Kyra Tanabe connected on three treys and finished with 14 points as No. 1 ‘Iolani overwhelmed No. 10 Sacred Hearts 67-33 at Dorothy Macy Gymnasium on Monday night.
It was the regular-season opener in Interscholastic League of Honolulu play. Tanabe shot 5-for-6 from the field and picked two steals. As a team, the visiting Raiders had 14 steals, using their sticky man-to-man defense to stifle the home team from start to finish.
Lily Lefotu Wahinekapu added 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting and three steals for ‘Iolani, which was unbeaten in preseason. They continue to wreak havoc on defenses regardless of who’s on the floor.
“Eventually, if we’re in constant motion, someone will get an open look,” coach Dean Young said.
Alexis Huntimer added eight points while Alexsandra Huntimer and Kylie Yung chipped in six points each. ‘Iolani’s leading scorer in nonconference play, Taylor Wu, was relatively quiet with six points, but she added two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Though the Raiders lost point guard Tori Maeda to a knee injury, they steamrolled through nonconference play from the start. Wu scored 25 points in a win over Kahuku, then went on a recruiting trip to Cal Baptist. The Raiders didn’t skip a beat, toppling Lahainaluna by 14 and Kalani by 19 the next two games.
“What helped was when Taylor went on her trip and the underclassmen learned they can step up,” Young said.
On Monday night, the Raiders didn’t shoot exceptionally well from deep — 8-for-24 from the arc — but put together timely runs to keep the Lancers throttled.
“It was nice to see the other girls step up with scoring when Taylor and Lily weren’t going off,” Young added.
Te‘Hiwa Medeiros led Sacred Hearts with 10 points. Dallas Martinez finished with seven points and six rebounds, and Mahina Kanoa hustled for 10 rebounds to go with seven points.
SHA shot 30 percent from the field (10-for-33), including 1-for-8 from 3-point range. They committed 24 turnovers against ‘Iolani’s mix of extended defensive pressure. The Raiders had just eight giveaways.
The Lancers were within 20-13 midway through the second quarter when ‘Iolani made its move. The visitors connected on four 3-pointers against SHA’s man defense, and when Lefotu Wahinekapu hustled for a putback at the buzzer, the Raiders had completed a 14-4 run for a 34-17 halftime lead.
‘Iolani’s legs stayed fresh as Young rotated his personnel. After Kawai Kahalehoe hustled for an offensive carom and dribbled out to the right wing for a 3-point swish, the Raiders opened the lead to 46-20.
The Lancers went 7-1 in nonconference play, posting wins over Kahuku and defending Division II state finalist St. Francis. They tried to post-up with Martinez against an ‘Iolani squad that isn’t deep in the low post, but never got the ball to her consistently.
“I think our kids did a nice job of trying to stick to the game plan,” Lancers coach Richard Kasuya said. “I’m proud of the kids.”
Though the Lancers looked a step slower than they did early in preseason during the McKinley Black and Gold Classic, they never stopped working. Martinez hustled back on defense and kept pushing the ball up court to the final minute.
“Dallas never gives up,” Kasuya said. “If we had 10 of her, that would be great.”
‘Iolani opened the regular season as the No. 1 team in the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10, which was released earlier in the day.
“I’m not sure we’re deserving of No. 1,” Young said. “We don’t want to become complacent. It’s not offense that’ll hold us back. Defense is where we always need effort. Defense takes hard work.”
Next up for the Lancers is their Sacred Hearts Invitational, which tips off on Wednesday. SHA will play Radford at 5:30 p.m. After the tournament, they return to ILH play with a trip to No. 9 Punahou on Dec. 4. The Buffanblu girls are now coached by longtime D-II boys coach Gary Pacarro.
‘Iolani is also playing in the SHA Invitational and will meet Campbell on Thursday, 7 p.m. The Raiders’ next league game will be on Dec. 5 at No. 3 Maryknoll.
At Sacred Hearts
‘Iolani (1-0) 15 19 17 16 — 67
Sacred Hearts (0-1) 9 8 5 11 — 33
IOL—Kyra Tanabe 14, Lily Lefotu Wahinekapu 12, Alexis Huntimer 8, Alexsandra Huntimer 7, Kylie Yung 7, Taylor Wu 6, Jovi Lefotu 4, Peytyn Yee 4, Kawai Kahalehoe 3, Cameron Ann Nagaji 2.
SHA—Te‘Hiwa Medeiros 10, Dallas Martinez 7, Mahina Kanoa 7, Sade Mizusawa 5, Kailyn Kupau 4, Trinity Martin 0, Ryan Burnett 0, Destiny Carter 0, Shay Bonilla 0, Raena Ho 0, Anne Wong 0, Dannielle Aumua 0.
3-point goals—‘Iolani 8 (Tanabe 3, Alexis Huntimer 2, Yung, Lefotu, Kahalehoe), Sacred Hearts 1 (Martinez).