No. 1 Iolani pulls away to rout No. 5 Punahou

Iolani's Lily Wahinekapu (23) scored 11 points in the Raiders' win over Punahou. Greg Yamamoto | SL

ALA WAI — Top-ranked Iolani pulled away late in the third quarter to crush No. 5 Punahou, 59-36 in an Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I clash at Iolani's Lower Gymnasium Saturday.

After nearly two weeks away from league play, the Raiders ring in the new year with a win and improves to 6-1 in the ILH. Taylor Wu and Lily Wahinekapu each scored 11 points, Alexis Huntimer and Jovi Lefotu each added eight and Alexsandra Huntimer rounded out the scoring with seven.

Iolani came back from a trip in Washington, D.C. to see how they stood against some of the nation's best teams.

Four Buffanblu each scored six points as it dropped to 4-3 in the ILH.

Iolani opened the first period making five of their 11 3-point attempts to take an early 17-9 lead going into the second quarter.

"We were trying to move the ball and look for an open shot and that's our goal. Those open looks happened to be 3-pointers so we'll take them," Iolani coach Dean Young said.

The Raiders continued the 3-point barrage as Wu kicked it out to Alexis Huntimer, who hit a left corner 3 to force a Punahou timeout. Wahinekapu and Wu each scored to give Iolani a 26-11 lead.

The Buffanblu answered with a 7-0 run of their own after jumpers from Tatianna Burciaga-Reyes and Hannah Urbano's 3-pointer to bring the game within eight, 26-18. The lead held up at eight until Kawai Kahalehoe tipped Wu's missed free throw to Wahinekapu, who made the basket before the buzzer sounded for a 31-22 lead at halftime.

"We went through a cold spell in the second quarter and Taylor had looks but couldn't hit. Third quarter, we struggled a little bit because we were dribbling too much and not moving. Once we got back to our fundamentals, getting the ball moving, the people moving, then we got the looks we wanted," Young said.

Punahou got within six, 31-25 quarter thanks in part to Kiarra Young's deep jumper and Aleah Liilii splitting a pair of free throws as Iolani struggled to score. The Raiders scored their first points off of free throws in the just a little over halfway through the third period. Iolani found its rhythm and went back to their style of play as Lefotu found Kahalehoe and Wu banked a layup before the buzzer for a 40-28 lead.

The momentum gained toward the end of the third quarter carried over to start the fourth as Iolani went on a 9-0 run to balloon the lead to 19 and never looked back.

"If you look at our motion in the third quarter and fourth quarter. It was completely different," said Young on what contributed to the fourth quarter rout. "We got caught up with a little bit too much dribbling in the third quarter. We were more patient in the fourth quarter."

Iolani defeated Punahou back on Dec. 10, 52-37.

Punahou hosts Maryknoll and Kamehameha and travels to Mid-Pacific to close out their regular season.

The Raiders close out the regular season with three home games against Maryknoll, Sacred Hearts, and Mid-Pacific all in that order.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected]