This was a fairly close game in the first quarter, but Chanelle Molina’s corner 3 sparked a big run that put the top-seeded Konawaena Wildcats ahead 22-10 during the second quarter.
The Buffanblu tried using the three-quarter press that they displayed against Farrington last night, but Konawaena handled it and got a layup. Konawaena is getting a huge game from PG Cherilyn Molina, and she fed sister Celena Jane Molina for a wing 3 with :02 left in the half. The Wildcats lead 27-16 at intermission
Suffocating man defense by the Wildcats. Instead of easing up with an 11-point lead, they’re turning up the heat, doubling on the low post, deflecting entry passes. But as they did to start the game, they’re missing layups.
Tyra Moe’s low-post bank shot cuts it to 29-20. Bobbie Awa calls time out with 4:54 to go.
Wildcats execute a patient, methodical set that produces a backdoor pass from Chanelle Molina to Victor for a layup. After a Punahou turnover, Chanelle Molina drills a 22-foot trey from the top. Time out, Punahou. Konawaena leads 34-20.
Va‘e Malufau with a nice post-up and bank shot to cut the lead to 12.
Wildcats secure couple of offensive boards and patiently work against Punahou’s man defense before Chanelle Molina drills a step-back baseline J to make it 36-22. Another missed layup on a drive by Konawaena, but they lead after three 36-22.
Wildcats get a nice hesitation move by Celena Jane Molina on a drive from the top to extend the lead to 16. Defensively, still in man, as always. Still working extremely hard on the low post, circling and causing Punahou’s passers to hesitate. Just two second-half fouls for Konawaena entering the final 8 minutes.
Another layup miss by Konawaena and I have to wonder if it’s just plain old fatigue. It’s a good problem for Konawaena, which is getting clean cuts and open layup attempts against one of the best man defensive units in the state.
Elle Uyeda drives hard from the wing and scores, but Celena Jane Molina finds Chanelle Molina on a backdoor cut on the baseline for a simple bounce pass and layup. Konawaena leads 40-24. TV time out with 3:23 left.
Buffanblu in foul mode now, two in the past 30 seconds. They had just three fouls with 3 minutes left.
Mikayla Tablit at the line, 1-and-1. Swishes the first. And the second, 42-24, 2:30.
Tablit back at the line with 2:24 left. Chanelle Molina checks out. She played almost the whole game, but didn’t really have to assert herself physically on the boards. She is at 75 percent (ankle) and just played her usual, incredibly cerebral game.
Sometimes I hear from people who are still surprised that Konawaena has endured over the years with so much consistency and success. But it’s not too surprising. Any program that has a feeder system that encourages year-round play, where the girls are expected to play with the boys from a young age on up through high school… how many programs do this?
A lot of powerful schools have basketball players who play multiple sports and the pressure to play everyone significant minutes is real. Not at Punahou, per se, but at Konawaena they rarely suit up 10 players. Several of the players do play another sport. But primarily, these are Kona Stingrays players. Like Lahainaluna with its Menehune program, Konawaena is one of the few basketball teams that can teach the same system to the same players from a young age on up to the prep level. It’s no surprise those two programs have kept pace and surpassed even the best ILH programs.
Victor still in the game with 1:27 left. She hits two FTs and it’s 47-26.