Kamehameha-Hawaii didn’t win it this year, but they continue to make a major mark in state D-II girls basketball.
In the 12 years since classification began, the Warriors won the D-II title four times (2005, ’07, 12’ and ’13). And they’ve also been runner-up three times and they won the third-place game (51-40 over University) on Friday, the first time they participated in that contest.
Had it not been for a buzzsaw called Hawaii Baptist, which defeated the Warriors 53-40 in the semifinals on Thursday, KS-Hawaii may have had another title shot.
The determination KS-Hawaii has shown all these years was displayed on the court Thursday, especially in the fourth quarter by Riana Arima. She made steals, grabbed rebounds and fired up 10 of her team-high 13 points in the final period, but the closest the Warriors could get was eight points — 45-37 — with 3:47 to go.
“I wish we came out with intensity in the first quarter,” Arima said that night. “They put a lot of ball pressure on our guards and that made it hard for us to score. We also could have blocked them out a lot better. This is my senior year and I really wanted to get to the final.”
Makamae Gabriel took the baton for the Warriors in Friday’s third-place win with 26 points. She also had nine points on Thursday.
When asked after the semifinal game about Friday’s title match, Kamehameha-Hawaii coach Weston Willard expected defending champion Honokaa vs. undefeated Hawaii Baptist to be an “excellent matchup.”
He turned out to be right.
In addition, after Thursday’s game, HBA’s Rylie Wada believed in the ILH champion Eagles’ chances for Friday night: “I think we can do it. Everyone on our team is a threat and can shoot outside and drive.”
It was close, but the Dragons beat the Eagles by two, 33-31.