Kaliana Salazar-Harrell scored 23 points, including five 3-pointers, as Konawaena escaped with a 40-37 win over King Kekaulike on Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Snapple/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships in Division I.
“It was very sloppy, so we’re very glad we came out with the win,” Salazar-Harrell said.
Second-seeded Konawaena (22-3) will meet OIA champion and third seed Kahuku in the semifinals tonight. Kahuku eliminated Maryknoll 43-27 in the other semifinal at Kalani’s Earl C. Holmer Gymnasium.
Freshman Ledjan Pahukoa led MIL runner-up King Kekaulike (17-5) with 15 points. Namahana Kaeo-Young added nine.
Salazar-Harrell’s fifth 3-pointer gave Konawaena a 38-35 lead with 1:55 remaining. Pahukoa’s layup cut the lead to one point with 1:41 to go, but Salazar-Harrell sank two foul shots with :25.8 left for a 40-37 Wildcats lead.
After a steal by Julianna Losalio-Watson, Salazar-Harrell went back to the line, but missed the front of a one-and-one with 15 seconds left. Na Alii guard TC Pahukoa missed a straightaway 3 and Kaeo-Young missed a point-blank putback.
Losalio-Watson went to the line with 5.6 seconds remaining, but missed the 1-and-1. King Kekaulike called time out at midcourt with 1.9 seconds left. Cailyn Ukida’s 3-point try missed at the buzzer.
“The best thing is we came out with the ‘W’,” Konawaena coach Bobbie Awa said. “King Kekaulike played great. They packed the house (key) and took away our inside game.”
Konawaena endured despite foul trouble for its best inside scorer and defender, Caiyle Kaupu. She picked up her third and fourth fouls in a 15-second span and sat down with 4:56 to play in the third quarter.
The Wildcats went on a 7-0 run, getting a 3 from Salazar-Harrell.
Rather than live and die by the 3-point shot, Konawaena worked patiently against King Kekaulike’s 2-3 matchup zone.
“Jacking up 3s, we weren’t hitting a lot, so we went inside to get easier buckets because settling for 3s won’t work out for us,” Salazar-Harrell said.
Awa praised her young Wildcats, including Losalio-Watson and Jayla Medeiros.
“Julianna had a great game,” she said of the sophomore. “She had deflections, boards and she played great defense. Jayla’s layup was big. She gave us good minutes when Caiyle was on the bench.”
Though they played well enough to beat the dangerous Na Alii, Konawaena needs Kaupu on the court for the matchup with Kahuku.
“We miss her rebounds and we really need her against the bigs, to get easy buckets,” Salazar-Harrell said.
The long-range bombs of King Kekaulike, a torrid, streaky 3-point shooting team in MIL play, was no surprise. Pahukoa hit one shot from NBA range and another from just outside the halfcourt circle. All net.
“We practiced making our defense wider so they wouldn’t shoot so far. We knew they could hit shots,” Salazar-Harrell added.
The sophomore called it one of the toughest wins of the Wildcats’ season.
“It was very ugly for us. We had a lot of turnovers, a lot of missed layups. It just wasn’t that pretty,” she said.
The last time Konawaena matched up with Kahuku, the Wildcats splashed 11 3-pointers in a win at the ‘Iolani Classic.
“We have little, smaller girls and we can dribble. They have pretty big girls and they also can shoot. We have to get up on them,” Salazar-Harrell said. “We’ve got to focus on boxing out and getting our boards, and also getting defensive boards so they don’t get second shots.”
HHSAA Division I Tournament
|1||Feb. 3||Moanalua vs. Kaiser||Moan, 34-28||Moanalua|
|2||Feb. 3||Waiakea vs. Mililani||Waik, 55-42||Waiakea|
|3||Feb. 3||Radford vs. King Kekaulike||KK, 61-35||King Kekaulike|
|4||Feb. 3||Maryknoll vs. Kalani||Mryk, 59-42||Maryknoll|
|5||Feb. 6||(1) 'Iolani vs. Moanalua||Iol, 65-31||Moanalua|
|6||Feb. 6||(4) Lahainaluna vs. Waiakea||Waik, 37-26||Moanalua|
|7||Feb. 6||(2) Konawaena vs. King Kekaulike||Kona, 40-37||Kalani|
|8||Feb. 6||(3) Kahuku vs. Maryknoll||Kah, 43-27||Kalani|
|9*||Feb. 7||King Kekaulike vs. Maryknoll||Mryk, 69-40||Blaisdell Arena|
|10*||Feb. 7||Moanalua vs. Lahainaluna||Lah, 52-39||Blaisdell Arena|
|11||Feb. 7||Konawaena vs. Kahuku||Kona, 56-39||Blaisdell Arena|
|12||Feb. 7||'Iolani vs. Waiakea||Iol, 57-44||Blaisdell Arena|
|13*||Feb. 8||Maryknoll vs. Lahainaluna||Mryk, 50-38||Blaisdell Arena|
|14*||Feb. 8||Kahuku vs. Waiakea||Waik, 56-44||Blaisdell Arena|
|15||Feb. 8||Konawaena vs. 'Iolani||Iol, 55-46||Blaisdell Arena|
|* — consolation|