Double-doubles by Leiah Naeata, Tati Kamae power Kahuku over Mililani

Maya Claytor and the OIA champion Kahuku Red Raiders have a tough first game in the state tournament against ILH runner-up Maryknoll. Photo by Marco Garcia/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

The Kahuku Red Raiders are dominating the OIA girls basketball season, but they’re still hungry.

After a 57-26 rout of OIA West runner-up Mililani in the semifinal round on Saturday night, Kahuku is in prime position to repeat as league champion.

They did it with physicality and grit. Diving for every loose ball. Going after every missed shot. Kahuku outrebounded Mililani 45-20, and 20 of the Lady Raiders’ boards were on the offensive glass. More intriguing, Kahuku’s ball movement against a quick, fearless Mililani defense.


It is a major improvement since the first two weeks of preseason, when Kahuku lost five of its first seven games, all against Top 10 competition.

“Early preseason, we knew we had to stay humble. We had to build off of it. We had to be less selfish, learn how to play together and eventually we turned into the team we are today,” said Leiah Naeata, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds against Mililani.

Tati Kamae also beasted with 11 points, 10 boards and four steals. Maya Claytor had eight points, five boards and eight assists. Across the lineup, key contributions are making Kahuku a growing possibility as a state-title contender. Serina Aumua-Tuisavura had eight points, nine rebounds and three assists. Trisha Faumuina came off the bench for six in the opening quarter to help Kahuku open a 13-7 lead.


“I think in the beginning of preseason, they didn’t have as much confidence, so it was important during practice for the starters to uplift the people that are just in bigger roles,” Naeata said. “We had to keep working hard at practice. That’s how we get better.”

Kahuku also shot just 4-for-15 from the arc and was foul prone, allowing Mililani to get into the bonus early.

“Our defense on the bottom, we’re pretty big so we have to learn to control our fouls. Also, our shooting percentage, we work on that,” Naeata said.


“Our goal, as a staff, is to talk to the girls and ask, ‘Do we want to fight tooth-and-nail to the end, or can we have a cushion?’ They know we want that cushion,” Kahuku coach Latoya Wily said.

At James Alegre Gymnasium
Mililani (13-7) 7 4 12 3 — 26
Kahuku (16-7) 13 16 13 15 — 57
MIL: Jovi Funakoshi 4, Kayla Tansiongco 3, Qiera Tyrell 5, Heidi Lagafuaina 0, Kylie Bagay 6, Kianna Ponce 8, Jenna Sagon-Galisa 0, Tylor Goldsmith 0, Chasity Jackson 0, Christyanna Ibarra 0, Avianna Furuta 0.
KAH: Kaila Kaahu 2, Tatianna Kamae 11, Kalamela Liua 0, Leina Carvalho 0, Mary Fonoimoana 2, Teija Crawford 4, Serina Aumua-Tuisavura 8, Leiah Naeata 14, Maya Claytor 8, Trisha Faumuina 8.
3-point goals: MIL 1 (Bagay), KAH 4 (Claytor 2, Kamae, Naeata).

COMMENTS

  1. really January 26, 2020 10:15 am

    This team goes as Leiah Naeata goes. The other girls are okay. They do 1 thing pretty good. Naeata does like 5 things well. She is the engine that makes this team operate. Kahuku is lucky this kid bleeds red and white. Numerous private schools were after her and she choose to play for her community. Without her, this team is another Castle or Kaimuki.


  2. 1SLAND3RZ January 26, 2020 2:51 pm

    @Really it’s people like you who ruin kids. You either over hyping or u criticizing for nothing. Basketball is a team sport, ONE player cannot win a game alone. It’s obvious she is one of the more experienced , but dont discredit the others on their team bcoz u a “brown nose” she does great things , but so do her teammates. What private schools were after her? Bcoz our ILH guards are in TOP shape and can run all day and have a decent shooting form. Or were they after her to play a big for them? Lol. You crazy for that! GTFOH WIT YO 1 MAN TEAM BS!


  3. 88 January 26, 2020 5:44 pm

    Yeah, the 1 thing they do pretty good is win.


  4. 1LH January 26, 2020 7:43 pm

    @Really, you sound so stupid for that comment. Leiah Naeata is not fit enough to be a guard in the ILH. Given she is 1 of the most experienced on the Kahuku team since very few of them play basketball year around like they said. The rest of their team seem to have gotten a little better from last season which shouldnt be overlooked, they would not just look like Kaimuki or Castle without her. But I’m curious as to which private schools were after her? Were they trying to get her to play a big? Some Parents keep over rating their kids and hating too much on the others.
    @88, you are right!


  5. Rajahdat January 26, 2020 10:25 pm

    Wow Kahuku did awesome playing together as a team. Watching Kahuku, every girl played a huge part to win against Millilani. No wonder why they been doing so well in the season. Keep it up Kahuku Girl’s Basketball! Good luck in the championships and in States!

    Really- Please don’t compare one player to the rest. Very inconsiderate of you! Naeata is one of the many that Kahuku is blessed with for natural born athletisicm… Kamae, Aumua, Claytor, Faumuoina, Fonoimoana ALL have the potential to play in ILH just as much as Naeata. So if Naeata plays bad then it’s her fault they lose. Is that what you’re saying? WIN is a TEAM EFFORT in basketball. Win Lose as a team. When the ball is being passed around thats how teams score, when the ball is in one hand barely score or lose.


  6. really January 27, 2020 6:22 am

    They win against inferior OIA teams.

    Iolani
    Punahou
    Maryknoll
    Waiakea
    Konawaena (2 times)

    When they face better competition they haven’t won yet. The only decent team they beat was Hilo. But in that game, Hilo’s starting pg did not suit up.


  7. 1SLAND3RZ January 27, 2020 7:56 am

    @Really, So then those losses mean that its coz Leiah Naeata cannot hang with ILH or BIIF? She can only do like “5 things well” against “inferior OIA teams”. Curious as to what thos “like 5 things” are coz she


  8. 88 January 27, 2020 8:18 am

    Duhhh, the teams you just mentioned are the cream of the crop.. Schools known for basketball. The difference between this team and Kahuku teams of the past is that some of these players strictly play basketball. You can see it in the games. But to get to the Konawaena, Iolani level your going to have to wait and hope the younger generation take up the sport and someone establishes a feeder program.


  9. Rebel808 January 27, 2020 9:56 am

    @Really Wow, what a ignorant and insensitive statement to say the very least! Thank you for sharing your hate and negativity…exactly what CHILDREN need in this crazy world as if they don’t have enough ignorance and hate to deal with already. It must be an amazing feeling putting CHILDREN down and stirring up trouble, good on you! Last time I checked, basketball was a TEAM sport and not an individual sport – nearly impossible for one person to play and do it all alone. You obviously don’t follow the Lady Raider Basketball program closely enough otherwise you wouldn’t have made such a ludacris statement. The team is filled with a so much talent, athleticism and most importantly HEART! For you to sit behind a keyboard and bully CHILDREN by spreading your nonsense is so sad! In case you don’t know, life is so much more enjoyable and beautiful when you uplift, encourage, celebrate and spread positivity! Especially when it comes to CHILDREN! If any of you Lady Raiders are reading these comments…never mind the pathetic ignorant fools who have nothing better to do than try and bring others down. Keep your heads up, keep grinding and continuing to ball the hell up! @Really – get a life brah! RR4L


  10. RealTalk86 January 28, 2020 11:39 pm

    Wow, THIS is just so sad and pathetic. I’ve been seeing over the last couple years, these particular websites or forums or whatever the heck you want to refer to them as, as poisonous and toxic. I swear this is supposed to be where they highlight and recognize student athletes of all types, but I’m sure it IS NOT a place for people to talk crap and down to, not only to each other, but about the kids. Like seriously, get a life! As I read through these comments, I felt so disgusted and just at a loss for words when it comes to people being cyber bullies and hiding behind their screen and typing as quick as they can, as much ignorant and arrogant crap to make themselves feel heard. Well guess what, NOBODY hears you cause NOBODY KNOWS WHO YOU ARE!! Such a sad and pathetic life you must be living to have to put down KIDS .lol.

    @Really, you must be the parents/family of this Naeata girl because no one else would boast and go so hard for a player they dont have any direct ties or connections to. Knock it off already! Teach your child the importance of team sports and what it is to play as a team and stop trying to make it look like she does everything on her own. I work for an ILH school and I can tell you this much, I’ve NEVER heard this players name mentioned and I work directly with the athletics departments between our schools. I’m sure she, as well as the other players are awesome athletes, but please, do your child a favor and dont give her false hope or information that is not true. You’re hurting her more than helping her. If basketball was only about 1 player, why the heck would there need to be 5 players on the court at a time per team??? Exactly, stop lying to yourselves and her. Keep things honest and humble and in the end, with hardwork and dedication, they will get what’s rightfully theirs. Dont be those foolish parents and set expectations that you yourself probably couldn’t or didn’t even do when you were their age. Keep their spirits up and embrace everything that comes with their days of playing. Losses, wins, good games, not so good games, injuries, recognitions, all of it, take them as life’s lessons and growing pains and gains.

    To all the teams from OIA, ILH and BIIF. best of luck to you all as you head into the playoffs.

    Congratulations on your seasons thus far!!


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