An hour after watching his girls basketball team win the first state championship in the 20-year history of Hanalani as an HHSAA-member school, Royals coach Charles Hiers had to make a pit stop after leaving Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium.
“I’m buying some steaks to take back and cook up for the team,” Hiers said when reached by phone. “Can I call you back?”
The interview could wait. A well-deserved meal of the best red meat Hiers could find late on a Saturday night in Hilo was in order for the Royals, who took down Mid-Pacific 40-37 in the Division II final of the Snapple/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships.
Sophomore Lishae Scanlan, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, had 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks and made two free throws down the stretch to help the Royals close the game on a 7-3 run to win the title.
“We thank the Lord that we could represent our Christian school in Mililani and all of our parents and families of our team,” Hiers said. “It was a dogfight back and forth. We had some key defensive stops and some key defensive rebounds for being a young team and some timely free throws.”
Unseeded after finishing a game behind undefeated Mid-Pacific in the regular season, the Royals needed a last-second, and-1 layup by freshman Faith Mersburg to beat KIF champion Waimea in the quarterfinals.
A 10-point win over Hawaii Baptist got Hanalani into an all-ILH final as the league took home the title for the fourth time in the past five years.
The Royals lost 45-42 to MPI in the regular season but were careful with the ball in the rematch. Hanalani (12-1) turned it over only five times while forcing 17 turnovers by the Owls (11-1).
“We kept it simple and we were just trying to work some clock and protect the ball,” Hiers said. “Our theme for the week was be disciplined. Be disciplined in our emotions, be disciplined on defense and be disciplined with your job on offense.
Maria Ralar had 10 points for Hanalani and Tatem Foster finished with six points and 11 rebounds.
The Owls led 34-33 with four minutes remaining when Jacie Nava’s jumper gave Hanalani a 35-34 lead. MPI was held without a point until a meaningless 3 by Madisyn Sagawa as time expired.
Hiers said he kept the team over by his bench in the final seconds, allowing Mid-Pacific an open shot knowing the game was over.
“This was a great team win from top to bottom,” he said.
Sagawa finished 6-for-18 from the field and scored a game-high 15 points. Paige Fahrni added six points and 12 rebounds for the Owls, who last won the D-II state title in 2017.
Hanalani earned the win despite going 0-for-8 from the 3-point line and 12-for-26 from the free-throw line.
Mid-Pacific outrebounded Hanalani 42-33.
Mersburg made the all-tournament team for the Royals, as did Sagawa and Fahrni from the Owls.
As he headed back to where the team was staying, Hiers knew his day wasn’t done quite yet.
“No relaxing for me,” he said. “I still gotta cook (the steaks).”
HHSAA Division II Tournament
|1||Feb. 5||McKinley vs. Damien||DMS, 37-25||Hilo Civic|
|2||Feb. 5||Hanalani vs. Campbell||Han, 64-29||Hilo Civic|
|3||Feb. 5||Farrington vs. Lanai||Far, 44-36||Hilo Civic|
|4||Feb. 5||Hawaii Prep vs. Hawaii Baptist||HBA, 54-16||Hilo Civic|
|5*||Feb. 6||McKinley vs. Lanai||Lan, 46-32||Hilo Civic|
|6||Feb. 6||(3) Waimea vs. Hanalani||Han, 63-60||Hilo Civic|
|7||Feb. 6||(1) Mid-Pacific vs. Damien||MPI, 59-41||Hilo Civic|
|8||Feb. 6||(2) Seabury Hall vs. Hawaii Baptist||HBA, 50-37||Hilo Civic|
|9||Feb. 6||(4) KS-Hawaii vs. Farrington||KSH, 51-37||Hilo Civic|
|10*||Feb. 7||Campbell vs. Hawaii Prep||Camp, 44-12||Hilo Civic|
|11*||Feb. 7||Waimea vs. Seabury Hall||SH, 62-42||Hilo Civic|
|12*||Feb. 7||Damien vs. Farrington||DMS, 51-47||Hilo Civic|
|13||Feb. 7||Hanalani vs. Hawaii Baptist||Han, 52-42||Hilo Civic|
|14||Feb. 7||Mid-Pacific vs. KS-Hawaii||MPI, 32-28||Hilo Civic|
|15*||Feb. 8||Lanai vs. Campbell||Lan, 49-40||Hilo Civic|
|16*||Feb. 8||Seabury Hall vs. Damien||SH, 53-30||Hilo Civic|
|17*||Feb. 8||Hawaii Baptist vs. KS-Hawaii||HBA, 37-29||Hilo Civic|
|18||Feb. 8||Hanalani vs. Mid-Pacific||Han, 40-37||Hilo Civic|
|* — consolation|