The ‘Iolani Raiders picked quite the time to play, arguably, their best game of the season.
It still wasn’t enough to snuff out the Konawaena dynasty. The top-seeded Wildcats rallied from an 11-point deficit for a decisive 56-45 victory to claim the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championship Friday night.
A raucous crowd of 2,047 watched at Blaisdell Arena as Lia Galdeira tallied 21 points and eight rebounds, and injured teammate Dawnyelle Awa had 12 points and six assists in the comeback win.
Forward Courtney Kaupu was key cog with 10 points, six boards and three blocks against ‘Iolani’s talented young front line.
"‘Iolani wanted us to run at their rhythm and they had it for awhile, but we settled down," Galdeira said. "Our (defensive) intensity is built in. It doesn’t happen all game, but when it comes, it’s on. I feel good."
Konawaena (26-3 overall) won its third state title in four years of varsity play for Galdeira and Awa, who were 110-8 against all competition. The Wildcats now have five state crowns in the past nine seasons under coach Bobbie Awa.
"I feel great. Every year, it’s special, but it’s a little more because it’s Dawnyelle’s senior year. The girls are wonderful," said Coach Awa, who stayed calm through the storm. "I believe in them. We just had to make corrections."