BIIF basketball playoffs: Honokaa defeats HPA in girls semifinals


KEAAU — Daphne Honma never wants Honokaa’s girls basketball team to stop pushing, but even this was getting extreme.

Midway through the fourth quarter and with the game well in hand, Honma had seen enough of No. 32 streaking toward the basket after three consecutive layups.

Honma needed a timeout. She was the only one who could slow down the Dragons’ Chancis Fernandez.

Fernandez scored 17 points Friday as the Dragons eased past Hawaii Preparatory Academy 64-29 in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II semifinals.

“She’s just a great athlete and she goes very hard and is very competitive,” Honma said. “You have to love what she brings.”

Seeking its first BIIF title since Honma delivered a Division I title in 2006, the Dragons (10-2) will play six-time defending champion Kamehameha (9-3) at 6 p.m. today in the championship game at Keaau High. The Warriors beat Kohala 67-28 in the other semifinal.

HPA past — the Dragons’ Chancis Fernandez, Eliyah Fernandez (eight points) and Shayla Ignacio (eight) are all former Ka Makani who transferred back to their hometown school — outscored HPA present by itself.

“It’s just another game,” said the versatile 5-foot-6 senior Chancis Fernandez.

“I think we started slow and picked it up in the second half.”

Honma and Ignacio also saw warts in the Dragons’ performance, although Honokaa thrived in transition and was in control from the start.

The Fernandez sisters — Eliyah worked inside — and Ignacio accounted for all of Honokaa’s 19 first-quarter points, and the Dragons led 39-15 at the half. Honokaa was content to sit back and play half-court defense, but HPA committed 14 first-half turnovers.

“Points don’t matter,” Ignacio said. “It depends on how we play. We don’t look at the scoreboard. It’s how we play and how teams earn their points.”

Ignacio expects Honokaa to play better than it did when it beat Kamehameha 42-35 on Dec. 17 at home in the regular season.

“Our worst game all year,” the junior said.

Seniors Hunter Liftee and Jasmine Castro also had eight points each Friday and senior Shemika Frazier added six for Honokaa, which showed off its deep rotation and had nine players score.

“I think we did pretty well on offense and shared the ball pretty well and got some good movement,” Honma said.

Junior Maluhia Awai drew the loudest cheers with her two baskets.

“She’s kind of our spirit and the one who picks us up,” Ignacio, a junior guard, said.

Junior Ula Brostek fought hard to score 17 points for Ka Makani (5-7). HPA plays Kohala (6-6) at 4:30 p.m. today at Keaau High in the third-place game for the right to join Honokaa and Kamehameha at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association tournament, which starts Wednesday on Oahu.

“I’m satisfied,” HPA coach Craig Kimura said. “Honokaa is a good team. It’s not rocket science.

“The girls played hard and showed us some things we hadn’t seen. Look at Erina Baudat (four points). It comes down to one game and that’s what you play for.”

HPA 6 9 6 8 — 29

Honokaa 19 20 12 13 — 64