For the fourth consecutive year, it will be an all-Interscholastic League of Honolulu final in state girls water polo.
Top-seeded and three-time defending champion Punahou (10-0) will face unseeded Kamehameha (8-3) at 3 p.m. today at the Nae‘ole Aquatics Facility on the campus of Kamehameha-Hawaii in Keaau. The Buffanblu rolled past host and previously unbeaten Kamehameha-Hawaii 22-9, while the Warriors handed second-seeded Kahuku its first loss of the season 5-4.
The Buffanblu, going for their sixth championship since the state tournament began in 2004, have defeated ILH rival Kamehameha in three previous finals. All three of the Warriors’ losses this season have come against Punahou.
"Maybe the fourth time will be a charm," Kamehameha coach Curt Ai said. "We had a very exciting game tonight against Kahuku and we’re very excited to play against Punahou for the fouth time."
STATE WATER POLO
Punahou won the two regular-season ILH matches 17-5 and 9-6, and 10-5 in the ILH tournament final two weeks ago.
"It’s hard to beat anyone for a fourth time in a season and Kamehameha is peaking at the right time," Buffanblu coach Ken Smith said. "We’re playing well, but so are they.
"This is what we work for all year and we’re pretty excited about it. We’re excited to defend the title." The Red Raiders (14-1), in the third-place game for the fourth consecutive year, meet the fourth-seeded Big Island Warriors (10-1) at 1:30 p.m.
In the fifth-place match at 12:15 p.m., Mililani meets Lahainalua. The Trojans (12-4) topped Roosevelt 13-11 in double overtime, while the Lunas (11-1) downed Waiakea 10-5.
Leilehua (12-4) topped Kaiser 8-4 to advance to the consolation championship against Baldwin at 11 a.m. The Bears (7-5) didn’t play yesterday, winning their consolation semifinal Thursday over Kapolei 9-4.
Punahou 22, Kamehameha-Hawaii 9
Senior center Brailey Hirose-Hulbert and senior attacker LillyBelle Deer each had two goals in helping the Buffanblu to a 5-1 lead after the first quarter and Punahou never looked back.
Hirose-Hulbert and Deer each finished with five goals. Kamehameha junior attacker Kiana Krzyska scored the first of her three goals to tie the contest at 1-1, but the Warriors gave up seven unanswered goals as the Buffanblu jumped out to a 10-2 lead at half.
Kamehameha 5, Kahuku 4
Senior 2-meter Brittney Garrigan scored both of her goals in the final 4 minutes, including the game-winner with 52 seconds left, to rally the Warriors past the Red Raiders. Kahuku senior Brooke Roy scored three goals, the last one giving the Red Raiders what would be their final lead at 4-3 with 6:16 left in the match.
Mililani 13, Roosevelt 11, 2 OT
Junior utility Erin Lee and senior utility Molly McGuire scored in the first overtime to lead the Trojans over the Rough Riders.
Lahainaluna 10, Waiakea 5
The Lunas spotted the Warriors a 1-0 lead in the first quarter, then roared back with three unanswered goals in the third to take the lead for good.
Leilehua 8, Kaiser 4
The Mules jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the first quarter in topping the Cougars.