For the Kamehameha Warriors, it just wasn’t meant to be.
No. 5 Kamehameha needed a playoff win over No. 3 Maryknoll to keep its postseason hopes alive, but the Spartans scorched the nets for 13 3-pointers in a 69-54 win on Saturday afternoon. A loud senior-day crowd at Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium saw Maryknoll (16-6) take a giant step closer to an automatic state-tournament berth.
With the win, Maryknoll reaches the final of the ILH’s second-round tournament and will play the ‘Iolani-Punahou winner for the second-round title. If ‘Iolani vanquishes Punahou on Saturday afternoon, that means Maryknoll earns one of those two state berths. The 69-point output matched the Spartans’ previous ILH-season high, also against Kamehameha.
Kamehameha played without center Lagi Sua-Godinet, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Punahou on Jan. 14, coach Pua Straight said. The Warriors still battled and played well enough on both ends to win, but Maryknoll shot lights out: 13-for-23 from the arc for 57 percent.
“We hit 12 in the championship game at that Glendora tournament in California, so I know we’re capable, but I don’t think you ever count on hitting 13 3s,” Maryknoll coach Chico Furtado said. “That being said, (Kamehameha) did a good job. They kept us frantic a bunch. When we weren’t turning the ball over, we were getting good looks and hitting them.”
Maryknoll’s Mahalo Akaka finished with 20 points, four rebounds and four steals against Kamehameha. Each time the Warriors cut the lead from double digits to four or five points, Kyla Neumann answered in the second half. Neumann racked up with 17 points, hitting 5-for-6 from the arc. Akaka was 4-for-6 from deep. It wasn’t completely in Furtado’s comfort zone, but close enough. On one 3-point try in transition, he found himself running toward the corner of the gym after the shot splashed in.
“I want Kyla to take every open shot she has except when we’re running last shot (of a quarter),” he said. “Every time they cut the lead, she was there. Man, she can shoot it.”
Point guard Aloha Akaka finished with nine points, three boards, five assists and three steals to steady the boat.
“If we can manage not turning the ball over, especially under pressure, I think teams think we don’t have a quality point guard, we have to handle that as a group,” Furtado said.
Reserves were a major factor again for Maryknoll. Lilly Koki tallied eight points, going 4-for-5 from the foul line in the third quarter. Kira Kaopua spelled Aloha Akaka and provided key ballhandling against Kamehameha’s tenacious halfcourt and fullcourt pressure. Brandie Tobin had six assists and five rebounds off the bench to help the Spartans.
“Brandie gave us good energy and she needed to play big minutes because Serenity (Moananu) was in foul trouble,” Furtado said. “We’re trying to tell our bench, look, at some point in these big games we need something back in play off the bench. Kira, when she goes, she finds open shooters.”
Camille Feary led Kamehameha, which trailed 20-9 in the second quarter, with 16 points. Malie Marfil added 12 and Alize Pratt added 10. The Warriors forced Maryknoll into 20 turnovers, but committed 19 of their own. Maryknoll shot 11-for-19 from the free-throw line (58 percent), while Kamehameha was 15-for-28 (54 percent). The Warriors also shot 7-for-24 from 3 (29 percent).
The tears fell after the game as Kamehameha (13-12), which finished third during the regular season, recognized that their season was over.
“Maryknoll shot the ball well. We relied on our defensive energy. Our traps were good, but what deflates a defense are 3s and offensive rebounds,” Kamehameha coach Pua Straight said. “And our turnovers.”
Straight appreciated this group of Warriors and their senior leadership from the start.
“This group, especially after our trip (to California), they became one family. They play together so well, you could see how much they loved each other,” Straight said. “Their hearts. You could see their hearts.”
At Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium
Kamehameha (13-12) 9 12 18 15 — 54
Maryknoll (16-6) 15 16 21 17 — 69
KS: Maddison Mangalao 0, Malie Marfil 12, Kylee Kamauoha-Phillips 9, Haley Masaki 7, Camille Feary 16, Alize Pratt 10, Esther Naum 0, MacKenzie Dela Vega 0.
MS: Kira Kaopua 3, Lilly Koki 8, Mahea Choy Foo 0, Serenity Moananu 9, Jewels Furuto 0, Aloha Akaka 9, Taimane Faleafine-Auwae 2, Mahalo Akaka 20, Brandie Tobin 2, Kyla Neumann 17.
3-point goals: KS 7 (Pratt 3, Masaki 2, Kamauoha-Phillips, Feary), MS 13 (Neumann 5, M. Akaka 4, Moananu 2, A. Akaka 2).