Kamehameha completes girls basketball D-I state-tourney field

Kamehameha coach Pua Straight (kneeling) chats with her team during a game at Punahou on Jan. 3. The Warriors began ILH play 1-5, but have now qualified for the state championships. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser

Was it the upset of the. season?

Perhaps. No. 8 Kamehameha’s 44-39 victory over No. 2 Maryknoll on Wednesday night sealed a state-tournament berth for the Warriors. Doing it on the Spartans’ court, even more stunning.

But a surprise? Coach Pua Straight and staff have been diligently working on their young roster since day one. All the offseason workouts accelerated their growth, but it wasn’t easy to find tangible results. Preseason wins over Konawaena and Waiakea were tempered by losses to Lahainaluna and Campbell. Then, the ILH gauntlet and a 1-5 start.

This week, depth has been a big advantage for the Warriors in wins over Damien, ‘Iolani and Maryknoll. Senior Kya Kanoho has been huge with 17 points against ‘Iolani and 14 against Maryknoll. With that at Maryknoll, Kamehameha completes the 12-team field in the upcoming Heide & Cook/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships.

D-I state qualifiers
ILH: ‘Iolani, Kamehameha
OIA: Campbell*, Moanalua, Kaiser, Radford, Kahuku, Kailua
MIL; Lahainaluna*, Maui
BIIF: Konawaena*, Waiakea

The Division I state championships tip off on Monday at regional sites. League champions (seeded teams) begin on Wednesday.

The D-II state tourney has no regionals. All games will be at the Afook-Chinen Hilo Civic Auditorium from Wednesday to Saturday. The lone remaining puka will be filled by Mid-Pacific or Sacred Hearts, who meet on Friday at Damien gym for the last berth.

D-II state qualifiers
ILH: Hawaii Baptist*, Hanalani. Mid-Pacific vs. Sacred Hearts on Friday for third berth.
OIA: Pearl City*, Castle, McKinley
KIF: Kapaa*
MIL: Lanai*, Molokai
BIIF: Kamehameha-Hawaii*, Honokaa, Hawaii Prep

* League champion


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