The championship game of the OC-16/HHSAA Girls Basketball Division I State Championships is 27 minutes away. Defending champion Konawaena will face ILH champion Maryknoll. It’s the old guard against the new school. The cagey veterans against the army-platoon deep women of Sparta.
Maryknoll, guided by Chico Furtado, has not won a state title in girls basketball since 1977 and ’78 when Russell Dung was head coach.
Konawaena, the No. 1 seed and 24-1 this season, has won six of the last 12 HHSAA state titles. Like Konawaena, Maryknoll is a mid-sized school. If there’s a dynasty emerging in the ILH, it looks to be the program at Maryknoll.
I’m looking for Maryknoll to push the tempo when possible. Furtado loves to go 10 deep and that, in theory, could wear down a Konawaena team that doesn’t go more than seven deep. Compounding that point is the ankle injury of returning all-state player of the year Chanelle Molina. She’s played well despite being less than 100 percent. It’s Konawaena’s immensely high basketball IQ and execution against Maryknoll’s youth and full-tilt fastbreak game.
I’ve polled almost everyone on press row tonight and no one has picked Maryknoll to win so far.
The Wildcats are running the same sets that were so successful in this tournament, including that modified flex play and that double high screen (elevator). Golden State ran the elevator quite a bit in recent years with success. Konawaena led 8-3 after a straightaway 3 by Ihi Victor, but the Spartans have pulled within 12-11 after a transition corner 3 by Chayse Milne. Knockout swings early. Love it.
TV time out, 2:30.
Maryknoll had just four players on the floor out of the time out and Chanelle Molina got free for a low-post shot and was fouled. Hits the second and its 13-11.
Furtado rolls his subs in. Depth. Length. Maryknoll has those aspects. Freshman Kamalu Kamakawiwo‘ole (5-foot-9) and Ysabelle Halemano in, and veteran Lindsey Lee.
Victor to Chanelle Molina on an inbounds lob and easy 5-foot J. 15-11.
Opening quarter ends with Konawaena ahead 15-11.
Wildcats switch from man to a 1-2-2 zone, possibly to protect from fouls, but Maryknoll goes on a 9-0 run. Kodee Viena with a corner 3 on a drive and dish by Lindsey Lee, and Milne scores on a pass from Alexis Delovio to give the Spartans the lead. Then Delovio cuts and scores on a pass from Lee, and Delovio drives for another layup and it’s 20-15.
Mikayla Tablit hits a foul-line runner to cut the lead to three. TV time out with 2:46 left before the half. Maryknoll 20-17.
That zone surprised the Spartans and they handled it well with Lee on the floor recognizing the defense. Delovio not settling for perimeter shots. She’s driving hard and forcing the issue. Smart move.
Wildcats still patient offensively. Celena Jane Molina with a pass from the low post to Victor on the elbow for a 16-foot J. Kona cuts it to 20-19. Time out, Maryknoll, 1:39.
Milne drives from near midcourt all the way to the rim uncontested for an easy deuce. 22-19.
Chanelle Molina with the backdoor pass to sister Celena Jane Molina and it’s 22-21.
Milne’s 23-foot attempt rattles in and out at the buzzer. Halftime, Maryknoll leads Konawaena 22-21.
HALF: The Wildcats played only five in the first half while the Spartans used eight players. Chanelle Molina has seven points and three assists with two turnovers. Milne has seven points while Omori and Viena each have five for Maryknoll.
Konawaena took 15 shots without a turnover in the opening quarter, then had just six field-goal attempts with three turnovers in the second quarter. Fatigue? It might explain why Coach Bobbie Awa went to that 1-2-2 zone.
The Wildcats have a 14-10 edge on the boards, but have taken just two foul shots (1-for-2). Maryknoll is 3-for-4 at the line. FG: Konawaena 9-for-21, Maryknoll 8-for-19, including 3-for-7 from the arc. Konawaena is 2-for-5 from deep.
See-sawing back and forth early in the third. Viena splashed another corner 3, but Konawaena went on a 7-0 run to take a 28-25 lead. Chanelle Molina with a sharp drive from the wing for an and-1 play, and then hustled downcourt to follow Cherilyn Molina’s fastbreak layup miss.
Omori scores on a drive through the middle. TV time out with 2:24 left. Konawaena 28, Maryknoll 27. Instant Classic?
Delovio misses a hanging bank shot and Kona pushes the other way. Cherilyn Molina pass to Chanelle Molina, 10-foot bank shot and it’s 30-27. Maryknoll holding the ball in the last 2 minutes of the quarter. Furtado playing it safe for the last shot, but Cherilyn Molina takes the ball away from Milne. Can’t dribble in front of her without making a move.
Cherilyn Molina and Tablit miss shots in the final 10 seconds as the quarter comes to a close. Konawaena leads 30-27.
Foul situation: each team has 3 in this half.
Chanelle Molina gambles with a trap on the top, but Viena passes to Kamakawiwo‘ole for a layup over the outstretched hand of Victor. 30-29.
Cherilyn Molina misses a tough lefty jump hook in the post, Maryknoll ball. Omori slips and is on her knees, Furtado quickly calls time out with 6:47 left.
Omori open look from the left wing, misses the 3. Milne chases down the rebound (no pun intended), misses her corner 3. Foul on MS, Kona ball.
Spartan fans all over the officials for a foul call on Isabella Cravens on a block against Cherilyn Molina. She hits the second shot, Kona up 31-29, 5:13.
Awa irate over a push off by a Maryknoll ballhandler. Kamakawiwo‘ole misses a baseline runner, foul on Maryknoll on the rebound. Kona ball 4:24.
Victor to Chanelle Molina, elbow J is good, Kona 33-29.
Right back go the Spartans, Kamakawiwo‘ole hits a wing 3 in transition, all net. Time out Maryknoll, Kona leads 33-32 with 3:15 left. What a game!
Chanelle Molina nearly knocked off balance, no call. Not sure about this crew tonight. Allowing too much contact on both ends. She’s fouled a second later, hits both shots on a 1-and-1. Kona 35-32, 2:28.
Milne drives hard and misses down the middle, runs over a Wildcat, no call. She rebounds, misses. Delovio rebounds point-blank shot, misses. Kona rebound. Cherilyn Molina 1-and-1. Makes the first and second, 37-32.
Then Omori races downcourt and hits a layup, fouled, misses the FT. 37-34, 1:07.
Cherilyn Molina fouled, hits one of two, 38-34, :50.
Viena rushes a wing 3 and misses. Chanelle Molina fouled, hits two FTs with :40 left. Kona leads 40-34. Time out Maryknoll, :33.8.
Cherilyn Molina hits two more FTs, 42-34, :16.2.
Chanelle Molina steal, hits two FTs, :00.6.
FINAL: Konawaena 44, Maryknoll 34.