Kahuku is OIA girls basketball champion again, and the work won’t end.
The Lady Raiders did what they do best — crash the boards — en route to a 47-27 title-game win over Moanalua on Wednesday night at James Alegre Gymnasium. Five Lady Raiders hustled for at least five rebounds, and as a team they collected 19 offensive rebounds.
That nearly matched the 20 offensive caroms Kahuku grabbed in a semifinal win over Mililani. That night, Kahuku had a 45-20 edge on the glass. On Wednesday, it was 43-20.
“We executed well enough to get a win,” Kahuku coach Latoya Wily said. “We weren’t satisfied with the missed layups and shots in the paint, but we are happy to take another title home.”
Kahuku (17-7 overall) went unbeaten in OIA play, winning 14 games. The Lady Raiders did plenty enough with rebounding and defense. For roughly 16 minutes, they shut out Moanalua during a 26-0 run. That opened the lead to 36-7 late in the third period.
Moanalua’s 2-3 zone was at Kahuku’s mercy. Na Menehune opted to go without their fullcourt press, and Kahuku still had 19 turnovers. Moanalua’s chances took a hit, bit by bit, with each 3-point bomb by Kahuku’s Maya Claytor. She finished with 18 points, hitting 5-for-10 from deep.
Leiah Naeata, who led the charge on the boards with nine rebounds along with nine points and three steals, had four offensive hauls.
“I knew Maya was going to make her 3-pointers, but when she misses, that’s where I got my rebounds,” the junior said.
Kahuku has a bye in the opening round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA State Championships and will play next Thursday. Naeata doesn’t expect a break come Thursday.
“We’re probably going to have practice tomorrow, get ready for the tournament. We’re hungry as a team,” she said.
“We’l keep pushing hard at practice,” Claytor added. “No breaks.”
“These girls work their butts off every day in practice and they earned it,” Wily said. “As long as we are getting better every week, every season, we are happy. We are always proud of them.”