(Here’s the extended version of yesterday morning’s game between Kaiser and Moanalua.)
Simon Bitanga is always a stickler for basics.
That’s why, even with a 40-36 road win over Moanalua, the second-year Kaiser head coach was not entirely impressed with his Cougars squad.
“We moved the ball pretty good on offense. We got the shots, but we’re still not finishing,” Bitanga said. “Defensively, we stepped it up with our big lineup, but on the offensive side, we missed some scoring.”
Meleana Adams finished with nine points and Kiana Nakai also scored nine. Versatile Darcey Goulsby, who transferred from Mililani in the offseason, finished with six points and six rebounds before fouling out.
“Darcey kind of doubles as a guard. To get her on the run, they had us in and-1 situations a lot. She’s a post who plays guard,” Moanalua coach Kristie Morikawa said.
Junior Cortney Phillips, a 6-foot-2 center, clogged the interior and had six boards off the bench, and Makana Borden added six points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
Kaiser outboarded the smaller Na Menehune 37-26. Twelve of Kaiser’s caroms were on the offensive glass.
Kaiser shot 37 percent from the field (15-for-41), 43 percent from the foul line (6-for-14) and committed 24 turnovers. The Cougars limited Moanalua to 26-percent accuracy from the field (14-for-53).
“We’re not playing smart basketball. We have to apply what we learn and it’ll be fun for us,” Bitanga added. “We can go with a fast lineup. We can match up with the biggest of them and the fastest of them.”
The Cougars improved to 2-0 in Oahu Interscholastic Association Red East play in what was a first for the league in recent memory. The game tipped off at roughly 11:45 a.m., which will be the norm for most Saturday games. The exceptions will be test dates and the playoffs, in all likelihood.
Kaiser (5-2 overall) was in Division II (White Conference) last year.
“It’s going to be a long journey. Division I is very competitive. It’s anybody’s game right now,” Bitanga said.
Moanalua slipped to 1-1 (2-3 overall).
“The good thing is it’s still very early. We’ll see (Kaiser) one more time. We saw some good things today. Roxy did some good things at point guard,” Morikawa said. “They fought back real hard.”
The Cougars made the early trip to Moanalua — the junior varsity game began at 10 a.m. — and came on strong after halftime. A 13-5 run to start the second half, triggered by Adams and Goulsby, turned a 19-17 game into a 32-22 lead.
Adams, a lefty, was especially strong against Moanalua’s man-to-man, on-ball pressure. She hit a free throw, a 3-pointer and consecutive layups during the decisive run. Goulsby was a catalyst on the fastbreak and in the halfcourt offense, feeding Adams for the corner trey and a breakaway layup.
Moanalua chipepd away and was within 34-30 after Shantaeus Ramos-Dias went coast to coast with 5:01 left.
After Kaiser’s Makana Borden hit two free throws, Goulsby picked up her fifth foul and left with 2:37 remaining. Jasmine Funtanilla swished a baseline jumper to bring Na Menehune within 36-32 with 2:28 to go, but they got no closer.
A steal and layup by Kiani Ka‘ahaina pushed the margin back to six points, and free throws by Ka‘ahaina and Adams gave the Cougars a 40-32 lead with 23.1 seconds left, icing the win.
Playing without post Jaidon Rego, Moanalua hustled for five offensive boards in the opening quarter, but had just four the rest of the game.
Ramos-Dias, who also goes by “Roxy,” led Moanalua (1-1) with 18 points, mostly on tough drives in traffic. She hit two treys, but Moanalua shot 4-for-19 from the arc against Kaiser’s 2-3 matchup zone.
Freshman Lachae McColor added six points.
Coaches throughout the league have cautioned that the shorter preseason would lead to an increase in injuries. Three Moanalua players have already suffered concussions in the first three weeks of the season. Among them is guard Joanna Nicolas, who finished with three points.
“Every morning, when I read scores, it’s real interesting. There’s some real parity going on,” Morikawa said.
Kaiser (2-0) 11 8 13 8 — 40
Moanalua (1-1) 11 6 9 10 — 36
Kaiser: Micaela Bitanga 2, Kristi Arellano 0, Kiani Ka‘ahaina 4, Kiana Nakai 9, Meleana Adams 9, Shelby Pa 2, Makana Borden 6, Darcey Goulsby 6, Cortney Phillips 0.
Moanalua: Lachae McColor 6, Kristy Tamashiro 3, Kiley Lau 0, Joanna Nicolas 3, Jasmine Funtailla 4, Isabelle Delgado 0, Shantaeus Ramos-Dias 18, Kelci Quinabo 0.
3-point goals: Kaiser 2 (Nakai, Adams), Moanalua 4 (Ramos-Dias 2, Tamashiro, Nicolas).
JV—Kaiser 44, Moanalua 35.
Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser