Top Performers
Kekahuna, Sagawa powered Rough Riders, Owls

Male Athlete of the Week: Shepherd Kekahuna, Roosevelt football
Shepherd Kekahuna did a little bit of everything for the Roosevelt football team Saturday night.

The senior outside linebacker/slotback made his impact felt in all three phases of the Rough Riders' 31-7 win over fourth-seeded Kamehameha-Hawaii in the opening round of the First Hawaiian Bank Division II State Championships at the Warriors' Paiea Stadium.

Kekahuna made a game-high 11 tackles, including nine solo stops and 1 1/2 tackles for loss on defense. He also forced a pair of fumbles and returned of those for a defensive score — which gave his team a 17-0 lead late in the second quarter.

About a minute later, the 5-foot-10, 195-pound Kekahuna scored his first of two short rushing touchdowns. In between all of that, he added two kickoff returns for 46 yards and a pair of punt returns for 21 yards in the victory.

"He's a huge impact player for us, I mean, this boy is special," Roosevelt coach Kui Kahooilihala said of Kekahuna, who takes a great deal of pride in his preparation.

"We always tell the boys ‘you gotta flip the switch' as far as our mindset and just being ready for the games. Some of our kids, they do that the night of, Shep flips that switch from the start of the week. He prepares himself from Monday throughout the week to game night and this has been his work ethic from when he was young," Kahooilihala said. "Every practice he's always 110 percent and the way he plays a game is exactly like how he practices. He goes hard — and everybody knows that, too — he runs hard and when he tackles, he brings it."

In the midst of a Kamehameha-Hawaii drive, Kekahuna was flagged for illegal helmet contact after a tackle on Warriors' receiver Austin Wilson that resulted in a 15-yard penalty. Just five plays later, however, Kekahuna came up with his second forced fumble, which he turned into a 39-yard scoop-and-score.

"I talked to him when he came off the field and on to the sideline," Kahooilihala said. "He told (Wilson) sorry — I mean, the kid is aggressive; a lot of defensive players can be just too aggressive and not stop their momentum sometimes — and I guess he knew that, but he shook it off and we always tell them to ‘flush it,' and that's what he did and couple plays later, he did his job and he picked up that fumble and scored, so he did a good job shaking that off."

Kahooilihala said Kekahuna reminds him of former Roosevelt all-state standout Chad Owens, who went on to earn All-American honors at the University of Hawaii before a long, successful professional career mostly in the Canadian Football League.

"He's shifty like Chad and he's tough to bring down for his size. It's kind of deceiving but he has speed, too. To me, this boy is going to be special and I think he can play at the next level if he's given the opportunity to play at a D1, which is what he wants to do, I think," Kahooilihala said.

Kekahuna, one of a handful of former Saint Francis players who enrolled at Roosevelt after the closure of the private school in Manoa in June, was selected as a team captain prior to the start of the season.

"He brings great leadership, on and off the field," Kahooilihala said. "Shep and the rest of our captains this year, they've just been great leaders for the rest of the boys. He's just a good kid — great kid — and very coachable."

Kahooilihala added that Kekahuna's style of leadership is a mostly-positive one.

"He's always motivating his teammates, but he's not one to get on them so it's not like he yells at the boys. He's always talking to his teammates, whether it's on offense or defense, special teams, he just gets the guys going and a lot of players gravitate toward Shep because of his leadership," Kahooilihala said. "He's always picking them up and again, motivating them, so that's the kind of guys that we want and he's been doing it the whole year and he did that Saturday night."

It did not take long for Kekahuna or the rest of the former Saints to get acclimated to their new teammates.

"A lot of the Saint Francis kids that came over, they pretty much knew everybody, or at least a lot of our kids — like Shep lives up in Papakolea so he grew up knowing a lot of our guys — and when he came over he made a huge impact, all the boys from Saint Francis actually; they're good kids and when they came over, they just fit right in," Kahooilihala said.

Also, Kekahuna's older brother, Shastyn, played quarterback for Roosevelt a few years ago, while younger brother Silas is a linebacker who was recently promoted to the varsity team after spending most of the season with the JV squad.

Kekahuna is certainly making the most of his final go-around in prep football. After all, it was just a year ago that he and his then-Saint Francis teammates endured the heartbreak of missing out on the state tournament after the team was forced to forfeit a number of games due to the use of an ineligible player.

"I think going through that made him hungry and he wants a title," Kahooilihala said. "Everybody wants one, but he told that that was his main goal when he came over and you can tell that by the way he practices everyday and his approach to every game that he was a special player. He's very humble, too, and a great student-athlete for us. He takes care of his studies and gets good grades, so he takes care of business on and off the field."

Kekahuna and the Rough Riders (10-2) will hit the road again this week for a semifinal game at three-time defending D2 state champion Lahainaluna.

"Lahainaluna is good team," said Kahooilihala, whose team was eliminated by the Lunas in last year's state semifinal round. "It's going to take a team effort, all 11 guys to put in the work to get the W, so we gotta bring our A-game this week."

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Sue D. Cooley Stadium.

Female Athlete of the Week: Madi Sagawa, Mid-Pacific basketball
Madi Sagawa and her Mid-Pacific Institute teammates put together a solid week to open the girls basketball season last week.

The 5-foot-4 junior guard averaged 14.8 points to help the Owls go 3-1 after four games in as many days to open their preseason slate.

Sagawa, a three-year varsity player, led her team in scoring in each contest. She was the lone player to score in double-figures in Wednesday's 39-28 win over Kalani and she matched that total Thursday in a 36-24 loss to defending Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I champion Kahuku. However, Sagawa led the way in Friday's 44-34 win at Mililani with 18 points, including four 3-pointers, before wrapping up the week with a 15-point effort in a 53-25 rout of McKinley Saturday.

"This year, obviously as a junior and being a third-year (player), she's expected to do a lot, but at the same time we have a system that we rely on all five people on the floor and so each of them needs to do their job and needs to do it well, otherwise it won't work," Mid-Pacific assistant coach John Matsumoto said.

"Madi's role within the system, she helps to kind of control the game and be one of the people that helps to kind of facilitate the instructions coming from the coaches and so forth, but hew have several players that we do that with as well, so I think that's kind of her role within this season," Matsumoto added.

Sagawa — whose father, Reid, is the Owls' first-year head coach — can play both point guard and shooting guard.

"She's a good ball-handler, she has good vision and she definitely can shoot it. She just has a high basketball IQ and can play within the system well," Matsumoto said.

Reid Sagawa previously served as head coach of both the Kalani boys' and Iolani Division II girls' programs, which is when Madi first gained an interest in the game. Since then, she has put in the time to develop her game while playing for the 808 Basketball Club, as well as individual workouts at both Tactical Strength and Peak Performance Athletics.

"She's very coachable. She just comes to practice every day, works hard, plays club year-round for 808 — which has done a great job with Madi in terms of refining her skill set and so forth — and she's very good about relaying information from us as a coaching staff to the rest of her teammates on the floor to what our game plan is and trying to fit that into the overall strategy so that we can come out with a win," Matsumoto said.

The Owls were forced to come from behind against both the Falcons Wednesday and Trojans Friday. Matsumoto said it was their team defense that paved the way in both come-from-behind victories.

"The first game against Kalani I think a lot of the kids had first-time jitters and again, being a new system, new coaches and being under the lights of a tournament (Black and Gold Classic) like that all added to their nervousness starting off, but I think what kind of spurred us was our defense and the girls talking and picking up their energy and making things happen on the defensive end, so it was exciting to see that," Matsumoto said.

He added: "Madi as well as the other guards, they're out front so they're the ones starting to set the tone for us bringing the ball down and because they're up front, a lot of the times if we get any steals they'll kick it out to her for a layup, so she got some points that way, but it was a good team effort with the girls and I think our defense is the one thing that set the tone for our comeback."

However, it was the 12-point loss to the Red Raiders Thursday that could prove to be most beneficial for Mid-Pacific down the line.

"I give lots of credit to Kahuku, they're big and strong and so when they take it inside they're really tough to defense and I would think it's a pretty easy game plan when they take a look at us because we're so much smaller, but in terms of how we learn from it, I would say that when we play bigger teams, we'll have to not only match the physicality on defense, but the intensity, so it definitely helped and I think that's why against Mililani we had the ability to come back and win," Matsumoto said.

Sagawa, who also plays softball for the Owls during the spring sports season, drained 10 3-pointers in all last week and has worked diligently to improve on the defensive end of the floor, but she has made her greatest gains in the sense of providing vocal leadership, Matsumoto said.

"I think people know Madi for her offensive side because she can handle the ball and she can shoot, but for us as coaches we see Madi in a different way. Generally I would say she's a quieter girl, but she's been working on trying to communicate better both offensively and defensively and she's certainly doing that now, which is something that is important for us as coaches, that the message is relayed throughout the team so that all five on the court are on the same page, so that is definitely something that is overlooked and she's doing a great job of that now," Matsumoto said.

As far as playing for her father? Madi handles it about as well as one could, Matsumoto said — and vice versa.

"Naturally any parent who has a child playing for them expects more — I was in that same situation — so that's just a given, but their relationship is very good. Coach Reid knows where the line is and so forth and I've never seen them have anything more than what you'd consider a regular coach-player relationship so it works out really well," Matsumoto said. "They kind of know how to balance being coach and player and when that ends versus parent and daughter."

Matsumoto said the coaching staff is pleased with how the players have bought into their philosophy so far.

"I really give the kids credit for how we started because a lot of the other programs have the stability of being with their coaches if not two years, a number of years so they're not learning a new philosophy, so we're really happy with the kids' progress and where they are for only being two weeks into the season; we're happy with the progress that the girls are making and I think part of this recognition for deals is a testament and a credit to the other kids because they're so unselfish and they look for Madi and they pass to her without regard for their own stats and because of that the team gets along well and it all works, so we're just so happy that the kids work together well as a team and the see the bigger picture."

Sagawa and the Owls (3-1), who dropped to Division II this season after competing in D1 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu last year, continue their preseason slate this week with games at Radford Tuesday and at Farrington Saturday.

Kalei Akagi, Leilehua — Rushed for a touchdown and scored on a 91-yard kickoff return in a win over Baldwin

Mitchel Camacho, Roosevelt — Rushed 10 times for 102 yards in a win over Kamehameha-Hawaii

Izayah Chartrand-Penera, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Caught a touchdown pass, intercepted a pair of passes and made two tackles in a loss to Roosevelt

Keneke Gusman, Roosevelt — Had 8 1/2 tackles, including 5 1/2 TFLs and three sacks in a win over Kamehameha-Hawaii

Delson Marshal Kahahane Nurial Dacalio, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Had seven tackles, including three sacks, in a loss to Roosevelt

Kapena Kamai, Baldwin — Caught six passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Leilehua

Akuila Koloamatangi, Baldwin — Had 12 1/2 tackles, including one TFL, and a forced a fumble in a loss to Leilehua

Joshua Luiz, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Intercepted two passes, made two tackles and had one pass break-up in a loss to Roosevelt

Ashton Raquino, Leilehua — Had six tackles, including 1 1/2 TFLs, one sack and a forced fumble in a win over Baldwin

Josiah Sniffen, Baldwin — Had 8 1/2 tackles, including 2 1/2 TFLs, one-half sack, an interception and a pass break-up in a loss to Leilehua

Jamil Vereen, Leilehua — Rushed 28 times for 174 yards and a touchdown in a win over Baldwin

Daijon Wilder, Leilehua — Had seven tackles and a pass break-up in a win over Baldwin

Spencer Yoshizumi, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Had seven tackles, including one TFL, in a loss to Roosevelt


Therial Glover, Radford —Scored 16 points in a loss to McKinley

Albert Perry, Pearl City — Scored 21 points in a loss to Maryknoll

Niko Robben, Maryknoll — Scored 19 points, including three 3-pointers, in a win over Pearl City

Malosi Viena, Pearl City — Scored 18 points in a loss to Maryknoll


Aloha Akaka, Maryknoll — Scored 22 points in a win over McKinley and scored 19 points, including three 3-pointers, in a win over Lahainaluna

Tati Burciaga-Reyes, Punahou — Scored 13 points, including three 3-pointers, in a win over Kahuku

Dezaray Carter, Sacred Hearts — Scored 14 points with eight steals, two rebounds and one assist in a win over La Pietra

Camille Feary, Kamehameha — Scored 14 points in a win over Kalani and scored 13 points in a win over Lahainaluna

Lauren Hayashi, Mid-Pacific — Scored 14 points, including 8-of-8 shooting on free throws, in a win over Mililani

Kaili Heen, Roosevelt — Had 14 points, including three 3-pointers, one rebound and an assist in a win over Le Jardin

Alexis Huntimer, Iolani — Scored 16 points, including four 3-pointers, in a win over Kahuku

Mahina Kaleiheana-Erickson, Sacred Hearts — Had 24 points, seven rebounds, five steals and a block in a win over Hawaiian Mission, scored 13 points with four rebounds and three steals in a win over La Pietra and scored 13 points with four rebounds and three steals in a win over Kauai

Caiyle Kaupu, Konawaena — Scored 20 points in a win over Punahou, scored 14 points in a win over Maryknoll and scored 18 points in a win over Kamehameha

Kailyn Kupau, Sacred Hearts — Scored 14 points with two rebounds, two assists and one steal in a win over Kalaheo

Lily Lefotu Wahinekapu, Iolani — Scored 13 points, including three 3-pointers, in a win over Lahainaluna and scored 21 points in a win over Kalani

Malie Marfil, Kamehameha — Scored 13 points in a win over Kalani

Te'Hiwa Medeiros, Sacred Hearts — Scored 15 points with four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal in a win over Kalaheo and scored 10 points with nine rebounds, three assists and a steal in a win over Kauai

Leiah Naeata, Kahuku — Scored 17 points in a loss to Punahou

Kyla Neumann, Maryknoll — Scored 16 points in a win over McKinley

Kanilehua Pitoy, Roosevelt — Scored 16 points in a win over Nanakuli

Kaliana Salazar-Harrell, Konawaena — Scored 14 points in a win over Punahou and scored 24 points, including three 3-pointers, in a win over Maryknoll

Noelle Sua-Godinet, Kamehameha — Scored 15 points in a win over Kalani and scored 13 points in a loss to Konawaena

Kyra Tanabe, Iolani — Scored 15 points in a win over Konawaena and scored 16 points in a win over Kalani

Jovi Wahinekapu Lefotu, Iolani — Scored 13 points in a win over Lahainaluna and scored 13 points in a win over Kahuku

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].



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