Lahainaluna made the most of its trip to Oahu.
The Lunas forced turnovers and outscored Kamehameha in the fourth quarter to win, 50-42, on final day of the McKinley Girls Basketball Black and Gold Classic sponsored by Matsumoto Law Group at McKinley's Student Council Gymnasium.
"You can't beat the price of the competition here. We played three of the top five teams in the state in Maryknoll, Iolani and Kamehameha. I'd love to come back if the field is good like this," said Lahainaluna coach Todd Rickard.
"This was a good challenge for us and we aren't very big. Together we can accomplish a lot. We had two players out, but that's not an excuse and we have to accept the challenge," said Lahainaluna senior Braeanna Estabillo.
Estabillo scored a game-high 22 points and her partner in crime Rachael Balagso added 10 more as both guards used their quickness and smarts to combine for 11 steals.
"Braeanna and Rachael are our go-to players. When we need a basket, I tell them not to be so passive. I tell them to create for other players, get to the basket and kick it out to other players," said Rickard.
"Rachael is one of the best defenders on our team and she pushes me and I want to be like her on defense. She's the best of me too and she's my better half," Estabillo said on Balagso.
Kamehameha played without Kalina Obrey and Princy Paaluhi-Caulk. Without those two, Kiana Vierra led the Warriors with eight points and three other players scored six each. This was an opportunity for the team to show Warriors coach Joe Cho who can step up.
"We got a young team that we're trying to mesh together with our experienced and younger kids. We have a ways to go. This is a great opportunity to step up. That's what I keep telling them," said Cho.
The Lunas led 12-7 after the first quarter, but the Warriors managed to tie the game at 12 and 14 off of Keenyn Santiago's and-one and free throws from Camille Feary. Lahainaluna led by six after Hookano's hook, but Kamehameha fought back and trailed by one going into halftime, 24-23, after Malie Marfil's steal and layup.
"We have a small group and we're trying to put the pieces together where we feel where we feel it will feed us the best throughout the season and we try to take it a day at a time," said Rickard.
Vierra tied the game at 28 and the Warriors took the lead three times, 30-28 and 32-30 and 36-34.
"This is a time to find who wants and who doesn't. That's what I use the preseason for," said Cho.
The Warriors won the battle of the boards with a 32 to 14 advantage but committed about 23 turnovers.
Estabillo opened the fourth with steals and buckets to give Lahainaluna the lead and Tori Tihada added a 3-pointer to go up, 43-36. Kamehameha trailed by six and could not get any closer.
The Monarchs outscored the Mustangs, 26-18, in the second half to pull away on the second day of the...
Second-ranked Kahuku and top-ranked Saint Louis will face off in the nightcap of Saturday's championship...
Hilo and Damien take each other on in the Division I championship game Saturday night at Hawaiian Tel...
The Wildcats are making their first-ever title game appearance while the Lunas look to defend their crown...
The Crusaders' senior quarterback and Lunas' senior guard led their respective teams to big wins on Oahu...
The eight-team tournament features state champions Iolani (2016-17), Pearl City (2015-16), Mililani (2014-15)...