Makenzie Alapai’s 17/16 double-double powers No. 5 Kamehameha over Damien

Guard Kylee Kamauoha-Phillips and forward Makenzie Alapai combined for 34 points as No. 5 Kamehameha defeated Damien 55-38 on Wednesday. Paul Honda/

Not one, not two, not three or four.

Five injuries hit the Kamehameha Warriors starting in the offseason and through preseason. Somehow, coach Pua Straight and her squad are making the best of it.

The Warriors overpowered another depleted team, Division II powerhouse Damien, 55-38, on Wednesday night at the Lady Monarchs gym. Each team suited up just seven players, but the Warriors have been in ironwoman mode. Makenzie Alapai, a freshman, had 17 points and 16 rebounds to ignite Kamehameha, which also got 17 points and three 3-pointers from senior guard Kylee Kamauoha-Phillips.

Kamehameha’s urgency on the glass was a big edge. The Warriors outrebounded Damien 41-25. Twenty of those 41 caroms were on the offensive board.

“I usually think of it as getting rebounds will help my team. If I’m not helping on offense or I’m not doing anything, I will go for the ball on the shot,” Alapai said.

Kamauoha-Phillips made an impact two years ago as a sophomore who was often a blur on the hardwood. Now, she’s a senior combo guard who is crucial in Kamehameha’s halfcourt execution as a playmaker — and long-range shooter.

“I like to drive a lot, but I have to learn other positions like shooting (guard) so I can open up lanes for myself and open up opportunities for my teammates to score,” she said.

No matter how the Warriors execute offensively, they literally take pride in their defense and rebounding.

“We have a rebounding drill called “pride.” You’ve got to take pride on defense, box out, get the rebound and score out of defense,” Kamauoha-Phillips said. “Every practice. The loser runs.”

“That’s also one of our motivations for rebounding, the running after practice. No one wants to do that,” Alapai added.

Kamehameha led 14-8 after one quarter, then outscored Damien 13-2 to begin the second quarter. The Warriors left with a 55-38 exhibition win on Wednesday. Paul Honda/
Damien coach Mark Arquero chats with his team during a first-quarter time out. Down to seven players, the Lady Monarchs lost to No. 5-ranked Kamehameha, 55-38, in an exhibition matchup. Paul Honda/

Damien played with a lineup of guards and wings. Two post players, both starters, will return to the team soon. That didn’t stop the Lady Monarchs from hustling, even when Kamehameha went on big runs in the second and third quarters.

“I feel terrible. We could’ve done better,” junior guard Theresa Anakalea said.

Tiare Arquero led Damien (3-1) with 13 points. Akaecia Mateo had nine points and seven boards, and Anakalea had eight points and seven caroms. The Warriors, playing man-to-man in halfcourt defense, kept a defender glued to the high-scoring Anakalea all game long. The Warriors also utilized fullcourt pressure occasionally, forcing 21 turnovers by the home team.

“Definitely, our passes can be better, and on defense, helpside we need more talking,” she said. “We’ll get better and learn from it.”

Kamehameha was set to play Sacred Hearts on Thursday, but the game was cancelled. Damien had a matchup with ‘Iolani earlier in the week that was also scratched. The surge in COVID-19 numbers locally has made an impact, but teams remain vigilant about protocols at preseason games. There were no spectators at Wednesday’s game.

“We don’t play until we play ‘Iolani on the 11th (of January),” Kamehameha coach Pua Straight said.

With an open week in early January, there may be more exhibition games. The OIA is continuing with its game schedule, which tipped off last Thursday and continued on Tuesday.

“The gap is new. We’ll see what our administration thinks about us getting more games,” Straight said. “Since we have such a young group, we’re trying to get in as much games as we can so we can get comfortable.”

The extra workouts for Kamehameha, which hadn’t played a game since Dec. 11, are a blessing in disguise.

“We haven’t had much time to practice, so today we actually had a two-hour practice and then a game. We had things that we need to put in and are continuing on our offense and our sets,” coach Straight said. “They’re a little bit tired.”


  1. really December 29, 2021 10:31 pm

    What are you talking about? Made an impact? Kaumaoha-Phillips did not play much during her sophomore season. She registered several DNP’s. How do you make an impact when you are the 9th-11th person on the bench. I am mot saying she isn’t good now. But we are talking 2 seasons ago. She got some playing time later in the ILH season, but not that much prior to that. During that season KS started 4 guards, Masaki, Naum, Feary, and Marfil. The first guard off the bench was Mangalao. They surrounded the guards around Sua-Godinet. They usually just rotated those 5 at guard. After Lagi tore her ACL right before the ILH playoffs and KS wasn’t winning too much, Coach Straight went deeper into her bench and Kaumaoha-Phillips and Dela Vega started to play more.

    And hasn’t played a game since December 11? Kamehameha has played Maui 2 times; Torrance High from California; and HBA on the 21st. All of these games were played after December 11.

    You can go on their Athletics Youtube. All the games are there with the dates to verify.

  2. Falcon Future December 30, 2021 10:36 am

    Thanks again @really. It’s funny that we get more truthful information in these comments section than in the article at the top.

  3. Falcon Future December 30, 2021 10:48 am

    I have a question continuing from comments in the other story. Is the coach with initials DY seriously the one being talked about as he is back coaching youth girls?

    Regardless of the legal proceedings or final rulings, that is not right to have him coaching girls again. The things he did were documented and disgusting. Unforgiveable. JMO.

  4. Wow December 30, 2021 1:57 pm

    Way to be negative. Ever ask yourself why the player hasn’t played since December 11th. Hmm could it be because the player sustained a head injury. Yes you’re right, Seniors took priority during that season and other players weren’t afforded much game time until other team injuries or foul trouble opened up more opportunities for other teammates to play. Kamauoha-Phillips speed was seen as a “set back” for the team as well.
    There’s a lot of details general public aren’t aware of including the “politics” that can get sometime get in the way. Everyone has their opinions but wow given that athletes have been robbed of their seasons due to this virus with not that much chances to play, might be nice just to let these players enjoy the moment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email