Down 20 points late in the third quarter, the Kamehameha Warriors did the unthinkable.
The Warriors went on a 25-0 run to shock top-seeded Konawaena in overtime, 45-39, in the final of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball Division I State Championships.
It was the greatest comeback for a victory in tourney history and Lilia Maio powered the rally. The senior post scored all 14 of her points after halftime for unbeaten Kamehameha (19-0), which was seeded second. Guard Tiare Kanoa led the Warriors with 15 points, including 5-for-6 shooting at the foul line in overtime.
“There was panic,” Kanoa said. “We all feed off each other’s energy, but we gathered ourselves and talked about it. We went inside to Lilia on high-low plays, but sometimes she was open on fastbreaks. Coach (Darold Imanaka) said, when we were down by seven, he said they were tired, so keep pushing it.”
Kamehameha, with a deeper rotation and roster, used its fullcourt pressure to help rally.
“Kona wasn’t subbing too much, so I knew they’d get tired,” Imanaka said. “This was the biggest comeback I’ve been a part of, bar none. It’s a life lesson. You don’t quit in life. I love these kids.”
Maio had a team-high 10 rebounds as Kamehameha outrebounded Konawaena 22-19.
“(Maio) played big by the basket. She moved girls out of the way and got big baskets,” Wildcats coach Bobbie Awa said.
The Warriors had 15 turnovers in the first three quarters, but had just one giveaway in the final quarter and overtime to win their first state title since 2002.
“We were all frustrated at ourselves, at each other, but we came together and worked as a team,” said Maio, a 5-foot-11 senior. “They got to us and we weren’t patient, we weren’t taking good shots. But we turned it on and did our thing. I had confidence in myself to do it. It’s an amazing way to end it.”
As a team, the Warriors shot 80 percent at the foul line (16-for-20) to keep hopes for a comeback alive. Konawaena was 6-for-10 at the line.
Konawaena finished the year 18-2.