HILO — Hawaii Preparatory Academy senior guard Tiana Bertelmann-Tabac scored just four points, and didn’t play much against Keaau in the opening game of the Waiakea girls preseason basketball tournament.
Despite not being 100 percent, she was glad to be back in HPA’s 48-37 win over the Cougars on Thursday at the Warriors Gym.
Bertelmann-Tabac underwent ACL surgery on her right knee shortly before the Big Island Interscholastic Federation playoffs last season, and a young Ka Makani team missed her veteran presence.
HPA reached the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II state tournament seven years in a row from 2006 to ’12. Last season, four Ka Makani players were promoted from junior varsity and couldn’t compensate for Bertelmann-Tabac’s absence.
She gauged her knee at 85 percent, but had no trouble running the floor, and finding passing lanes to dish out four assists, several to senior forward Tiana Reynolds, who had 17 points and a double-double with 11 rebounds.
“The knee feels good. It’s getting stronger,” Bertelmann-Tabac said. “I’m a sports person. I can’t stand sitting out. I need to do something. It was hard for me watching from the bench last year.”
For the most part, HPA had good ball movement, which led to entry passes in the paint to Anna Juan and Ula Brostek. Both either outmuscled or outmaneuvered the smaller Cougars for 15 and eight points, respectively.
Taylor Pocock led the Cougars with 24 points, knocking down four 3-pointers.
The 5-foot-5 point guard emptied her gas tank playing both ends of the floor. She crashed the glass and grabbed a team-high seven boards, often running the fast-break, but only to find a gallery of hustling defenders waiting.
Every time Pocock probed a seam for dribble-drive penetration HPA’s man-to-man defense quickly collapsed, forcing her to hoist a shot or restart the half-court offense.
Sophomore guard Aina Padasdao added seven points for the Cougars. She and Pocock combined for 84 percent of the offense; Pocock accounted for 65 percent of the points. That’s lopsided scoring balance.
But a more hair-pulling number was the Cougars’ missed free throws. They went 13 of 30 at the stripe for 43 percent.
“We looked OK,” Keaau coach Mark Pocock said. “A couple of weeks ago we had a few girls touch the basketball for the first time. We’re inexperienced. From last year’s team, out of the four returning players, we’ve only got two back (Taylor Pocock and Jasmine Segobia).
“We’re a work-in-progress. We’re going to be working on our free throws at practice.”
HPA plays Waimea at 3 p.m. today, and Keaau takes on Mililani at 4:30 p.m. in the following game at the three-day tourney.
Keaau 6 9 6 16 — 37
HPA 13 12 7 16 — 48
Hilo 65, Maui 41: Alexis Pana and Shalyn Guthier each scored 12 points to power the Vikings, who finished runner-up in Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I last season.
Jordyn Vega led the Division I Sabers with 11 points.
Maui 11 6 17 7 —41
Hilo 13 20 20 12—65
Waiakea 50, Waimea 34: Kaydee Rapozo and Shaila Apele scored 12 points apiece as the BIIF Division I Warriors pulled away in the third quarter.
Jenaiah Banasihan and Tianalee Apilado paced the Menehune, a Kauai Interscholastic Federation Division II team, with eight points each.
Waimea 2 15 3 14 — 34
Waiakea 9 9 16 16 —50
Mililani 69, Kamehameha 26-Hawaii: Jarika Dacuyuy scored 15 points and Shantel Appleby added 14 for the Division I Trojans of the Oahu Interscholastic Association.
Casey Poe posted 11 points for the Warriors, the two-time defending Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II champion.
Kamehameha-HI 6 11 5 4 —26
Mililani 25 19 17 8 —69