No. 1 seed Warriors use quickness to beat La Pietra, 55-41
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By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Kyle Sakamoto
A quick team running a "slow-motion" offense doesn't sound like a recipe for success.
But that's not the case for the Kamehameha-Hawai'i girls basketball team.
Leilani Galdones scored 20 points and the Warriors penetrated effectively out of a four-corners-like offense to beat La Pietra, 55-41, last night in the semifinals of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball Division II State Championships at McKinley.
"We wanted to draw them out and attack the basket," said Kamehameha-Hawai'i coach Kimo Miller, who said his team ran a "slow-motion" offense and not a stall. "We can't match them height-for-height, so the farther we can pull them from the basket the better off we'll be."
The Warriors, the defending Division II state champions, will face Kalani in the final tonight.
"It still feels like last year," said Galdones, who was 7 of 11 from the field and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line. "We're excited, but nervous for every game."
La Pietra (13-2), the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion and No. 3 seed, had 5-foot-10, 5-11 and 6-2 players in its starting lineup.
Kamehameha-Hawai'i (12-3) doesn't have any player taller than 5-8 on its roster.
"His style was to get our big girls on the perimeter and make them defend," La Pietra coach Anthony Czaja said.
Kamehameha-Hawai'i, the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion and No. 1 seed, got separation by outscoring La Pietra 11-4 in the second quarter for a 24-17 lead.
The Warriors took control with a 10-2 run for a 34-19 lead with 5:58 left in the third.
Galdones, Sierra Gacayan and Carissma Naki did most of the ball-handling for the Warriors near midcourt. They were often able to get past their defenders and either pull up for jumpers or dish to open teammates.
"My team has great ball-handlers," Miller said. "That's one of our strengths."
Jamie Mattos scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Kamehameha-Hawai'i.
The Warriors finished 18 of 38 from the field, and 12 of 15 from the free-throw line. They also forced 20 turnovers out of a 1-3-1 zone.
Tonight's matchup between Kamehameha-Hawai'i and Kalani will feature coaches who are familiar with each other.
"Darold Imanaka and I used to coach at Punahou," Miller said. "We have similar styles, we like to run, we like to press. It should be a good game."
Reach Kyle Sakamoto at email@example.com.