A comedienne off the court, Lia Galdeira returned for her junior year with an all-business attitude on the hardwood.
After leading Konawaena to the state championship, coaches and media voted Galdeira player of the year in the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball All-State Fab 15.
Galdeira, at 5-foot-8, averaged 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.2 steals per game. She had 15 points and eight boards in the state final, a 49-45 win over Punahou.
Galdeira outpointed returning player of the year Maiki Viela of Lahainaluna, and Konawaena teammate Dawnyelle Awa for the top honor.
"She’s very athletic with basketball skills, unlike a lot of girls who are athletic without skills," Lahainaluna coach Todd Rickard said of Galdeira. "It makes her more deadly. She’s a dominating player. Explosive. Very explosive."
Punahou coach Mike Taylor saw an improvement in the talented guard.
"She was much more aggressive with her perimeter shot, especially from beyond the arc," he said. "She worked much harder on the defensive end, jumping passing lanes and finishing on the break."
Kapolei coach Jesse Baugh agreed.
"She’s in a league of her own," Baugh said. "There was one play against Punahou, she split the double team and beat the defense down the court with the dribble. How many girls can do that? She hits the offensive rebounds, moves the ball around, dribbles through traps.
"This year, she elevated her game to another level, and she’s got one more year. Ouch, that hurts. She can only get better. She doesn’t have that cockiness, too. She carries herself well."
Lahainaluna senior guard Viela overcame an early-season back injury to lead the Lady Lunas to the Maui Interscholastic League championship. Lahainaluna reached the semifinals of the state tourney before losing to Punahou. The 5-6 Viela averaged 18.1 points per game, scoring 29 points in a comeback win over Kapolei in the state quarterfinals.
"She’s got great composure, great knowledge of the game," said Baugh, whose Hurricanes lost to the Lady Lunas 58-55 in the state tourney. "She kept her team together. When we took the lead, she showed no sign of panic. She’s aware of everything, moves the ball around, great shot selection."
Rickard will miss his four-year standout.
"She’s got quickness with the ball and court vision," Rickard said of Viela. "She sees things and can make changes offensively or defensively without us coaches.
"Her strength is her all-around game."
Awa, a seasoned floor general and a pickpocket on defense, was the calming influence on a team that already had a lightning-bolt force in Galdeira. The 5-8 junior averaged 17.7 points, 5.0 assists and 5.0 steals per game for the defensive-minded Wildcats.
"Out of the (top) three, she’s really calm. Her ball-handling skills are excellent and she doesn’t exert unnecessary energy," Rickard said. "She plays the game at different speeds and knows when to pick it up, when to slow it down. She’s not as athletic as Lia or even Maiki, but the way she controls the ball and makes smart decisions, she doesn’t have to score every single time."
"It’s the other things she does that makes her teammates better. When she’s in the game, Konawaena will be under control. She’s definitely the best defensive player.
"The intangibles, every time they step on the court, these three girls feel nobody can beat them," Rickard said of Galdeira, Viela and Awa. "They feel they can lead a team all the way to a state championship. It’s something you can’t really teach.
"These three girls are special. They’re as good as any girls I’ve seen in the last 16 years."
Punahou post Hailey-Ann Maeda, a consistent double-double performer, and Farrington super scorer Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo (18.7 ppg) were tied at No. 4 in the voting.
Coach of the Year honors went to Bobbie Awa, who guided Konawaena to its fourth state championship in eight years. The Wildcats went 31-1 overall this season and finished at No. 25 in the MaxPreps Girls Basketball Xcellent Rankings.
|1. Lia Galdeira||Konawaena||5-8||Jr.|
|2. Maiki Viela||Lahainaluna||5-6||Sr.|
|3. Dawnyelle Awa||Konawaena||5-8||Jr.|
|4. (tie) Hailey-Ann Maeda||Punahou||5-10||Sr.|
|4. (tie) Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo||Farrington||5-7||Sr.|
|6. Mysha Sataraka||Punahou||5-9||Sr.|
|7. Kylie Maeda||‘Iolani||5-7||Jr.|
|8. Kirsten Liana||Farrington||5-10||Sr.|
|9. Kalei Adolpho||Molokai||6-1||Sr.|
|10. Anuhea Wall||Konawaena||5-8||Sr.|
|11. Joshlyn Noga||Kahuku||5-9||Sr.|
|12. Katelynn Paleka-Kennedy||KS-Hawaii||6-3||Sr.|
|13. Alex Masaquel||‘Iolani||5-10||So.|
|14. (tie) Ashley Agcaoili||Maryknoll||5-5||Sr.|
|14. (tie) Ashley Yamachika||Mid-Pacific||5-3||Sr.|
(in order of point totals)
Meleana Adams, Kaiser
Taylor Babbitt, Mid-Pacific
Quynne Eharis, University
Misi Uulopa, Konawaena
Lahela Usui, ‘Iolani
Sabrina Angle, Pearl City
Darcy Goulsby, Kaiser
Jen Ching, Punahou
Toe Motu, Kapolei
Imani Wimbush, Radford
Sefulu Fa’avae, Lahainaluna
Alyssa Ferreira, Waiakea
Krystal Jacobs, Kapolei
Cassie Ernst, Campbell
Saphyre Rezentes, ‘Iolani
Kiana Robertson, Mid-Pacific
Corie Kuia, Kalani
Rachel Tailele, Kahuku
Julia Brand, Punahou
Letisha Fa’asoa, Kaimuki
Ana Lauese, Lahainaluna