Big Island Warriors perform while torn

Kamehameha-Hawaii players and family milled around Kamehameha's pool after their semifinal loss to Punahou on Friday night. Photo by Brian McInnis/Star-Advertiser.

Kamehameha-Hawaii players and coaches have had quite a lot on their minds during this week’s Stanford Carr Development/HHSAA Water Polo Championships at sister school Kamehameha-Kapalama.

With all that was happening back on the Big Island — lava fissures, historic earthquakes, evacuations, destroyed homes — how could the Warriors not? Ground Zero of the events causing national headlines is just a matter of minutes down the highway from the KSH campus on East Hawaii Island.

At least one KSH player had immediate family relocated because of the extraordinary events at Leilani Estates in lower Puna.

Coach Dan Lyons was somber after his team’s semi, and not because of 10-time champion Punahou’s 8-2 victory.

Said Lyons: “We’re from East Hawaii, so that all affects all of us. The Big Island and East Hawaii specifically, it’s one family, and you know, we’re all ohana. Whether we have direct family members involved, we all have people we care about over there involved. I’m not on Twitter and I’m not on Facebook but everybody’s (social media) stuff, it’s all blowing up. People having to move. We have kids whose families had to move today. We’ve been praying for them. Coming to the game, we try to block some of that out, which is again, a life skill because times you gotta do what you gotta do even when bad things are happening. Obviously what’s happening in East Hawaii is way, way, way more important than this game. But you gotta be able to block it out for a second, go do your thing. (Friday night) they’ll be talking to their family members. We gotta come back and play (Saturday), but for all of us there’s a little bit of wishing we could be back helping our families.

The BIIF champ Warriors play MIL champ Baldwin for third place at 4:30 p.m., followed by the championship between Punahou and Kamehameha at 6.

Punahou coach Ken Smith, while preparing his team for a fourth straight title-game meeting against the Kapalama Warriors, was sympathetic to the plight of the team he just encountered. KSH made its first semifinal showing since 2011.

“Hopefully everybody’s safe and sound,” Smith said.”That stuff is something you’re thinking about I’m sure, after everything that’s been on the news. Our best wishes go out to all of them, for sure.”

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