Lola Donez, Olivia Malafu spark Team Red to Jamboree title

Team Red, coached by Mandy Llamedo and assisted by Mana Hopkins, won the title at the 30th Annual Mufi Hannemann Jamboree. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser (Feb. 19, 2024)

From near and far, many of Hawaii’s finest girls basketball players arrived at lower gym of ‘Iolani School on Monday morning.
When the day was done at the Mufi Hannemann Jamboree, Lahainaluna senior Lola Donez was a 3-point champion and a key contributor for tournament team champion Team Red.
The 3-point contest had a head-to-head format that whittled down a dozen or so shooters. In a one-minute time frame, the gunners went to each of five spots to score. After that, each competitor had one shot from half court for a bonus of 10 points.
In the semifinals, Pua Herrington of Waiakea had a 12-8 lead on Donez. The Lady Luna then rattled in a halfcourt shot that banked, caromed off the front of the rim, touched the glass again and fell through the hoop. Herrington missed her halfcourt shot, preventing what would’ve been an all-Waiakea final.
Donez edged Waiakea senior Jolie Mantz in the final, 11-8, as Mantz’s halfcourt shot barely missed. For good measure, Donez, a Cal signee, then swished her halfcourt shot to end the competition.
Two hours later, Team Red, coached by Mandy Llamedo, hung on to beat Team Green, 50-46, in the tournament final. Team Red was in sync with Kapaa forward Olivia Malafu, Kamehameha center Kamaka Fonoti and Donez leading the way.
The field of six teams were super loaded with 10 to 13 players each for the 30th edition of the event.
Centers like Mele Sake and Nihoa Dunn held their own against a field comprised mostly of guards and forwards. Sake and Dunn reached the quarterfinal round.
“I was just hoping to have some fun. Move the ball, but also get my shots. I made second round (of the 3-point contest),” the 6-foot-1 senior said. “I like that we get to play with different girls and having opportunities to play. It was kind of cold in here today.”
Junior guard Makelah Richardson of Roosevelt relished the competitive, friendly atmosphere.
“The environment. Coming out and seeing the girls just having fun. Playing with people who are going to make you better. Everybody’s having fun, but we still have that competitive side,” Richardson said.
It was one last high school basketball experience for Kahuku senior Elisa Holakeituai.
“I feel sad, but I got to play with girls from other schools and getting to know them better,” she said.
Former ‘Iolani standouts Lily Wahinekapu and Jovi Lefotu started the day with a message, noting that they made lifetime friendships with many of the Jamboree participants.
Konawaena center Tavina Harris was a spark plug for Team Green, which did not lose until the final.
“I like that we get to play with people, talented girls that you don’t play with during the season. You play against them, so getting the chance to play with them is fun. You learn a lot,” Harris said.
Her playing career as a high schooler isn’t quite over.
“I’m going to play with Mufi (and Team Aloha) one last time. He’s taking seniors this year. I’ll decide where I’m going to go (in college) from there,” Harris said. “Thank you to all my Konawaena people. Coach Bobbie and Dawnyelle (Awa), everybody who helped me in Kona, thank you guys.”


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