OIA Girls Basketball
Rams buckle down at the line to rally past Trojans


Fri, Dec 6, 2019 @ Mililani

Final 1 2 3 4  
Radford (11-2, 14-11) 8 8121442
Mililani (11-2, 14-7) 8 11 8 1340
K. Ponce 12 pts  1 3pm  1/2 FTs
M. Seei 14 pts  1 3pm  5/11 FTs

MILILANI — Manutagi Seei and Kailani Tenorio scored 18 of their combined 26 points after halftime to rally visiting Radford to a 42-40 win over Mililani in an Oahu Interscholastic Association girls basketball game Friday night.

The win puts the Rams (5-2 overall, 2-0 league), who were coming off of a 20-point win over Kapolei Wednesday, in sole possession of first place in the Western Division.

It was the regular-season opener for the Trojans (3-5, 0-1), who have dropped their last three games, including lopsided preseason losses against Interscholastic League of Honolulu foes Punahou (57-20) and Kamehameha (62-31) a week ago.

Mililani held the largest lead for either team at 26-21 following Kayla Tansiongco's reverse layup off of an assist from Kianna Ponce near the midpoint of the third quarter.

However, Radford cut into the deficit right away. Seei muscled her way inside for a basket in the lane on the Rams' very next possession. A few minutes later, Seei spotted up just beyond the arc in the left corner and hit a 3-ball off the dish from Tenorio to tie it at 26 with 2:01 left in the third.

Radford led 28-27 to start the fourth. The lead exchanged hands four more times until the Rams took the lead for good with 1:56 to play on a Tenorio layup that was assisted by Daphnee Fagaragan to make it 37-36.

After a Tenorio free throw about 40 seconds later, the Trojans pushed the ball up court and got off a quick shot, but it was no good and Angel Asaah grabbed the rebound for Radford. She then got the outlet to Seei, who was fouled almost immediately and went to the line for a one-and-one. Seei knocked down both ends to stretch it to a 40-36 Radford lead with 33.3 seconds to play.

"We all know we struggle with free throws every year and we've been trying (to improve), like this year it's not going to be like that, so we're practicing really hard on focusing, squaring up, making sure our follow-through is there," Seei said. "We do it every day."

Tansiongco then hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to make the score 40-39 with 16.9 left on the clock. The Trojans were again forced to foul and sent Tenorio to the line for another one-and-one. She went on to drain both free throws to give the Rams a three-point cushion with 15.4 seconds left.

"That was huge," Radford coach Charles Chong said of the pair of converted one-and-one situations by his junior guards. "That was huge and against a Mililani, a well-disciplined team, who, they'll take advantage of your mistakes, so we had to fight back, get the lead and have the poise — that's probably what I'm most proud of them (for), they showed a lot of poise in the fourth quarter — we grew up a lot in this game, I think."

The Trojans got to the line with 9.5 seconds remaining and Qiera Tyrell hit one of two, but they never regained possession after Radford came down with its 15th offensive rebound on the other end of the court and was able to run out the final seconds.

"They made some shots, they broke that press and made some shots at the end and we didn't convert on our side, so hats off to them, they played solid," Mililani coach Michael Oyama said. "I thought we played solid. It was two pretty evenly-matched teams the whole dang way."

Mililani was called for 18 personal fouls to 15 for Radford.

The Trojans committed six of their fouls in the first quarter, which led to 11 free-throw attempts for the Rams.

"That means our help isn't getting there in time — something we've been working on — but you gotta learn and adjust," Oyama said.

However, the visitors struggled from the charity stripe early on. Radford was just 2 of 11 in the first quarter — including Seei going 0 for 5 — but it went on to make 14 of 18 free throws over the final three quarters.

"In the beginning we were shaky, but after a while we realized we can drive and get fouls and then after missing free throws we realized we needed to get it together and shoot our free throws better," Seei said.

Chong credited Manu's mental fortitude to shake her early free-throw troubles and come through in the clutch.

"In general, we encourage the girls to be really aggressive and take it strong to the hole and put pressure on the defense; it paid off for us in the first half and at the end of the game it paid off again. Manu, she's tough, she's tough. She's been struggling with her shot actually lately, but she's tough-minded, so I'm really proud of how she knocked ‘em down at the end of the game when we needed them," said the sixth-year Radford coach.

The teams were tied at 8 after the opening quarter. Mililani took a 19-16 lead into halftime after Ponce hit a deep 3-pointer from the right wing just before the end of the quarter.

Ponce finished with 12 points and Tansiongco 11 to lead the Trojans, who visit Kapolei Tuesday and host Waipahu next Friday.

Radford will participate in the Iolani Girls Classic next weekend and opens the tournament against the host Raiders — the reigning Division I state champion — Thursday night.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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