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Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Brandon Ching | ScoringLiveJanuary 22, 2018, 11:47pm
For the second straight year, Moanalua and Kalani will face off in the final game of the Oahu Interscholastic Association.
The only difference is they will be playing for the league's Division I title this time around.
Tenth-ranked Na Menehune needed overtime to beat Kahuku, 59-57, while the Falcons held off a late rally by No. 9 Mililani to win, 47-45, in the league's D1 semifinals at McKinley's Student Council Gymnasium on Monday night
The title game between the OIA East rivals will follow the Division II title game between Roosevelt and Castle at McKinley, which is slated for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Both teams will be seeking their fifth league title overall. Moanalua last won the OIA championship in 2003 while Kalani is looking to earn its first D1 title since 2008, after winning the OIA D2 crown a season ago.
"Everyone has been doubting us and we wanted to prove we belong in D1," said Delylah Sanerivi, who powered Moanalua with a double-double.
"We're trying take it one game at a time," added Moanalua coach Tani Almont-Done. "It's awesome to be in the Division II championship last year and now to be here. That will be an awesome moment for us."
Na Menehune won the regular season matchup, 60-55 on the Falcons' home floor on Jan. 9.
"It's going to be a fun game and it was close the last time and I don't expect any less," said Kalani coach Chi Mok.
Delylah Sanerivi poured in 21 points and grabbed 16 boards, Raven Rosa-Lasco added 18 points and both combined for 19 of Na Menehune's 23 third quarter points to help Moanalua overcome a 23-11 halftime deficit.
"They were playing tentative (early on)," said Almont-Done. "Raven drives all the time and she wasn't in the first half. I told them if they are going to play scared and stay on the outside, we're done. You guys have to start attacking, and they did."
Na Menehune overcame strong performances from Sisilia Kaufusi (21 points, eight boards), Tiueti Tonga (16 points, 10 rebounds), and Leiah Naeata (11 points). Kaufusi's turnaround basket in the paint tied the game at 48 with over 12 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
Sanerivi scored six points in the overtime period, which included the game-winning basket when Kelcie Leong (nine points, four steals) sucked in Kahuku defenders on her drive to the hoop before dishing it off to Sanerivi. The Red Raiders had a chance with 6.4 seconds left, but Sanerivi picked off the inbound pass intended for Kaufusi to seal the win.
"Delylah did not come out for a second," said Almont-Done said of her center. "I told her she needed to keep going. Adrenaline has to take over and this is why we run. We definitely knew it was going to be this kind of game."
Intensity and energy also helped Na Menehune erase a 23-11 halftime deficit. Moanalua came out firing in the third quarter and outscored the Red Raiders, 23-12 for a 35-34 lead heading into the final period of play.
"We had to out hustle them in the second half because they were out hustling us in the first half," said Sanerivi.
"The girls were playing tentative in the beginning," added Almont-Done. "The last half of the season is where we turned things around. They had to be used to being in this moment and believing they deserved to be here. They had to make that shift and they did."
The Falcons storm the court after outlasting Mililani for a two-point win.
Kaylie Espinas led the Falcons with 13 points and made three 3-pointers. She hit back-to-back triples to give Kalani a 10-point lead to start the fourth quarter. The Trojans chipped away with an 8-0 run of their own and got within two points, 47-45 after Taysia Canon's free throws with 1:08 remaining.
"We missed several free throws down the stretch and that's what got them back in the game," said Mok. "It showed us what we're made out of and they proved to me they have heart."
Dahlis Sablay carried the team with 19 points, four assists and three steals and launched a 3-pointer in the waning seconds but it hit front iron. Cheyenne Ardona (10 points, six rebounds) grabbed the rebound, but could not get a shot off in time.
Mililani led after the first quarter, but Kalani was able to whittle away and finished the quarter on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 21 going into halftime.
The Trojans led by as much as seven in the third, but Heidi Kishaba capped an 8-2 Kalani run with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 35. The Falcons matched the Trojans point-for-point in the second half with the game deadlocked at 37 going into the fourth.
"That was big," said Mok, on the run to end the first half. "We needed that to go into the locker room with momentum."
Kahuku will play Mililani for third place at Mililani. All four teams clinched berths to the Snapple/HHSAA Division I Girls Basketball Championships, which starts on Jan. 29.
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