When telling his team how it could dig into an 11-point halftime deficit, Hawaii Prep coach Craig Kimura gave his team simple instructions in Kapaau.
“The halftime message was, ‘It starts with defense,’” Kimura said. “And they did exactly what we asked of them.”
Did they ever.
Ka Makani held Kohala scoreless in the third quarter before hitting some timely baskets in the final period to rally past the Cowgirls 34-29 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation girls basketball game in Kapaau.
Tiana Bertelmann-Tabac scored a team-high 19 points, going 7-for-14 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. She also grabbed nine rebounds.
But Bertelmann-Tabac, along with Veronica LeSuer-Hernandez, may have played a bigger role on the defensive end of the floor for HPA (2-0).
Kimura said the junior guards played a vital role in clogging the passing lanes and preventing Cowgirls senior point guard Sheana Cazimero from threading passes into the post and giving Kohala high-percentage shots.
“We made adjustments on our (man-to-man) defense and tightened up the gaps,” Kimura said.
Meanwhile, Kohala (0-2) went from a zone defense in the first half to a man defense in the second half, and Bertelmann-Tabac took advantage by driving the lane and getting to the basket.
Also, Kimura said, Ka Makani got a key putback from sophomore Anna Juan (12 rebounds) and a timely midrange jumper from LeSuer-Hernandez in the fourth quarter.
“Offensively, they went to a man, and we went to the rack,” Kimura said.
Freshman Naai Solomon-Lewis scored a team-high 15 points for Kohala.
HPA 8 3 11 12 — 34
Kohala 14 8 0 7 — 29
c Konawaena 66, Honokaa 36: Freshman forward Ihi Victor scored a game-high 19 points at Honokaa Armory for the two-time defending Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I champion Wildcats.
Senior forward Courtney Kaupu and freshman guard Chanelle Molina added 14 points apiece for Konawaena, which improved to 2-0.
Hunter Liftee paced the Division II Dragons (1-1) with 11 points.
Kona 20 14 19 13 — 66
Honokaa 6 8 12 10 — 36
c Hilo 57, Keaau 17: Sophomore Raevyn Kaupu scored 16 points, and freshman Shalyn Guthier added 13 at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium as the Vikings pulled away in the second quarter to improve to 2-0.
Maedina Ongais-Kilaulani led the Cougars (1-1) with six points.
In Hilo’s 54-4 JV victory, freshmen Cierra Kelii and Jennifer Caro led the way with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Keaau 5 5 3 4 — 17
Hilo 8 20 16 13 — 57
c Kamehameha-Hawaii 57, Waiakea 39: Sophomore guard Riana Arima led a balanced attack with 16 points for visiting Kamehameha, which improved to 2-0.
Junior forward Casey Poe added 15 points, and senior Namele Naipo-Arsiga had 12.
Senior forward Sefulu Faavae paced Waiakea (0-2) with a game-high 20 points.
In the JV game, Waiakea defeated Kamehameha 47-24 behind 20 points from Elyse Hasegawa and 17 from Mikaela Martinez. Kyla Aguiar and Alyssa Asuncion scored 10 and eight points, respectively, for Kamehameha.
KS-Hawaii 15 18 13 11 — 57
Waiakea 14 6 6 13 — 39
c Ka‘u 55, Pahoa 44: Shaylin Navarro scored a game-high 19 points and Denisha Navarro added 10 as the visiting Trojans evened their record at 1-1.
Ranchell Berinobis and Randi Berinobis each tallied 15 points for the Daggers (0-2).
Ka‘u 11 16 16 12 — 55
Pahoa 9 13 9 13 — 44
c Honokaa 62, Kohala 13: Junior forward Hunter Liftee scored a game-high 16 points in Kapaau for the Dragons, who led 23-0 after one quarter in the season opener for both teams.
Senior guard Keana Kaohimaunu added 14 points, and freshman point guard Kizzah Maltezo had 10.
Freshman Tezrah Antonio led the Cowgirls with four points.
In the JV game, Honokaa beat Kohala 52-31 behind Markell Marquez’s 16 points and Kayla Requelman’s 14 points.
Briana Harrison scored a team-high 14 points for Kohala.
Honokaa 23 13 14 12 — 62
Kohala 0 3 8 2 — 13
c Hilo 59, Kamehameha-Hawaii 58: Jodd Carter scored 17 points, including the go-ahead basket with 16 seconds left Saturday, as Hilo High came back to edge Kamehameha.
In a rematch of last season’s Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I basketball title game, the Warriors (1-1) got off to a fast start and led most of the way behind junior Micah Carter’s 17 points.
Jodd Carter, a junior, took over in the final minute, though, converting on a 3-point play with 44 seconds left.
Junior Austin Dante scored 13 points for the Vikings (1-0), and senior Jacob Genegabus added 10.
Senior Shaun Kagawa added 13 points for defending BIIF champion Kamehameha, which raced out to a 16-6 lead after the first quarter and led by six heading into the fourth.
Kamehameha 16 17 12 13 — 58
Hilo 6 15 19 19 — 59
c Kealakehe at Laupahoehoe: The home team of Laupahoehoe did not report a result.