Stingy defense sparks No. 4 Maryknoll girls over No. 5 Punahou

Maryknoll’s Serenity Moananu (4) and Punahou’s Hannah Urbano (13) battled for a loose ball. Photo by Dennis Oda/Star-Advertiser.

Until Saturday, no team had Maryknoll’s number like Punahou.

The exception is No. 1 ‘Iolani, but Punahou had already beaten Maryknoll soundly at the Lady Spartans’ gym and won a nail-biter at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.

This time, No. 4 Maryknoll turned the tables with a 36-29 win road win over No. 5 Punahou on Saturday afternoon. The win boosted Maryknoll to 4-4 in ILH girls basketball play, solidifying the Spartans’ hold on second place. Punahou dropped to 2-6 in league play. With the league-leading Raiders coasting toward a first-place finish, a second-place showing means, at the very least, homecourt in the first round of the playoffs.

Aloha Akaka led Maryknoll (12-5 overall) with 11 points. Mahalo Akaka added eight points, and Lilly Koki had seven. Defense, that sticky 2-3 matchup zone, worked well for the visitors. Punahou shot just 1-for-15 from the 3-point arc in its gym. Spartans center Taimane Faleafine-Auwae patrolled the paint and blocked three shots.

“We just got our heads together,” Mahalo Akaka said.

“We came out stronger in the beginning and towards the end,” Aloha Akaka said.

“Defense, we came out strong,” Mahalo Akaka added. “I think Punahou came off to a bad start. They did good, but their shots weren’t falling.”

Taylor Hange scored nine points and Caitlyn Andrade-Tomimoto, who hit the game-winner against Maryknoll back on Dec. 9, added seven. Center Sia Liilii had six points, six rebounds and a block.

Punahou committed 17 turnovers against Maryknoll’s zone defense. Maryknoll had its moments, too, with 13 giveaways.

“We were able to finish. We guarded the 3-point line much better than last time,” coach Chico Furtado said. “Offensively, we did enough. We ran our pressbreaker differently for Punahou. They play in-your-shorts man (defense), so we’ve got to set that early screen for Aloha. The first two times, we’re not even in our spots.”

The visitors led 12-8 after one quarter and opened it to 19-10 following a drive to the bucket by Serenity Moananu. Furtado instructed his team to take the last shot of the first half, but Kyla Neumann missed a 3 with 17 seconds left and Punahou cashed in with a pass from Melody Lum to Andrade-Tomimoto, who sank the and-1 foul shot. The home team trailed 19-15 at intermission.

Neumann splashed an NBA-range wing 3 during a 9-2 run that stretched Maryknoll’s lead to 28-17 late in the third quarter.

A 24-foot trey by Hange brought Punahou within 32-27 with 1:22 left. In all, the Spartans combined to make five of their last eight tries at the free-throw line to ice the game.

The Spartans limited two Punahou scorers, Tati Burciaga-Reyes and Melody Lum, to a combined two points on 1-for-11 shooting.

Maryknoll meets top-ranked ‘Iolani on Tuesday.

“We’re going to dance,” Mahalo Akaka said. “We’re going to dance for our seniors. It’s going to be senior night.”

Punahou (11-7 overall) will visit Kamehameha on Tuesday.

At Hemmeter Fieldhouse
Maryknoll (12-5, 4-4) 12 7 9 8 — 36
Punahou (11-7, 2-6) 8 7 4 10 — 29
MS: Kira Kaopua 0, Lilly Koki 7, Mahea Choy Foo 1, Serenity Moananu 4, Aloha Akaka 11, Taimane Faleafine-Auwae 2, Mahalo Akaka 8, Brandie Tobin 0, Kyla Neumann 3.
PUN: Caitlyn Andrade-Tomimoto 7, Sia Liilii 6, Laynee Torres-Kahapea 0, Taylor Hange 9, Hannah Urbano 4, Tati Burciaga-Reyes 2, Tara Kaneshiro 0, Melody Lum 0, Tanea Loa 0, Lucky-Rose Williams 0, Shania Moananu 0, Chloe Kaahanui 1.
3-point goals—MS 3 (A. Akaka, M. Akaka, Neumann), PUN 1 (Urbano).


  1. Smarteepantz January 14, 2020 9:58 pm

    The very worst officiating, three grown officials being bullied by Maryknoll Coach Furtado who intimidates them with words and hand gestures. Thee ILH ask the coaches to coach, the player to play and the referee’s referee. This coach needs to stop bullying officials. Maryknoll was going to win nonetheless but I have never seen such rude, aggressive and overbearing conduct by a coach who is also a representative an role model for a school. Referees are to weak and need to step up and hold the Athletic director’s or schools accountability for coaches actions.

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