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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, May 21, 2001

'Aiea, Kalaheo girls vying for first state basketball championship

By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer

'Aiea will get another shot at Kalaheo.

And this time the stakes will be higher.

'Aiea and Kalaheo will play tonight in the first all-O'ahu Interscholastic Association girls state basketball final since the tournament began in 1977. Tip-off is set for 7 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The only OIA team to win a state title was Kahuku in 1983.

Second-seeded Kalaheo (15-0) advanced to the championship by defeating Waimea, 65-14, in the quarterfinals, and third-seeded Honoka'a, 64-52, in the semifinals.

Unseeded 'Aiea (13-1), which will be making its first championship game appearance, defeated fourth-seeded Baldwin, 54-46, and top-seeded Punahou, 63-54.

On May 16, Brandy Richardson scored a career-high 41 points as Kalaheo defeated 'Aiea, 67-51, in the OIA championship at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"We need to do similar things," Kalaheo coach Chico Furtado said. "You can't expect Brandy to have the same monster game — 41 points — this time."

Said 'Aiea coach Fran Villarmia-Kahawai: "After what happened the last time we played them, we want to play them again because we didn't play our best game."

Kalaheo will be playing in its third final in four years.

Richardson, the two-time state player of the year, has been a member of each team.

"She's accomplished so much as a high school basketball player," Furtado said. "One thing that's eluded her is a state title."

Richardson, a 5-foot-10 senior who has signed with UC Santa Barbara, has scored 46 points in Kalaheo's two tournament victories.

Heather Gonsalves, a 6-2 senior, needs to have a good game down low to draw defenders away from Richardson.

Kalaheo has beaten Na Ali'i in the OIA Tournament in all three of Villarmia-Kahawai's seasons at 'Aiea.

Na Ali'i will be led by Aritta Lane, who has scored 54 points in 'Aiea's two tournament victories. Lane, who is 5-11, has signed with Fresno State for next season.

"She has the most athletic ability of anyone I've ever seen," Villarmia-Kahawai said.

'Aiea has arguably the state's best twin tower combination in Lane and 6-1 Keesha Aldridge. Another key player is 5-1 point guard Kylee Nakamura, who will need to penetrate, get the ball into the post and hit shots from the perimeter.

All three players are seniors and have been members of 'Aiea's varsity team since their sophomore years.

Today's winner will end a 14-year title reign by the private-school Interscholastic League of Honolulu.

"I think it says a lot," Villarmia-Kahawai said of having two OIA teams in the final. "All these years the ILH has dominated girls basketball. Each season people didn't think the OIA could win."

Said Furtado: "If I don't win a title, I'd like the OIA to win it. But I'd like that OIA team to be Kalaheo."