POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Feb 5, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 3:50 a.m. HST, Feb 5, 2011
Misilosa U'ulopa scored the go-ahead basket with 2 minutes left and Konawaena used a 6-0 run to break a tie and edge Punahou 49-45 in the Division I final of the Hawaiian AIrlines/Hawaii High School Athletic Association girls basketball state championships.
It was a resounding season for Konawaena, which lost a fourth-quarter lead and fell to Lahainaluna in last year's state final. The motto this year: "Unfinished Business."
U'ulopa (eight points) and Anuhea Wall (10 points) were key factors against a tough Punahou defense that ganged up on Konawaena's primary scorers, Dawnyelle Awa and Lia Galdeira.
Galdeira, who finished with 15 hard-earned points plus eight rebounds, was voted the tourney's most outstanding player by the news media. Awa overcame early foul trouble for a second night in a row and finished with 13 points. She was also named to the all-tourney team.
Konawaena finished the season 32-1 overall, winning its fourth state crown since 2004, all under coach Bobbie Awa.
"The seniors stepped up," Awa said of the group of four, including U'ulopa and Wall. "Misi's been in and out of the starting lineup. She came out fired up. Being a senior, she just didn't want to lose."
Coach Mike Taylor's Buffanblu were resilient against the top-seeded Wildcats. Mysha Sataraka had 15 points and Hailey-Ann Maeda tallied 12 points and nine boards for Punahou.
"Konawaena played well, but you have to credit our defense," Taylor said. "Our players had an understanding of who their shooters are. We had good communication."
Taylor altered his normal man-to-man defense and used a highly effective matchup zone to counter Konawaena's talented slashers. "He really pushed the zone in this tourney," Maeda noted.
"Mike had a good game plan," Bobbie Awa said. "I almost thought it was a soft zone. We had wide open looks at the (high) post, but we didn't shoot at first."
Konawaena shot 44 percent (21-for-48). Punahou was 53 percent from the field, but had 18 turnovers to Konawaena's nine.
The game was tight until Konawaena went on a run in the third quarter, jumping ahead 39-30 after a 3-pointer by Awa and a layup by U'ulopa off a feed from Wall.
However, Punahou rallied with buckets by Maeda and clutch perimeter shooting by Reina Furuya and Turner Wong. A pull-up jumper by Sataraka tied it at 41 with 3:57 remaining.
Galdeira's drive to the hoop netted a 43-41 lead with 3:03 to go, but Sataraka hustled for a putback, and it was tied one last time at 43 with 2:30 left.
That's when U'ulopa scored on the post off a pass from Awa, and after Sataraka was whistled for an offensive foul, Galdeira hit a free throw for a 46-43 lead with 52 seconds left.
Maeda missed a tough runner, and Galdeira hit a big free throw with 29 ticks left for a four-point cushion.
Awa added two foul shots for a 49-43 lead. Sataraka's free throws with 3.7 seconds left provided the final margin.
"Congratulations to Konawaena. Our team did a good job today," Sataraka said. "No matter what the outcome, we're happy."
"It's a tough loss. You can't help but feel bad, but we lost to a good team," she said.
Taylor, who has guided Punahou to eight finals in 10 seasons, was proud of his team.
"Who would've thought a team could've pulled within 30 points of such a dominant team," he said. "What we've overcome, we came out winners."
Punahou has won four state titles under Taylor, the most recent in 2008.
Halftime -- Konawaena 25, Punahou 19.
3-point goals -- Punahou 3-6 (Wong 2-4, Furuya 1-2). Konawaena 1-9 (D. Awa 1-4, M. Awa 0-1, Hanato-Smith, 0-1, Galdeira 0-3).
Steals -- Punahou 3 (Brand, Ching, Maeda). Konawaena 12 (D. Awa 5, Galdeira 3, U'ulopa 2, Wall 2). Blocked shots -- Punahou 2 (Maeda 2). Konawaena 2 (Kaupu, Wall). Officials -- Ki'i Spencer, Ryan Wells, Alex Miguel.
Usui was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 1:34 to help 'Iolani maintain control. The Raiders hit 11 of 12 second-half free throws and 13 of 16 for the game. Lahainaluna hit 15 of 28 free throws.
Lahainaluna closed to within one point on numerous occasions early in the final period, but each time 'Iolani would convert a basket or free throws.
'Iolani overcame a 21-point, nine-steal performance by Lahainaluna's Maiki Viela, who will play her college ball at Gonzaga University next season.
At Blaisdell Arena
'IOLANI--Kylie Maeda 10, Saphyre Rezentes 4, Klein Masutani 3, Katie Tom 4, Jelene Wong 0, Erin Napier 0, Kaitlyn Shikada 0, A. Johnson-Edwards 6, Lahela Usui 10, Alyssa Li'ili'i 2, Alex Masaquel 12, Taimane Passi 3.
3-point goals--Lahainaluna 3 (Lauese 2, Bacalso). 'Iolani 3 (Maeda 2, Masutani).
Farrington was led by Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo's game-high 29 points.
Joshy Noga led Kahuku with 13 points, while Allyson Te'o notched a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds).
At Blaisdell Arena
FARRINGTON--Diena Peterson 0, Ashley Savusa 6, Peti Timoteo 0, Sallie Lazaro 0, Losa Foki 0, Chasity Scanlan-Sevao 8, Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo 29, Koleti Siliga 2, Kirsten-Marie Liana 15, Leilani Mageo-Pacheco 0, Penina Faumui 0.
3-point goals--Kahuku 2 (Falemalu, Naeole). Farrington 2 (Tatupu-Leopoldo 2).