Konawaena’s state-title streak ends after 4 in a row

Konawaena coach Bobbie Awa, middle, hugged 'Iolani coach Dean Young after the Raiders' win in the D-I state semifinals. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

There was no doubt in Bobbie Awa’s mind that her Konawaena squad could beat top-seeded ‘Iolani.

The semifinal battle in the Snapple/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships began as a potential runaway when ‘Iolani opened a 9-2 lead.

The Wildcats settled in and rallied for a 15-14 lead that stuck for more than three minutes in the second quarter. Then, slowly and surely, it unraveled. The Raiders used fullcourt pressure to break the game open in the third quarter en route to a 43-22 win, ending Konawaena’s streak of four-consecutive state titles.

Konawaena’s roster is one of the youngest in the state with three juniors, including returning All-State Fab 15 forward Caiyle Kaupu, three sophomores and six freshmen. The Wildcats entered the tournament as the BIIF runner-up with a No. 8 ranking in the Star-Advertiser Top 10. After ousting Leilehua 61-41 on Monday and OIA champion Kahuku 46-42 on Thursday, the ‘Cats had great momentum.

Awa doesn’t find any consolation in knowing that her entire team returns next season. They once won a state title with three starting freshmen. Youth, she said, does not matter.

“We believe we’ll win every year. I don’t want to sound like we’re not very humble, but if we don’t believe it, I can’t coach that way,” said Awa, who guided the program to nine state crowns in the past 15 years.

Konawaena (13-5) got nine points and 14 rebounds from Kaupu, but it was a night of struggle. The Wildcats had far more turnovers (21) than field goals made (eight). The Raiders were taller and longer at every position but the post, where Kaupu battled for position, but faced double teams, and that’s only when the entry passes connected.

‘Iolani’s versatility, switching on the high screens that make Konawaena’s motion offense so effective, was consistent. The ‘Cats tired in the third quarter, and to Awa’s chagrin, didn’t execute their pressbreaker.

“Where’s our cutter, our flasher? They didn’t press us more,” Awa said of the third quarter.

The Wildcats were understandably disappointed after the loss. The last time any program won four straight titles was 1990-93 when Al Apo guided the Kamehameha Warriors. For the Wildcats, there tears.

“It’s a good sign,” Awa said. “They’ll work a little harder in the offseason. They’ll learn to create more contact and make the referees blow the whistle. What did we shoot, six or seven free throws?”

Konawaena was 5-for-6 at the foul line. The Wildcats will play OIA runner-up Kalani in the third-place game on Saturday.

“I hope we turn it around tomorrow,” Awa said of the early afternoon game. “I can’t even remember the last time we played at 1 o’clock.”

HHSAA D-I State Tournament

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1Feb. 4Konawaena vs. LeilehuaKona, 61-41Konawaena
2Feb. 4Maui vs. KaiserMaui, 55-44Maui
3Feb. 4Radford vs. KalaniKaln, 70-43Kalani
4Feb. 4Kamehameha vs. MililaniKSK, 41-17Kamehameha
5Feb. 7(1) 'Iolani vs. MauiIol, 67-32Moanalua
6Feb. 7(4) Kahuku vs. KonawaenaKona, 46-42Moanalua
7Feb. 7(2) Waiakea vs. KalaniKaln, 73-57McKinley
8Feb. 7(3) Lahainaluna vs. KamehamehaKSK, 47-30McKinley
9*Feb. 8Maui vs. KahukuKah, 60-19Stan Sheriff Center
10*Feb. 8Waiakea vs. LahainalunaWaik, 60-54Stan Sheriff Center
11Feb. 8Kalani vs. KamehamehaKSK, 62-49Stan Sheriff Center
12Feb. 8'Iolani vs. KonawaenaIol, 43-22Stan Sheriff Center
13*Feb. 9Kahuku vs. WaiakeaWaik, 56-53Stan Sheriff Center
14*Feb. 9Kalani vs. KonawaenaKona, 52-44Stan Sheriff Center
15Feb. 9Kamehameha vs. 'IolaniIol, 52-49Stan Sheriff Center
* — consolation

HHSAA D-II State Tournament

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1Feb. 6Farrington vs. St. FrancisFar, 41-35Damien
2Feb. 6Waimea vs. WaipahuWaim, 59-48Damien
3Feb. 6Ka'u vs. UniversityULS, 54-40Kalani
4Feb. 6Hanalani vs. KS-HawaiiHan, 44-28Kalani
5*Feb. 7St. Francis vs. WaipahuWaip, 39-36Damien
6*Feb. 7Ka'u vs. KS-HawaiiKau, 46-35Kalani
7Feb. 7(1) Hawaii Baptist vs. FarringtonHBA, 50-29Damien
8Feb. 7(4) Hawaii Prep vs. WaimeaWaim, 53-14Damien
9Feb. 7(2) Seabury Hall vs. UniversitySH, 62-53Kalani
10Feb. 7(3) Castle vs. HanalaniHan, 63-50Kalani
11*Feb. 8Waipahu vs. KauWaip, 52-38Stan Sheriff Center
12*Feb. 8University vs. CastleULS, 52-49Kalani
13*Feb. 8Farrington vs. Hawaii PrepHPA, 47-38Kalani
14Feb. 8Seabury Hall vs. HanalaniSH, 55-43Damien
15Feb. 8Hawaii Baptist vs. WaimeaHBA, 56-47Damien
16*Feb. 9University vs. Hawaii PrepULS, 37-29Stan Sheriff Center
17*Feb. 9Hanalani vs. WaimeaWaim, 72-60Stan Sheriff Center
18Feb. 9Seabury Hall vs. Hawaii BaptistHBA, 43-39Stan Sheriff Center
* — consolation


  1. M.T. February 9, 2019 1:59 pm

    Kona and Bobbie Awa win a lot since Coach Awa doesn’t waste her time on Instagram like the Waiakea coach. She studies and applies. The Waiakea coach hashtags and posts too much. His IG game weak. #outwork

  2. JoAnn K. Perry (Nana/Aunty JoAnn) February 10, 2019 8:26 am

    Love our Coach Bobbie, love our girls, love our families, love our awesome supporters & love our ‘Cats! We have been blessed and continue to receive blessingsgalore! Take care, we’ll see you folks next year!

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