2017 Top Stories: Molina, Tablit keep Kona dynasty rolling

Konawaena guard Mikayla Tablit (2) handed the trophy to her teammates after Konawaena won its eighth state championship. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

In Tuesday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Paul Honda wrote about the top 10 prep stories of 2017. You can read it here.

Here’s a deeper look at one of the 10 stories.

4. Konawaena girls basketball dynasty continues

The dynasty at Konawaena might turn out to be as impressive as the football one at Saint Louis.

In the last 14 seasons, coach Bobbie Awa has guided the Wildcats to eight state championships. Konawaena is a smaller school in rural Kealakekua and there is just one Parks and Recreation gym in a radius of 52 miles. Yet, the Wildcats keep churning out tough man-to-man defenders. They keep sharing the ball and reading defenses for backdoor passes and open shots year after year.

Last year’s team, with Celena Jane Molina and Cherilyn Molina following in the footsteps of oldest sister Chanelle (Washington State), got plenty of help. Mikayla Tablit carried much of the load while her backcourt partner, Cherilyn Molina, healed from an ankle injury. In the state final against ILH powerhouse Maryknoll, Konawaena got a big boost from young players like freshman Caiyle Kaupu (11 points, nine rebounds) and two clutch 3-pointers from reserve guard Tanniya Uchida. Their 53-48 win made it a three-peat.

Awa doesn’t necessarily look the part of a gung-ho elite coach. Awa normally dresses casual in a long-sleeved sweat shirt, jeans and slippers. The Wildcats have been consistent, fundamental and focused on team since the first title in ’04, just like their coach.


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