(Here’s the full recap on Miillani’s opening-round win over Kaiser at the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships on Tuesday, McKinley Student Council Gymnasium. See the tournament recap for Division I and D-II here.)
Mikaela Limper scored eight points in a pivotal third quarter as the Trojans went on a 23-9 run to pull away in opening-round play at McKinley.
Point guard Kapili Amamalin, who had six points during that third stanza, finished with a game-high 18 points for Mililani. Kaylee Torres added 15 points, Kira Arruda and Nayla Long had 12 apiece and Limper finished with 10 as the OIA Red runner-up Trojans advanced.
Mililani is unseeded, but rank at No. 5 in the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10.
Ashley Soong led Kaiser with 15 points. Micaela Bitanga tallied nine.
“We knew we had to contain No. 3 (Chantelle Arce), their 3-point shooter, and 22 (Bitanga),” Mililani coach Patrick Basilio said. “Kira and Kapili did a good job on 22.”
It was a rough, physical battle that had Basilio concerned, even late in the game with his team up by a wide margin. His starters didn’t leave until there were 17 seconds left.
“The lead is never safe against them,” he said. “They could hit one or two threes and get back in it. It was very physical. We try to get our girls ready for any kind of game. We used to be called a finesse team a few years ago, but I think we shed that label.”
Mililani will meet top-seeded Konawaena tonight. The Trojans beat Konawaena in preseason play at the Wildcats’ tournament.
“Konawaena’s tough, but beating them, the girls know they can beat an elite team,” Basilio said. “It helped their psyche.”
Long, the most physical of the Trojans, is ready.
“You can’t back down when teams are aggressive,” she said. “Kaiser’s a great team, but our loss to Leilehua (in the OIA Red final) lit the fire again.”
Mililani isn’t riding on that early win over Konawaena at all.
“When we beat them, it was like beating any other team. It was only preseason,” said Long, a signee with the College of Charleston. “They’re a different team now, and we’re a different team.”
She remembered Konawaena point guard Chanelle Molina, the high-scoring freshman.
“She can be unstoppable if you let her,” Long said.