Maryknoll found a groove in the second quarter and proved to be too much as the Spartans routed the three-time defending state champion Konawaena, 56-37, in the McKinley Girls Basketball Black and Gold Classic sponsored by Matsumoto Law Group at McKinley's Student Council Gymnasium.
The Spartans won the rematch of last year's title game and led by double digits from the second quarter onward by as much as 20 in the fourth quarter.
While it's too early to make of the game early in the season, both coaches found the Classic to be beneficial.
"This is good," Konawaena co-head coach Bobbie Awa said on the early competition. "This is a good measuring stick. We got our butts whooped by 20 points so now we know what to work on. A lot of transition, we didn't transition well and we need to play better defense and box out."
"We're still not playing to our potential. There are things we have to work on. Miscommunication and missed layups. There are things to get better at," said Maryknoll coach Chico Furtado.
Eleven of the 13 players on Maryknoll's roster are seniors, and were led Saturday afternoon by Bella Cravens' 11 points and nine rebounds. The senior center commanded the attention of the Wildcats where she was fouled and finished 5 of 6 from the free throw line.
"Bella is a different player than she was a year ago. She's more confident and she takes up space and we have to force teams to deal with that. If we ignore her, that's a plus for the opponent. We have to make sure she touches it," said Furtado.
Kodee Viena added 10 points off the bench and Rhianne Omori scored nine and went 6 of 6 from the free throw line. The Spartans also got contributions from Kamalu Kamakawiwoole and Moe Notoa with seven points each.
Maryknoll trailed early on, 7-4, but managed four-straight points after Ysabelle Halemano's steal and layup for an 8-7 lead in the first quarter.
Cravens scored in the post for five points in the first and went perfect from the free throw line (4 of 4) in the second quarter.
"She's coming out that she wants this. We have to run everything to her, every possession where it's five on five, we have to run through her," Furtado said on Cravens being a focal point on offense.
The Spartans clicked on both sides of the ball to extend that lead to 17-7 on a 9-0 run.
Konawaena got the game in single digits, 19-10, following Molina's 3-pointer to force a timeout, but it was all Maryknoll from there as it tightened up the defense.
"Our defense, YZ and Kamalu and Kodee, our perimeter people realize they can play against their guards. Their guards had a way with us the past years. I told our kids there's no reason why they can't play, you have to get after it and move your feet," said Furtado.
The Spartans went 19 of 25 from the free throw line for the game compared to the Wildcats who shot 7 of 13.
Maryknoll's size and length gave the Spartans a rebounding advantage, 24 to nine.
"We got killed on the glass tonight," said Awa.
Cherilyn Molina led all scorers with 21 points and Caylie Kaupu contributed nine on a team with only eight listed on the roster.
"They are going to get theirs. You have to make sure they don't come in bunches and you have to make them work," said Furtado.
"Cherilyn is a phenomenon. She can get her shot off no matter what but she cannot be our only option. We got good players. Kawena is a scoring threat and Caylie is inside. They cannot shy away in games like this. For Cherilyn to bring up the ball and scoring so collectively we have to help out. We'll get better as the season goes on," said Awa.
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