The last time the top-ranked ‘Iolani Raiders played an opponent with this much clout, they dismantled Konawaena.
After ‘Iolani crushed the Wildcats 54-26 on Nov. 14, Konawaena went on to win its next seven games, notching wins over five Top 10 teams. This time, the Raiders took Kamehameha for a similar ride, dominating on both ends of the hardwood in a 53-26 thrashing at Kekuhaupio Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
Lily Wahinekapu poured in 21 points and added three assists, three steals and three rebounds for ‘Iolani (9-0), which improved to 2-0 in ILH girls basketball play. The Raiders shot a stellar 56 percent from the field (20-for-36) against a rugged Kamehameha man-to-man defense that had not permitted more than 31 points in a game in its nonconference victories. In their one loss coming into the league opener, they fell to Konawaena 44-43.
Raiders coach Dean Young exhaled after the game.
“It’s the ILH. The most important thing is just understanding their personnel. What each player on their team wants to do when she has the ball. Who we need to help on, who we need to close out hard on, who we need to really keep off the glass, which we didn’t do a good job of, I thought,” Young said.
Kyra Tanabe finished with 12 points and three steals, and Jovi Lefotu tallied eight points and six boards.
“They played really well on both offense and defense,” Warriors coach Pua Straight said. “Our movement offensively wasn’t good and we were holding the ball too long. We weren’t able to get into any flow. A loss can be helpful. We’re going to play them three more times.”
Malie Marfil led the Warriors with 10 points in their ILH regular-season opener. As a team, the Warriors shot 20 percent (9-for-44) against ‘Iolani’s strategic defense. Marfil faced multiple defenders from start to finish and never got a clean lane to the rim.
“With Marfil, you’ve got to make her work for everything. She’s so explosive,” Young noted.
Center Lagi Sua-Godinet finished with six points and four rebounds, shooting 1-for-7 from the field against ‘Iolani’s physical post defenders.
“I’ll take that,” Young said.
Kylie Yung, Alexsandra Huntimer and Alexis Huntimer took turns battling the strong Warrior senior in the paint.
It was a calculated risk by the Raiders, who used a similar, modified pack line defense against Konawaena. Kamehameha had its opportunities, but shot 0-for-16 from the 3-point arc. The Raiders also outrebounded the Warriors 29-24.
“We’ve just got to flush it,” said Marfil, who signed with Alaska Anchorage last month. “We were just missing our shots.”
Despite a relatively cold-shooting first quarter, Kamehameha was within 12-9. The visiting Raiders then locked down on the Warriors during an 18-2 run, scoring off four turnovers. Lefotu scored six points in a row to spark the charge. Her old-fashioned three-point play on a strong left-handed drive opened the lead to 21-11. On the next possession, she stole the ball and pulled up on the left wing for an uncontested 3, all net.
After her older sister, Wahinekapu, forced another Kamehameha turnover and scored, the Raiders led 26-11 with 3:55 left in the first half. Alexis Huntimer, the defensive whiz, splashed a straightaway 3 with 48 seconds left, pushing the lead to 30-11.
Huntimer finished with seven assists, a steal and block to go with her lone bucket.
Kamehameha will get one practice in on Wednesday before taking on Mater Dei (Calif.) in the ‘Iolani Classic on Thursday.
“We didn’t put it together well,” said point guard Haley Masaki. “We can grow stronger and learn from this.”
For a second game in a row, the Raiders thrived on attacking a tight man defense.
“A little similar to Punahou, I think. They hug our shooters, maybe, more than normal, so we had to attack the lane, get to the rim,” Young said.
Kamehameha shot 8-for-16 (50 percent) at the free-throw line. ‘Iolani finished 10-for-14 (71 percent).