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Konawaena Dawnyelle Awa and Iolani Pua Kahalehoe In The Heat Of Battle
Konawaena Dawnyelle Awa and Iolani Pua Kahalehoe In The Heat Of Battle

Konawaena Defends It's D1 Girls Basketball Championship With Win Over Iolani
Galdeira Lead The Wildcats With 21 Points and 8 Rebounds

Kalani Takase
Special From Scoringlive.Com

Posted Mon, 13 Feb 2012 01:27:03 CT

HONOLULU, Hawaii - Bobbie Awa might need to look for a bigger trophy case when she and her Konawaena girls basketball team return to the Big Island Saturday.

Lia Galdeira had 21 points and eight rebounds - both game-highs - to lead the Wildcats to a 56-45 win over 'Iolani and their second consecutive Hawaiian Airlines/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I Girls Basketball State Championship before a crowd of 2,047 at Neal S. Blaisdell Arena.

Dawnyelle Awa contributed 12 points and six assists despite playing with a sprained ankle and Courtney Kaupu added 10 points for Konawaena, which claimed its fifth state title and fourth in the past six years.

"It feels really great, my girls did a great job, I'm so proud of them," Wildcats' coach Bobbie Awa said. "Every year, every team is special, but this one might be a little more special because it's my daughter's (Dawnyelle) senior year."

Konawaena (15-0), the tournament's top seed and champion of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, finished the season as the lone unbeaten team in the state.

"It's pretty special to be able to go out on top," said Galdeira, who was 9-of-16 shooting from the field. "We worked hard all year long for this, so it feels really good to bring it back to the Big Island."

'Iolani (13-2), which was making its first state title game appearance since 2008, was led by Kylie Maeda's 18 points and 14 from Abrianna Johnson-Edwards.

"We played a very good Konawaena team and we put in a good effort, but just wasn't enough tonight," Raiders' coach Eddie Maruyama said. "Give the credit to (Konawaena), they made plays when they had to, they have some phenomenal athletes and they're a very good team."

It was 'Iolani that made the plays early on. The Raiders used an up-tempo offense and a 9-4 run to close out the first quarter with a 13-10 lead.

'Iolani opened the second quarter with full-court pressure defensively, which resulted in three straight Konawaena turnovers, but the Raiders were unable to capitalize on the offensive end each time. With the game knotted at 10-apiece, 'Iolani went on a 9-0 run to surge ahead midway through the period. However, Hoku Liftee's buzzer-beater just before halftime capped a 6-0 Konawaena run and gave the Wildcats a 26-21 lead at the intermission.

"We knew that we were playing their game in the first half and we just needed to settle down and get our shots instead of playing into their game," said Galdeira, who played all 32 minutes along with Makayla Awa and Courtney Kaupu. "We weren't panicked or anything, because we knew what we had to do."

The Wildcats evidently made the necessary adjustments out of the locker room, and outscored the Raiders, 35-19, in the second half.

"Nothing really had to be said," Bobbie Awa said. "They've been through this before, so they were calm throughout."

'Iolani committed eight turnovers in the third quarter, which Konawaena closed out on a 10-0 run. The Raiders went the final 5:29 of the period without a point.

The Wildcats played stellar second-half defense, allowing just 14 field-goal attempts - including seven 3-pointers - by the Raiders after halftime. 'Iolani got to the free-throw line just eight times for the game and made five of those attempts. Meanwhile, Konawaena made 20 of its 22 attempts from the free-throw line and shot 48 percent (11 of 23) from the field in the second half. It was just six of 22 (27 percent) on field goals in the first half.

"We knew we had to win it on the defensive end," said Galdeira, who recorded five steals. "Everybody just bucked down and played tight on their man."

'Iolani, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion and tournament No. 2 seed, was seeking its fifth state title in its ninth championship game appearance. The Raiders beat Mililani in Wednesday's quarterfinal round and topped third-seeded Lahainaluna in a semifinal Thursday.

Konawaena's road to the title game began with a quarterfinal win over Kaiser and was followed by a victory over Kahuku in a semifinal game.

Both teams enjoyed a first-round bye in the 12-team tournament.

Division I All-Tournament Team

Lia Galdeira, Konawaena
Dawnyelle Awa, Konawaena
Kylie Maeda, 'Iolani
Leighlani Paselio, Kahuku
Courtney Kaupu, Konawaena

Most Outstanding Player: Lia Galdeira, Konawaena

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