They battled to the very end.
The Junior Rainbows of University Lab School rarely had a long stretch of pure ease this season. What they did every time they were down was get right back up. Moments after a 63-52 loss to Castle in the opening round of the Snapple/HHSAA Girls Basketball Division II State Championships, senior center Ti Posiulai was as grateful as she was spent.
“It’s sad we didn’t go further, but we were willing to fight to get here,” the 5-foot-11, two-sport standout said. “That was a big accomplishment in itself.
Posiulai worked in the trenches against double and triple teams to finis with 14 points and 16 rebounds. She was 5-for-9 from the field and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line, adding one block. Five of her boards were on the offensive end as the Jr. ‘Bows stayed in range.
“We didn’t give up. In the first half, we were down a lot,” Posiulai said. “They kept stealing the ball, but it didn’t stop us from coming back.
Trailing 18-5, ULS scored seven points in a row, getting a 3 from Lily Awai and a layup by Posiulai on a feed from Tia Akasaki (nine points, seven assists, four steals). Just when it seemed like the Jr. ‘Bows were going to make it a tight game, Castle came up with a flurry of steals and opened the lead to 28-17 by intermission.
Down 36-22 in the third quarter, Tyra Goo Sun got hot from the ionosphere. The Jr. ‘Bows got within 52-44 with 4:45 to play, but that was the closest they got. Even after getting into the double bonus late in the first quarter and late in the third quarter, UHS didn’t full capitalize.
In the end, they missed 19 free throws (15-for-34) and committed 25 turnovers. There just weren’t enough offensive rebounds — a whopping 18 — to cover that disparity.
Through the season, the Jr. ‘Bows never let a rough spell gain too much momentum. The longest losing streak was three games, and they won four of their last five games in league play to become the fourth and final team from the ILH to reach the D-II state tourney.