Lunas girls win state hoops title
By Fred Guzman
If was a night to remember for fans of Lahainaluna.
The Lunas girls became the first MIL team to win a state Division-I basketball title, rallying past and then holding off defending champion Konawaena 47-45 on Friday night before a crown of more than 2,300 at the Blaisdell Arena and a statewide television audience.
Konawaena appeared to be in control, leading 22-15 at halftime and 37-26 with a minute left in the third period. But Milika Taufa, the Lunas’ 6-foot-3 senior center, answered with a layup and then scored seven straight points early in the fourth quarter to help Lahainaluna tie it at 37-37 with 5:38 left in the game. Taufa, who finished with 26 points, later scored six straight to put the Lunas ahead, 46-39, with 1:51 remaining.
Lahainaluna held on for the win, sealing the deal when Maiki Viela made one of two free throws with eight seconds left an coming up with a big defensive play as time expired.
Taufa was named the outstanding player, while Viela – a junior point guard – was chosen on the all-tournament team.
Later in the evening at War Memorial Gym, the Lunas boys beat Baldwin 32-30 on a 15-foot jumper by TJ Rickard with four seconds left to clinch the MIL overall title.
Baldwin will meet Kamehameha on Tuesday in a 7 p.m. game at War Memorial for the MIL’s second berth in the upcoming D-I state tourney, which starts next Wednesday on Oahu.
Earlier on Friday, Seabury Hall pulled away in the second half for a 53-33 win over Molokai to claim the MIL overall title. Dylan King scored 19 for the Spartans, while teammate Michael Palmer scored 10 of his 14 in the second half while dishing off six assists after intermission.
Things didn’t go as well for the Molokai girls, who fell short in their bid to repeat as D-II champs by suffering a 41-32 loss to Kaimuki despite Kalei Adolpho’s 12 points and 13 rebounds. But the Farmers had no answer for Dejah Faasoa, who led the Bulldogs with 20 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three assists.