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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 18, 2006

La Pietra rallies to gain D-II semifinals

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

In an amazing turn of events, third-seeded La Pietra rallied from a 15-point third-quarter deficit to stun 'Aiea in a quarterfinal of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Division II Girls Basketball State Championships last night before an enthusiastic crowd at McKinley's gym.

La Pietra will play in tonight's 8 o'clock semifinal against Kamehameha-Hawai'i.

The Lady Panthers (13-1) trailed 30-15 at one point in the third quarter and were behind 34-21 entering the fourth period before outscoring Na Ali'i, 19-2. They took the lead with 2:05 left when Ashanti Shih hit a free throw to make it 37-36. It was La Pietra's first lead since 2:10 in the first quarter.

Na Ali'i (9-6) had been in a scoring drought for about four minutes, starting late in the third quarter, before Capri Holiona's shot momentarily held off La Pietra at 36-31. But it was the only score for 'Aiea in the fourth quarter.

"Our girls like to size up our opponent before settling in," La Pietra coach Anthony Czaja said. "It took us a while. That's the personality of our team."

Forward Courtney Gaddis led La Pietra with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

"We've been in this situation before in the championship game against Punahou," Gaddis said. "It was nerve-racking. We had to make sure we cut down on our turnovers."

La Pietra was without forward Megan Berardy, who injured her ankle in practice on Monday, so there was some concern about filling the void, Gaddis said.

Holiona and Natasha Helsham each had 10 points for 'Aiea.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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