Now that Nanakuli has got a taste of a state championship, it seems it can’t get enough.
The Golden Hawks, who won last year’s Division II softball championship for their first state title since a bowling crown in 1987, look to be serious contenders in OIA Red girls basketball. It’s early, but Nanakuli is tied with OIA champion Leilehua for first place. The Golden Hawks have never won the OIA.
Nanakuli hasn’t risen to such heights by beating up the weaker sisters of the OIA. The Golden Hawks opened the season with a 60-37 thumping of Kapolei and followed it up with a 44-35 win over Waianae and a 41-36 win over Radford. All three of those teams were over .500 last season, when Nanakuli finished 6-4 but finished fifth in the West ahead of Radford on a tiebreaker but was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by Moanalua, 49-43.
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Nanakuli is led by Alexis and Precious Paulo-Meyers, who teamed with Keanani Chai to bring the state softball title about. Alexis Paulo-Meyers leads the way with 11 points per game followed by Precious with 10.7. Angelica Chun-Fook is the third option at eight points per game but hasn’t played since the opener. Chai, Tianna Hanohano and Natalia Kapua have scored in every game.
As impressive as they have been, the Golden Hawks have a little bit of trouble looming on Wednesday. Nanakuli visits undefeated Mililani and its obscene 58-point margin of victory in their first two contests including 13.5 points against per game. Stopping Mililani’s Sarah Liva might be too much to ask. Nanakuli held Waianae’s Mahina Chong to 10 points this season but allowed Radford’s Jasmine Moody to score 20.
Mililani throttled Nanakuli 78-43 last year. And now they have Liva, who was at Hanalani last year.
As far as pure scoring, it is Liva and Leilehua’s Tywanna Abbott and everyone else. Liva has put up 19.5 points per game against two weak opponents to lead the west while Abbott has earned an 18.7 mark in three games.
OIA Red West leading scorers
Sarah Liva, Mililani, 19.5
Tywanna Abbott, Leilehua, 18.7
Mich’lae Higa, Aiea, 16.3
Jasmine Moody, Radford, 16
Mahina Chong, Waianae, 15.7
Shantel Appleby, Mililani, 12.5
Krystle Aceret, Waipahu, 12.0
Jayde Libby, Waipahu, 11.6
Alexis Meyers, Nanakuli, 11.0
Mikaela Limper, Mililani, 11.0
Liva’s nearly 20 ppg has come in limited minutes as Mililani emptied the bench in blowouts of Waialua and Waipahu. Still she outscored the Bulldogs 18-6 and tied the Marauders with 21 points. While the top two have been consistent, those behind them have been spectacular. Jayde Libby of Waipahu has the high game of the year in the West with 27 in a loss to Waianae. Mich’lae Higa of Aiea is the only other player to score more than 21 points, putting 25 on Campbell in the season opener.