Punahou pounds Kahuku, 60-36
|State girls' basketball photo gallery|
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Leila Wai
One huge quarter was all Punahou needed to advance to the semifinals of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships.
The Buffanblu defeated Kahuku, 60-36, behind a 24-3 advantage in the second quarter last night at the University of Hawai'i's Stan Sheriff Center.
Sophomore forward Shawna-Lei Kuehu had 15 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals for Punahou (10-2), the defending state champion and top seed.
Kuehu had 12 points and senior forward Sophie Merrifield scored eight of her 10 points in the pivotal second period.
"Coach told us we just needed the determination to win," Kuehu said of the change in the second quarter. "To go all out."
The teams played it close the other three quarters — 11-11 in the first, with Punahou holding 12-10 and 13-12 advantages in the third and fourth, respectively.
But in the second quarter, Punahou shook off the rust after not playing for 11 days.
"We had been off for a while, but that's no excuse," Punahou coach Mike Taylor said. "We were rusty. I was watching during warm-ups. We couldn't hit the side of a barn."
He credited Punahou's strong bench play for sparking the team, which trailed 7-2 at the start.
"You need to have a good bench," said Taylor, whose reserves contributed 15 points and 10 rebounds. "We brought on some fresh legs. Once we got rolling, everyone gained confidence."
Those fresh legs also aided Punahou's high-pressure defense, which prevented Kahuku from making a field goal in the second quarter until senior guard Artevia Wily scored with 45 seconds left.
"We just couldn't take care of the ball," Kahuku senior forward Camilla Ah Hoy said. "We made too many turnovers, and they executed and we didn't. Some of our guards aren't used to the press. We don't usually see it in the OIA."
The Buffanblu shot 41.7 percent (20 of 48) to 30 percent (12 of 40) by the Red Raiders (12-6), the the O'ahu Interscholastic Association's third seed. Senior Christine Meredith led Kahuku with 12 points.
Ah Hoy, who led the Red Raiders with 16 points in a 50-40 victory over Mililani Tuesday, was given the unenviable task of guarding Kuehu.
"I got into foul trouble watching her," said Ah Hoy, who was held to seven points last night. "But I credit their defense, and we weren't running our offense. We just panicked."
Reach Leila Wai at email@example.com.