Dunn 12 tot  5 off  7 def
T. Harris 2 ast
M. Labanon 2 ast

KAKAAKO—After a five-year absence, the Warriors are back in the title game.

No. 3 and unseeded Kamehameha-Kapalama continued its hot tournament run and trounced second-ranked and seeded Konawaena, 52-35, in the HHSAA/Heide & Cook Division I Girls Basketball State Championships semifinals nightcap at McKinley's Student Council Gymnasium.

The Warriors (17-7 overall) avenged a 48-42 semifinal loss last season to the Wildcats (18-4 overall) and reaches the state title game for the first time since 2019.

"We're definitely excited. When we make it to the state tournament, it's so hard to make it out of the ILH. The opportunity is here and we have to make the most of it. We're stoked and excited," Kamehameha coach Pua Straight said.

"Last year when we lost, it was pretty devastating. We were all encouraged after that game to come back this year to get it done," Paranada said.

Kamehameha will face Iolani for the sixth time this season, this time for all the marbles. The Raiders dealt five of the Warrior's six losses and won the 2019 title game, 52-49.

Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. following another all-ILH final in Division II between Hanalani and Maryknoll.

Nihoa Dunn carried the Warriors with a 22 and 12 performance and shot 11 for 19 from the field and point guard Rylee Paranada added 17 points.

"It's all to my teammates. Because my teammates know when to pass me the ball and when not to. They always had my back whether I finish or don't finish. They're always there to pick me up," Dunn said.

"Rylee is a very skilled guard. Sometimes when she plays, I don't think it's evident how skilled she is. She can attack at all three levels, shoot off the catch, she can get to the basket and she's one of our only players that can shoot off the dribble in the mid range," Straight said of Paranada.

Kamehameha pounded the glass and out-rebounded Konawaena, 42 to 20. 22 offensive rebounds led to 21 second chance points.

"We know we are a really good rebounding team. We needed clean up those boards if wanted to win the game," Dunn said.

Aside from Dunn's 12 boards, Rylee Cabuyadao-Caswell and Makenzie Alapai each collected 10 rebounds.

"They are good at crashing rebounds and kicking back out so we can get those shots," Paranada said.

"That's something they've embraced as part of their identity is offensive rebounding. Nihoa is a great offensive rebounder and Makenzie and Rylee (Cabuyadao-Caswell) crashing the glass, those are three of the best rebounders in the state," Straight added.

Paranada was 6 for 6 from the free throw line as the team was 8 for 9. She hit a pair to give the Warriors an 8-7 first quarter lead.

"I just stayed calm when I have the ball and finding open teammates and trusting them. I trust they can hit it when I pass it to them," Paranada said.

Haikela Hiraishi stole the inbounds pass and gave the Wildcats the lead in the second quarter.

Despite shooting 7 for 27 from the field in the first half, Dunn picked up the offense for Kamehameha to score all 10 of their second quarter points. Dunn scored off an inbounds and Ariana Ferreira-Torralba fed her again in the post. She hit a reverse layup to force a Konawaena timeout and hit a jumper in the paint from the baseline inbound.

Kaanoipua Leilewi drove it in as Konawaena trailed, 18-13 at halftime.

Tavina Harris led the Wildcats with 13 points and nine rebounds and Hiraishi finished with seven points as Konawaena drops to the third place game for the first time since 2019 to face Lahainaluna. Tip off is slated for 1 p.m. at the Neal Blaisdell Center.

"Tavina is a key player for them. We wanted to go at her and make her work defensively as well," Straight said.

Kamehameha brought 6-1 center Kamaka Fonoti off the bench to counter Harris and paired her with Dunn for defensive stretches.

"No matter when she comes in, she's super confident and she's out there to battle. She's a very confident girl. We tried to throw her in with Nihoa and what look that gives us," Straight said. "They've been getting more comfortable with it, Nihoa is not really used to guarding perimeter people so she's getting more comfortable with that."

In the third quarter, Kamehameha went up, 26-13, as Paranada hit a baseline floater. After free throws from Leilewi, Dunn extended back to 13 from the left block.

"It was our goal to come out strong, but not also not come out strong, but stay strong the whole game. Don't let up," Dunn said.

Konawaena made a run as Aaedyn Kauhi hit a 3-pointer from the corner and Harris backed down Fonoti and was fouled to complete a 3-point play to trail, 28-21 with 2:10 to go. Harris scored from the right block and Alapai and Hiraishi each traded baskets. Dunn hit a jumper over Harris before the buzzer for a 33-25 lead going into the fourth.

"It was rough, none of my teammates were open so I'm going to shoot it. If I don't make it, it's okay, if I do, good," Dunn said of the bucket.

Harris scored off a curl from Hiraishi to make it, 33-27 but Dunn answered right back as she converted an assist from Mikylah Labanon. The Warriors shot 2 for 19 from 3 and Alapai made the first triple to extend the lead to double digits.

"For them when they settle in defensively and lock down defensively, that's when they can start to play more loose," Straight said.

Angelie Molina hit a 3-pointer to get Konawaena within eight, but could not get any closer as Kamehameha poured on a 7-0 run to go up 15 following Paranada's free throws. She gave the Warriors a 19-point lead as she hit the second triple to finish off a 19-point fourth quarter.

"Every time we went back on the bench, we encouraged each other to keep this going. The people coming off the bench did a good job keeping the lead," Paranada said.

Harris scored six of the team's 10 fourth quarter points as the Wildcats shot 4 of 13 from the field and 1 for 7 from 3.

"You can never feel comfortable when you play Konawaena. They're so patient for shots, they wait for that perfect 3-point look and they let it go, you hope it's a miss sometimes," Straight said.

Kamehameha shot 7 for 27 from the field in the first half, but shot 50 percent (14 of 28) in the second half and finished 38.2 percent from the field.

Konawaena shot 14 of 40 (35 percent) overall from the field and connected on 3 of their 13 3-point attempts.

The Warriors' last win over the Wildcats was in 2013 when it won its last state title.

Konawaena was seeking its fourth-straight state final appearance.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].

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