MIL girls earn respect

March 2, 2009, 10:46 AM HST · Updated March 31, 2:39 PM
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As the state girls’ basketball tournaments tipped off last week, we noted that the MIL, whose champions were relegated to No. 4 seeds, had to earn respect the old-fashioned way – on the court — after years of coming up short in their annual visits to Oahu. And the two teams did just that.

Molokai rode another exceptional outing by Kalei Adolpho to become the first MIL girls’ team to win a state title with a 45-42 victory over Kamehameha-Hawaii in the final of the D-II tourney.

Lahainaluna gave top-seeded Punahou all it could handle in the semis and had to settle for a third-place finish in D-I following a 56-52 win over third-seeded Farrington. Milika Taufa led the Lunas with 22 points while Maika Vierra added 18.

Adolpho, a 6-1 sophomore center, scored on a put-back basket with 12 seconds left, capping a sensational performance in which she finished with 21 points, 19 rebounds and six blocks.

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Molokai’s defense also play a huge role in the title game, holding Kamehameha without a basket in the fourth quarter as the Farmers rallied from a six-point deficit going into the final period.

Adolpho was equally dominant in the semifinals with 16 points, 25 rebounds and seven blocks in a 45-37 win over Kapaa.

Konawaena, featuring a starting lineup of three freshmen and two sophomores, captured the D-I title with 54-50 double-overtime victory over Punahou as fabulous freshman Lia Galdeira had 23 points, nine rebounds and four steals.

BOYS HOOPS: The girls rose to the challenge last week. Now it’s up to the boys’ representatives to alter a recent trend of frustration for MIL teams at the state basketball tournaments.

Both of the MIL champions – Baldwin in Division-I and Molokai in D-II – were seeded fourth in the tournaments that tip off Wednesday at various locations throughout Oahu. Both teams will draw first-round byes before opening their bids on Thursday.

Baldwin will meet the winner of Kaimuki vs. Kea’au in 5 p.m. quarterfinal game at McKinley Gym. In D-II, Molokai will face the winner of University High vs. Pahoa at 5 p.m. at Kalani.

The MIL runner-ups begin action on Wednesday, with Lahainaluna challenging ILH power Iolani in a 5 p.m. game at Radford High. In D-II, Seabury Hall will tangle with Kailua in a 7 o’clock game at Farrington.

The other D-I seeds are No. 1 Kamehameha, No. 2 Kahuku and No. 3 Waiakea. The D-II seeds are No. 1 Castle, No. 2 Kohala and No. 3 Hawaii Baptist.

BASEBALL: Pearl City erupted for six runs in the top of the ninth for an 8-2 extra-inning victory over Kaiser in Saturday’s title game of the 34th annual Maui High Baseball Invitational Tournament.

The host Sabers edged Iolani 8-7 for third place. In other final-day results, Waiakea beat Baldwin 7-6 and Kamehameha-Maui topped Hilo 7-4.

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