Leverage can be everything in the quest for a state title, especially when the starting point is in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu.
No. 5 Kamehameha made sure of it on Friday night with a 53-41 win over No. 3 Maryknoll on the Spartans’ home court. The Warriors (14-5 overall) sealed second place with the tiebreaker win, earning a first-round bye in the upcoming playoff tournament.
“That bye is big. In the ILH tournament, the first two rounds are back-to-back (days),” Kamehameha coach Pua Straight said. “We were all clawing to get that second (seed).”
Kalina Obrey led Kamehameha with 18 points. She was active on the post and off the drive from the perimeter, and the Warriors had, perhaps, their most efficient offensive effort of the season.
“We try to get her posting up in transition. That’s the best time to get good looks before she has three girls on her,” Straight said. “
Jalen Tanuvasa finished with 23 points for Maryknoll (20-4), the only D-I team in the ILH without a single senior on the roster.
Maryknoll eschewed its fullcourt press for most of the way. Kamehameha led 21-18 with two shots at the line when officials tagged Spartans coach Chico Furtado with a technical foul. That didn’t have a bearing on the game, though. Malie Marfil’s runner from the right corner stretched Kamehameha’s lead to 28-22 with 1 second left in the first half.
“We were working really hard. Our focus is on energy, but also execution. We can’t rely only on transition, We had some spots, for the last three minutes of the second quarter, but we’re getting there,” Straight noted. “Our message has been we have to come out strong in the third quarter. We usually finish strong.”
The visitors inched away bit by bit, widening the lead through the second half. Alize Pratt swished three free throws to open the lead to 37-28 with 2:38 to go in the third quarter. Moments later, Kaylee-Brooke Manuel hustled for a follow shot and the Warriors led by 11.
Maryknoll’s offense struggled against Kamehameha’s tight man defense, and Obrey hit two foul shots, then scored on a pass from Esther Naum to open the lead 43-29 with 5:57 remaining. Maryknoll got no closer than 13 the rest of the way.
Tanuvasa was scoreless in the first quarter and limited to two points in the third stanza as Kamehameha concentrated a lot of energy and personnel on her.
“We had Emily to pick her up to start, and she picked up two fouls, and then we had Malie on her. She has some length,” Straight said. “We were trying to help, pack it in because (Tanuvasa) is an awesome player.”