Caiyle Kaupu’s jump hook with :05 left lifts Konawaena

Konawaena’s Caiyle Kaupu split the Kamehameha defense on Saturday. Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser

Caiyle Kaupu shows it more with action than words.

Kaupu taps her right hand over her heart. Down to six players after injuries to two teammates, the Konawaena Wildcats got a 5-foot jump hook from Kaupu with 5.1 seconds left to edge Kamehameha 44-43 on Saturday night at the Matsumoto Law Group Black & Gold Classic.

The go-ahead bucket was an exercise in patience by the Wildcats. No rushing. No improv in traffic.

“It’s discipline. It’s a normal play,” said Kaupu, who finished with 18 points. “I already knew the double team was coming. She was trying to take a charge, but I stopped instead of running her over.”

That capped an impressive tourney for Konawaena, which posted wins over three ILH teams: Punahou, Maryknoll and now, Kamehameha.

“We’re thankful to Bob (Morikuni, McKinley’s athletic director) for inviting us to play in this tournament with some of the best teams in the state,” Wildcats coach Bobbie Awa said.

Kaupu committed to UC Irvine during the offseason, showing the skill of a wing and the strength of a post through her first three seasons as a Wildcat. This week, the heat and humidity could have melted down most teams playing with roster numbers this low. It seemed to have an effect in Konawaena’s fourth game in as many days, but the Wildcats found ways to compete despite fatigue.

“We played through it. We’re not giving up. You’ve got to dig deeper. We have to dig deeper at times like that,” Kaupu said.

Lagi Sua-Godinet, Kaupu’s counterpart in the paint, finished with a team-high 13 points for the Warriors. Malie Marfil, who signed a letter-of-intent with Alaska-Anchorage last week, added 10.

Konawaena faced adversity through the week, arriving in Honolulu without two players who are academically ineligible. They still managed to go 3-1.

“It’s like any other game. You just got to play. You’ve got to be able to handle it all,” Kaupu said.

On Wednesday, the ‘Cats got 20 points from Kaupu and 14 from sophomore Kaliana Salazar Harrell in a 57-42 win over Punahou.

On Thursday, the Wildcats lost one player to a concussion and could not keep up with defending state champion ‘Iolani in a 54-26 loss.

Maryknoll’s uptempo game and deep, talented roster seemed to have the upper hand going into a matchup with Konawaena on Friday. Instead, the Wildcats got 24 points from Salazar Harrell, including 20 after halftime, for a stunning 57-39 win. Kaupu added 14 in the victory.

“We play our game, We’re not going to try to play the other team’s game. We run and get in transition, but we’re not going to press. We don’t have the numbers,” Awa said.

Saturday’s showdown with Kamehameha, which reached the state final last season, seemed to be more like the Maryknoll runaway. Down 14-4, the Wildcats began to claw back. Along the way, however, guard Rebekah Fong suffered an injury to her left knee shortly after scoring on a steal. The Wildcats took an 18-17 lead on Braelyn Kauhi’s foul-line jumper, and extended the lead on a layup by Kaupu.

The game remained nip and tuck, but after Grace Hing hustled downcourt after a deflection, she hit Kaupu, who splashed a 22-foot trey from the top for a 32-25 Konawaena lead. That had McKinley students sitting behind the Wildcats’ basket jumping and cheering for the team in white and kelly green.

“We could hear them. We didn’t even know who they are,” Kaupu said.

The Warriors inched within five, Hing lateraled a pass to Salazar Harrell for a wing 3, and after Salazar Harrell drove for a layup, Konawaena led 40-30 with 5 minutes remaining.

The Warriors chipped away and brought the lead down to 42-38 with 2 minutes to play. Maddison Mangalo’s trey cut the lead to one point with 1:05 left.

Marfil then chased down an errant inbounds pass by Kaupu, intended for Salazar Harrell, for a layup to give the Warriors a 43-42 lead with 50 seconds left.

“I shouldn’t have thrown the ball. As soon as I let it go, I knew,” Kaupu said.

Saturday’s scores
Maryknoll 59, Lahainaluna 27
MS—Aloha Akaka 19 (3 treys), Lily Koki 10, Serenity Moananu 10. LAH—Abigail Akamine 10.
Punahou 41, Kahuku 39
PUN—Tati Burciaga-Reyes 12 (3 treys). KAH—Leiah Naeata 17, Tati Kamae 7.
‘Iolani 58, Kalani 17
IOL—Lily Lefotu Wahinekapu 21, Kyra Tanabe 16, Jovi Wahinekapu Lefotu 9. KLN—Cas Kelso 5, Kristi Yasukochi 5.
Konawaena 44, Kamehameha 43
KON—Caiyle Kaupu 18, Kaliana Salazar Harrell 8. KS—Lagi Sua-Godinet 13, Malie Marfil 10.
Mid-Pacific 53, McKinley 25
Konawaena 44, Kamehameha 43
KON—Caiyle Kaupu 18, Kaliana Salazar Harrell 8. KS—Lagi Sua-Godinet 13, Malie Marfil 10.
Mid-Pacific 53, McKinley 25

Friday’s scores
Konawaena 57, Maryknoll 39
KON—Kaliana Salazar Harrell 24, Caiyle Kaupu 14. MS—Serenity Moananu 11, Kyla Neuman 10.
Kamehameha 44, Lahainaluna 27
KS—Haley Masaki 11, Lagi Sua-Godinet 10. LAH—Abigail Akamine 7.
‘Iolani 46, Kahuku 36
IOL—Alexis Huntimer 16 (4 treys), Lily Lefotu Wahinekapu 13. KAH—Leiah Naeata 10 (2 treys), Maya Claytor 8.
Punahou 52, McKinley 10
PUN—Taylor Hange 7, Tati Burciaga-Reyes 7. MCK—Alexandra Buchanan 4.

Thursday’s scores
‘Iolani 54, Konawaena 26
IOL—Kyra Tanabe 13, Jovi Wahinekapu Lefotu 11. KONA—Caiyle Kaupu 8.
Punahou 48, Lahainaluna 44
PUN—Melody Lum 10. LAH—Kiara Kaniho 8, Piper Pascua 8.
Kamehameha 83, Kalani 26
KS—Camille Feary 14, Lagi Sua-Godinet 14, Malie Marfil 13, MacKenzie Deal Vega 11. KLN—Mandi Haraga 7.
Kahuku 36, Mid-Pacific 24
KAH—Leiah Naeata 9, Tati Kamae 9. MPI—Madi Sagawa 13.

Wednesday’s scores
Mid-Pacific 42, Kalani 28
MPI—Made Segawa 13. KLN—Lilehina Oyama 8, Hallie Birdsong 8.
Konawaena 57, Punahou 42
KON—Caiyle Kaupu 20, Kaliana Salazar Harrell 14.
‘Iolani 45, Lahainaluna 31
IOL—Lily Lefotu Wahinekapu 13, Jovi Wahinekapu Lefotu 11.
Maryknoll 82, McKinley 14
MS—Aloha Akaka 22 (3 treys), Kyla Neuman 16, Lily Koki 11.


  1. Frank Mauz November 17, 2019 8:45 am

    Kudos to coach Bobbie Awa.
    Her Konawaena Wildcats continue to impress year in and year out. All the more amazing with such a thin
    roster, how they manage to stay out of foul trouble. No team at any level is more fun to watch.

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