The four-time defending champion Konawaena Wildcats are back in the big dance.
Sophomore Grace Lyn Hing scored 16 points and senior Caiyle Kaupu added 11 as No. 7 Konawaena edged No. 8 Hilo 37-33 on Friday night at Col. Ellison Onizuka Gym.
Host Konawaena (11-3 overall) will meet No. 6 Waiakea (19-4 overall) on Saturday for the Big Island Interscholastic Federation crown.
When they met during the regular season, the Wildcats rallied for a 46-44 win over the Vikings. This time, Hing stepped up while the visitors limited freshman standout Kaliana Salazar-Harrell to three points.
Keirstyn Agonias led Hilo (12-5) with seven points.
With only two Division I state-tournament berths for the BIIF, Hilo’s season came to an end.
In the other semifinal, Waiakea overwhelmed Kealakehe 76-15. Kelsie Imai scored 18 points and Zaelynn Lui-Cabinatan added 11 for the Warriors.
Less than two weeks ago, Waiakea stunned Konawaena 54-25 in regular-season play at the Warriors’ gym.
Konawaena has won nine of the last 15 D-I state championships.