No. 7 Punahou clamps down on No. 2 Kamehameha

Senior Kiarra Young (right) poured in seven of her team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter including the final two points on free throws to seal the victory. CJ Caraang | SL

KAPALAMA HEIGHTS — Kiara Young scored seven of her team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter to lift No. 7 Punahou to a 44-41 win over No. 2 Kamehameha in Interscholastic League of Honolulu girls basketball Saturday.

An afternoon crowd of about 300 fans at Kekuhaupio Gymnasium saw the Buffanblu (8-1 overall, 3-1 league) knock off the previously-unbeaten Warriors (8-3, 3-1) to force a three-way tie atop the ILH Division I standings.

Punahou put on a defensive clinic for much of the contest. It held a 25-17 lead at the end of three quarters of play — its largest of the game.

However, Kamehameha went on a 12-3 run to open the fourth quarter and took its only lead at 29-28 on a steal and layup by Noelle Sua-Godinet with 2:42 left to play.

Caitlyn Andrade-Tomimoto drained a straightaway 3-pointer on the next Buffanblu possession to reclaim the lead for good.

"What it does say is that these guys, that's what they do every day," Punahou interim coach Gary Pacarro said. "They compete at practice, they compete against each other every day and they're not afraid to take the shot and our game, everybody is a shooter. Everybody is a shooter."

The Warriors refused to go quietly. They were within one possession of the Buffanblu several times in the closing minutes, but the visitors fended them off each time by hitting 11 of their final 14 from the charity stripe.

"We practice that a lot and today it showed that we were just calm under pressure," said Young, who shot 5 of 6 on free throws — all coming in the final quarter.

Camille Feary hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to pull Kamehameha with 42-40 with 7.7 seconds left, but Young sealed the victory by making both free throws on the other end.

Young, one of just two seniors on the roster, said she emphasized staying cool under pressure to the rest of her teammates while the Warriors were making their run.

"I mean, I just said ‘we have to stay calm, there's no use in getting flustered and then turning over the ball. We just have to stay calm under pressure,' and I think we did that well," Young said.

The Buffanblu, who overcame a game-high 23 points from San Jose State-bound Kalina Obrey, utilized a distinct size advantage in the post to record 15 offensive rebounds, which led to 10 second-chance points.

"This is huge for our team. We've been working on chemistry and I think it showed," Young said. "We were able to just play well with each other and we fed off of this energy, but hats off to Kamehameha, they played a strong game against us and Kalina Obrey gave our bigs some trouble, but they worked their (butts) off."

Obrey, who is averaging 17.8 points per game in ILH play this season, was hampered by foul trouble for much of the second half. After being called for a pair of first-half fouls, she drew her third and fourth fouls in the first 1:19 of the third quarter and was immediately taken out of the game. She did not return until the 6:42 mark of the fourth quarter.

Obrey had 11 points by halftime, was shut out in the third quarter, but netted 12 of her team's 23 points in the final stanza.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected]