OIA Girls Basketball
Falcons top Menes to win fifth league crown


  



Wed, Jan 24, 2018 @ McKinley


Final 1 2 3 4  
Kalani (11-2, 15-10) 28 1015255
Moanalua (10-4, 17-12) 8 11 3 1133
K. Casinas 8 pts  4/5 FTs
K. Espinas 15 pts  3 3pm  0/1 FTs

A blistering hot first quarter and a staunch defensive effort throughout paved the way for Kalani's second league title in as many years Wednesday night.

Three players scored in double figures to lift the unranked Falcons to a 55-33 win over No. 10 Moanalua in the championship game of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I Girls Basketball tournament before a crowd of about 700 at McKinley's Student Council Gymnasium.

Kaylie Espinas scored a game-high 15 points and Logan Luke and Alayna Akiona added 14 points apiece for Kalani (11-2), which claimed its fifth overall league crown.

Na Menehune (10-4) saw their win streak of seven games snapped. It included a 60-55 road win over the Falcons on Jan. 9.

"They beat us by five (points) and it was a tough loss because it was our senior night, but we've been playing them from the D2 championship last year and so we were very familiar with them and they were very familiar with us and we just had to know how to play them the right way," senior post Logan Luke said.

The Falcons defeated Moanalua in that OIA D2 final last season, 66-49.

It marks the first time a team has won the league's D2 crown in one season then captured the D1 title the following year.

"It's great. I know me and the other seniors are stoked. This has been our goal since winning the D2 championship last year and we've been working very hard for this every day since then," said Luke, who scored 10 points before halftime, including eight in 28-point first quarter.

The game was tied at 4 early on, but Kalani went on a torrid 24-4 run to close out the first quarter and never looked back. Freshman guard Alayna Akiona came off the bench and stroked three 3-pointers during the stretch, the last of which gave her team a 21-6 lead.

"(Akiona) and Kaylie (Espinas), they both have a scorer's mentality. There's not a bad shot they're ever going to see. When they're open, they're going to take it and they have the green light. We'll never hold them back. Even if we're running offense, if they see it, they can take it," Kalani coach Chi Mok said.

After a running banker by Daesha Viela, Espinas recorded a steal then hit a pull-up jumper from just inside the arc. Just before the end of the quarter, Viela penetrated the paint before dishing to an open Espinas on the right wing, who drained the Falcons' fourth 3-ball of the period and gave her team a 28-8 lead after one.

Kalani freshman Alayna Akiona swats a shot attempt by Moanalua's Kyrah Hughley in the third quarter.

Kalani shot 41.8 percent (23 of 55) from the field, including a blistering 42.1 percent (8 of 19) on 3-pointers.

Moanalua was held to just 20 percent (9 of 45) from the field and 6.7 percent (1 of 15) from beyond the arc.

Kylie Casinas scored eight points, Delylah Sanerivi seven and Kelcie Leong six for Na Menehune.

"We always stress defense; our press back to the zone," Mok said. "Stopping Delylah was our main goal tonight and we were going to front her and have our big girls on her all night and make her work, make her work, make her work and that did it for us. Their outside shots weren't falling and that helped us out a little bit so the game plan worked out for us."

Kalani captured its first OIA D1 championship since 2008.

Moanalua was seeking its fifth OIA title and first since 2003.

Both teams had already qualified for next week's Snapple/HHSAA D1 State Championships, which gets underway Monday.



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].


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