Konawaena tops Lahainaluna, 47-33
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
After a sluggish start, Konawaena rallied past Lahainaluna, 47-33, yesterday to advance to its fourth straight Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball Championship semifinals.
The Wildcats (14-2) will face No. 1 seed and Interscholastic League of Honolulu champ Punahou (10-2) tonight in a rematch of last year's thrilling double-overtime title game. Tipoff is set for 8 at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Konawaena, the Big Island Interscholastic Federation runner-up, had a near-perfect performance in Tuesday's 60-38 first-round victory over Kalaheo, but it was a different story yesterday. The No. 4 seed and Maui Interscholastic League champion Lunas (13-3) jumped to leads of 11-2 and 14-5 thanks in large part to seven turnovers by Konawaena.
"We felt the only way we could keep up with Konawaena was to extend ourselves and put pressure on them from the beginning," Lahainaluna coach Todd Rickard said. "We couldn't just sit back and let them drive on us at will."
It was a stark contrast from the night before, when the Wildcats shot 60 percent from the field in the first half.
"We were so happy from last night, we felt like nothing could go wrong," said Konawaena junior Jazzmin Awa-Williams. "But you can't lighten up in this tournament, because the opponents get stronger every night."
The Wildcats regrouped in the second period and took their first lead at 20-19 after Liana Hanato-Smith's 3-pointer with 21 seconds remaining, then ended the third quarter with an 8-2 run to lead 35-27 going into the fourth.
The Lunas cut it to 35-30, but Konawaena outscored Lahainaluna 12-3 to close the game.
Awa-Williams had 23 points, 11 rebounds and four steals. She made all 11 of her foul shots.
"Jazzmin stepped it up, and we had a nice second quarter," Wildcats coach Bobbie Awa said. "We had hoped things would go the same as last night, but we started out bad. Lahainaluna did an excellent job, and we had trouble breaking their press."
Reach Wes Nakama at email@example.com.