It wasn’t perfect, but the ‘Iolani Raiders will take it.
No. 1 ‘Iolani turned a six-point lead in the third quarter into a 59-36 runaway win over No. 6 Punahou on Saturday afternoon. With the Interscholastic League of Honolulu deep as it is, it’s a matter of survive and advance. ‘Iolani improved to 6-1 and remains atop the league’s Division I standings.
Taylor Wu, the relentless scoring machine, battled an illness and finished with 11 points. She was blanketed by Tara Kaneshiro and Melody Lum. Lily Lefotu Wahinekapu also scored 11 points, and for a stretch early in the game, the Raiders were humming like a machine.
The lead was up to 26-11 before the visitors rallied. The Buffanblu got within 28-22 on consecutive buckets in the paint by 6-foot-4 Tama Fonoti, but the Raiders scored three points in the final 2.7 seconds of the first half and went into the locker room leading by nine.
Punahou, one of the youngest teams in the ILH, cut the lead to 31-25 before Raiders took over. The fullcourt press wore down the speedy Buffanblu, and so did ‘Iolani’s nonstop motion offense. Kahai Kahalehoe fed Jovi Wahinekapu Lefotu for a layup and Wu drove for a layup to end the third quarter. Iolani led 40-28 and blew the game open with a 9-2 run to start the third quarter.
Sophomore Alexsandra Huntimer was especially active with six points, five rebounds, two assists and one block in the final quarter.
“Really, once we had our motion and got back to fundamentals in the fourth quarter, we had more success,” Raiders coach Dean Young said, I”t’s a lot easier to get looks. When you’re running five-out and all you do is dribble the whole time, it’s not working well, which was the third quarter. People moving, ball moving, open shots.
As a team, the Raiders shot just 7-for-23 (30 percent) from the arc against Punahou’s man defense. However, they were a very effective 14-for-23 inside the arc. They also kept the press on for much of the night, forcing Punahou into 16 turnovers. ‘Iolani may have been jet-lagged, but committed just six turnovers.
Alexis Huntimer and Jovi Lefotu chipped in with eight points each.
Punahou had four players with six points apiece, including Fonoti. Her playing time was limited, however.
“We would’ve loved to have Tama in there more, but it’s hard when ‘Iolani’s going five out,” Buffanblu coach Gary Pacarro said.