UPSET CITY: Konawaena 49, #1 Riverdale 41

Konawaena's Chanelle Molina cuts between Riverdale Baptist's Kierra Turner, left, and Chanel Belton during the first half of a girls high school basketball game between the Riverdale Baptist Crusaders (Md.) and the Konawaena Wildcats on Friday, December 12, 2014 at Iolani School gymnasium in Moiliili.   (Honolulu Star-Advertiser/Jamm Aquino).
Konawaena’s Chanelle Molina cuts between Riverdale Baptist’s Kierra Turner, left, and Chanel Belton during the first half of a girls high school basketball game between the Riverdale Baptist Crusaders (Md.) and the Konawaena Wildcats on Friday, December 12, 2014 at Iolani School gymnasium in Moiliili. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser/Jamm Aquino).

Took almost an hour to get from the OIA-ILH Challenge (Moanalua High School) to ‘Iolani, where the Konawaena-Riverdale Baptist game was running about 45 minutes late. Thank you, Lord.

Riverdale is 3-1 and ranked No. 1 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Writers Poll.

Q1: Riverdale 9, Konawaena 7
The Crusaders, ranked first or 16th depending on who you believe, are towering. Unlike Miramonte (Calif.), who Konawaena beat 63-62 on Thursday, Riverdale has girls 6-4, 6-2, 6-1, 6-1. As tall as Miramonte was, their tallest were 6 feet.

Riverdale using a tough high-low passing game to dominate in the paint. They led 9-2 and seemed on the verge of a blowout, using halfcourt traps on the much smaller Wildcats. But Konawaena is hanging in there.

End Q1: Riverdale 15, Konawaena 11
Janice Ladson may be the purest shooter in the tourney. The 5-3 guard has two treys for the Crusaders, and that’s the biggest difference so far. Konawaena switched to a 2-3 zone after a timeout midway through, and that’s helped the ‘Cats with rebounding. Chanelle Molina and the other frontcourt defenders are boxing out well.

Q2: Riverdale 23, Konawaena 15, 3:12
Rebounders of Riverdale killing Konawaena, especially from the high post. Lena Liang, the heavily-recruited 6-2 guard, is doing the damage from the high post.

Half: Riverdale 25, Konawaena 22
This has the feel of that Montrose-‘Iolani game some years back when Derrick Low and Ryan Hirata were seniors. The Crusaders can’t shake the Wildcats, not with their rebounders getting called occasionally for over-the-back fouls on the offensive glass. It’s been physical and one of the three officials is letting hacks and hammers go (both ways), which benefits the big girls from the East Coast.

Chanelle Molina scored five points in the final 3 minutes to bring her team within three at the break. Konawaena doing a much better job of handling the Crusaders’ halfcourt traps.

The fans from Riverdale Baptist were quiet through most of the second quarter. This is turning out to be more of a game than most folks here expected. How is a 5-8 and under team hanging with a national powerhouse?

Q3: Konawaena 31, Riverdale 31, 4:57
Wildcats are very comfortable handling the traps now. Chanelle Molina is the hub at the elbow, hitting jumpers and passing for easy layups. And Konawaena is still missing the Victor sisters (injuries). Ihi (concussion) is a key post player, but they’re getting by so far tonight.

End Q3: Riverdale 38, Konawaena 35
This feels a little bit like last night’s Farrington-‘Iolani boys game. Farrington didn’t play crisp or consistently until the final minutes, just hanging around closely enough to make a run. Konawaena seemed to tire just a bit late in the third, but recovered. Staying in that 2-3 zone has been a good idea for the Wildcats.

Q4: Konawaena 42, Riverdale 39, 6:21
Mikayla Tablit’s corner 3 gave the ‘Cats a 40-38 lead, and another Chanelle Molina elbow jumper has them up 42-39 with 6 minutes left. Whatever the outcome of this game, they’ve proven they belong in the national rankings. Way UP in the rankings.

Q4: Konawaena 46, Riverdale 41, :49
Sisterhood works. Cherilyn drives, feeds Chanelle for a layup and the Wildcats are up 5.

FINAL: Konawaena 49, Riverdale 41
Free throws by Cherilyn Molina and Chanelle Molina close out the biggest win against a mainland opponent in school history. And probably state history, too.

‘Iolani Classic
Friday’s scores

Semifinal: Konawaena 49, Riverdale Baptist (Md.) 41
> K—Chanelle Molina 22, Cherilyn Molina 7. RB—Lena Niang 16, Janice Ladson 9, Zion Campbell 9.
Semifinal: St. Mary’s (Calif.) 82, ‘Iolani 44
> SM—Carlissa Shipp 17, Kat Tudor 17, Aquira DeCosta 13, Naje’ Murray 9. I—Camy Aguinaldo 7.
Consolation: Miramonte (Calif.) 74, Shenzhen (China) 62
> M—Sabrina Inoescu 33, Keana Delos Santos 19, Clair Steele 9. S—Jiana Li 21, Qianqian Wu 9, Liqi Wei 9.
Consolation: Roosevelt 57, Kalani 14
> R—Starr Rivera 16, Keala Quinlan 16. K—Andrea Ching 7.


  1. George Kaeo December 13, 2014 1:23 pm

    one of the best high school varsity girls basketball game I’ve seen. what a win for this program, players, and coaches. first time at iolani in over 20 years and the place has changed. the lower gymnasium not what I used to remember the old gym as but this place could pass as a college athletic campus.

  2. Paul Honda December 14, 2014 12:48 am

    Yes, George, and also, thank God for the air-conditioning in that gym!

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