Punahou knocks off Iolani, 50-43, in ILH
|Punahou vs. Iolani photo gallery|
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
Three-time defending Interscholastic League of Honolulu girls basketball champion Punahou is not ready to hand over its trophy just yet.
The visiting Buffanblu denied Iolani the title last night with a stunning 50-43 victory over the Raiders before a Senior Night crowd of about 700. The teams each ended up 8-2 and tied for first place in the regular season, and they will meet again in a winner-take-all playoff at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at Saint Louis' McCabe Gym.
Tomorrow's winner not only captures the ILH title but also secures an automatic state tournament berth and avoids the league's postseason tournament.
"Before the game, we told each other we've got nothing to lose, so just give it your all," said Punahou sophomore post Shawna Kuehu, who finished with a game-high 20 points and three steals. "We had a really good warm-up, and our practices this week have been awesome."
The Buffanblu also found the balanced scoring they had been looking for all season. In a loss to Kamehameha last week, Kuehu and twin sister Shaena combined to score all 31 of the team's points.
Last night, they combined for 30, but five other players contributed a collective 20 points. It began early, with Ciana Aiwohi swishing two 3-pointers in the first period and Sophie Merrifield adding a pair of short baskets to help Punahou jump out to a 14-7 lead.
The Buffanblu stretched the lead to 27-17 by halftime, getting valuable points from Elizabeth Abe and Melanie Feldman.
"We knew they were going to come out just as hard as us, and they executed," Iolani coach Glenn Takara said. "They hit their open shots, and they worked their game plan to a T."
The Raiders got eight points from post Keilyn Fujioka in the third period to close to 35-33 entering the fourth, and they grabbed their first lead at 38-37 two minutes into the final quarter on another layup by Fujioka.
Hennasea Tokumura's free throws with 4:14 remaining put Iolani up, 40-37, but Punahou responded with a 13-3 run to end the game and force the playoff.
"When they made their run, coach (Mike Taylor) said if we want to win, we have to go out and get it," Shawna Kuehu said.
PUNAHOU (8-2) 14 13 8 15 — 50
IOLANI (8-2) 7 10 16 10 — 43
PUNAHOU — Ciana Aiwohi 6, Elizabeth Abe 3, Melanie Feldman 4, Shawna Kuehu 20, Mahina Macfarlane 0, Shaena Kuehu 10, Janelle Nomura 2, Sophie Merrifield 5, Devon Yamauchi 0. Totals 18 11-12 50.
IOLANI — Kaz Masutani 0, Hennasea Tokumura 8, Alana Matayoshi 2, Chanel Hirata 0, Marci Kang 0, Alana Wall 7, Jamie Smith 10, Meilin Akamu 0, Sarah Turgeon 0, Keilyn Fujioka 16, Megan Burton 0. Totals 16 8-15 43.
3-point goals—Punahou 3 (Aiwohi 2, Abe); Iolani 3 (Wall 2, Tokumura).
PUNAHOU 51, IOLANI 28
Taila Autele scored 13 points as the visiting Buffanblu raced to a 21-11 halftime lead in beating the Raiders in an ILH Division II game.
The win keeps Punahou (11-1) in a three-way tie for first place with La Pietra and St. Francis. La Pietra drew a bye in the playoff and will play the winner of Punahou and St. Francis.
PUNAHOU (11-1) 6 15 16 14—51
IOLANI (4-8) 2 9 6 11—28
PUNAHOU—Megan Akamine 0, Aubrie Lau 4, Carly Wachi 3, Taila Autele 13, Kaliko Fernandez 2, Sarah Aratani 0, Erin Moon 3, Kelsie Gomes 3, Fransina Savusa 4, Jessica Letoto 2, Erin Nagata 0, Pomai Stone 4, Yuree Nam 7, Brooke Ehrman 0, Arielle Daniels 6. Totals 20 11-22 51.
IOLANI—Samantha Wong 2, Elisa Asato 2, Alison Nishiyama 0, Patricia Carlile 0, Amanda Maehara 6, Tori Chun 3, Christine Farmer 2, Chelsey Keola 11, Marissa Ma 2. Totals 9 10-12 28.
3-point goals—Punahou 0. Iolani 0.
Reported by Stu Matsunami
Reach Wes Nakama at email@example.com.