The Kamehameha girls were in the unfamiliar position of having to play on the opening day of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II state basketball tournament.
But they still have Casey Poe, and the Warriors still retained the look of the two-time defending state champion.
Poe scored 24 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as the Warriors raced past Le Jardin 56-37 at Kalani High in Honolulu.
Warriors coach Garrett Arima said Poe, a two-time Most Outstanding Player at states, could have scored 40 if she had made all of her layups.
“Typical Casey, she came to play and a had a big game,” Arima said.
Poe was 11 of 30 from the field.
Riana Arima and Makamae Gabriel added 11 points apiece for the Warriors (10-4), the Big Island Interscholastic Federation runner-up. Caitlin Poe had nine points. In addition to giving her team the third scorer it needs, Gabriel collected 12 rebounds. Kamehameha faces Farrington (9-3), the Oahu Interscholastic Association champion, at 7 p.m. in the quarterfinals at Kalani. Arima described the Governors as “big.”
Usually, the Warriors have a bye into the quarterfinals, but Honokaa ended their six-year reign atop the BIIF with a 54-32 victory last Saturday in the final.
However, Arima said that loss hasn’t seemed to affect the Warriors.
“It’s weird, I didn’t see any wet eyes after the game, which is what I expected,” he said. “They were still focused.
“It’s one game at a time now, and we know it’s going to get tougher.”
Kelly Kuchenbecker led Le Jardin (7-5) of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu with 20 points, and Kacey Kuchenbecker had 10 points and 20 rebounds.
In a 7 p.m. quarterfinal at Kaimuki High today, the top-seeded Dragons (11-2) take on Kalani (7-7) of the OIA. The Falcons downed University 65-48 in the first round.
Castle 65, Kohala 47
Shaney Tiumalu scored 16 points and the Knights dominated the boards (52-30) to win a first-round game at Kalani High.
Tezrah Antonio led the Cowgirls with 14 points, Hauoli Sproat-Lancaster added 12 points and Naai Solomon-Lewis finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Kohala (7-7), the BIIF’s third-place team, will be back at Kalani at 3 p.m. today to face Le Jardin in consolation action.
Castle (7-7) of the OIA draws second-seeded Hawaii Baptist at 7 p.m. today at Kalani in the quarterfinals.
Kealakehe 46, Pahoa 37
In the final home game of their careers, seniors Keanu Tilfas and Kalani Lewi combined for 24 points to propel Kealakehe past Pahoa in a hard-fought 46-37 victory at Kealakehe gymnasium Wednesday night.
“We struggled more in the second half than the first half tonight,” said Kealakehe head coach Sam Kekuaokalani. “The boys did well in executing our offensive plan in the first half, but the turnovers killed us.”
Kealakehe had 13 turnovers in the second half, leaving the door open for a scrappy Pahoa team.
Tolby Saito led the Daggers with 19 points. Saito has carried the load in nearly every game this season for Pahoa, so Kealakehe keyed on Saito, hoping to disrupt the Daggers’ game plan.
“I knew coming in that Toby was their main shooter,” Kekuaokalani said. “I knew they had a couple of bigs that liked to get in the paint and rebound too, but our game plan was simply to contain Saito.”
Despite holding a double-digit lead at the half, the Daggers always seemed within striking distance, and as the fouls began to build up late for Kealakehe, riling up the eager Kona crowd.
“We didn’t communicate very well and did not get all the looks that we wanted,” Kekuaokalani said.”We did play to our game tonight. Our goal each quarter is to keep our opponent under double-digits — when we keep our opponent under 40 points we do well.”
The win is an important one for the Waveriders, who claw to .500 (5-5) for the first time this season.
“Out of the gate we played the toughest teams and we have seen the boys improve a ton. Now its about executing and understanding what we are doing,” Kekuaokalani said.” They are doing a variety of things better, but I think the best things we are doing is defense.”
The win has even more weight behind it because it sets up a win-and-get-in situation for the playoffs Saturday when Kealakehe takes on Hilo (5-5).
The teams met twice in the preseason. Hilo narrowly won the first meeting at the Waiakea/Keaau Boys Basketball Tournament 55-53, and then just two weeks later ran away with a 58-31 win at the Cardinal Basketball Classic.
Konawaena 56, Keaau 45
Jonah Bredeson paced four scorers in double figures with 16 points for Konawaena in a BIIF game at the Cougars’ gym.
Kevin Medeiros added 12 points, Pookela Hanato-Smith had 11 and Brandon Awa posted 10 for the Wildcats (9-1), who wrapped up the top seed at the BIIF Division I tournament. Konawaena can clinch a berth at the HHSAA tournament if it beats HPA on Saturday at home to finish the regular season.
Isiah Segobia led Cougars (4-6) with 11 points, while Charlie Belmes and Edgar Ventura contributed 11 and 10, respectively.
HPA 60, St. Joseph 37
Evaldas Vegertas tallied 14 points in Waimea as Ka Makani remained the only unbeaten team in the BIIF.
Kalan Camero chipped in with 13 points and Justas Gecas had 12 for HPA (10-0), which locked down the No. 1 seed at the BIIF Division II tournament.
Ben Uhlmann finished with 15 points for the Cardinals (0-10).
Waiakea 70, Ka‘u 34
The host Warriors won their fifth straight behind 19 points from Lucas St. George.
Dillon Rellez added 13 points for Waiakea (8-2).
Brian Gascon led the Trojans (0-10) with eight points.
Hilo 92, Honokaa 70
Jalen Carvalho scored 31 points at Honokaa Armory as the Vikings evened their record at 5-5.
Austin Dante contributed 24 for Hilo, which led 48-28 at halftime.
Shyrome Batin led the way with 20 points for the Dragons (2-8), who will be the fourth seed in the BIIF Division II playoffs. Cjay Carvalho added 19 points and seven assists and Wayne Vaoga had 16.
Kamehameha 74, Kohala 71
The Warriors (6-4) won at home to clinch a BIIF playoff spot and the third seed in Division I.
The Cowboys fell to 7-3 and will face Pahoa as the second seed in the Division II semifinals Feb. 14.
Statistics were not available.