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(Fri) February 27, 2009

HHSAA Division II GIRLS BASKETBALL: Farmers Prevail, Claim Division II Hoops Title

By Kyle Galdeira

Molokai claimed its first state basketball title at any level tonight with a 45-42 victory over Kamehameha-Hawaii in the championship game of the Division II Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships at the Neal Blaisdell Arena.

The fourth-seeded Farmers, Division II champion of the Maui Interscholastic League, completed a 15-0 season by knocking off the second-seeded Warriors, and claimed the school’s first girls’ team state title in any sport. Sophomore forward Kalei Adolpho led the way for Molokai with a game-high 21 points, 19 rebounds and six blocks.

Kamehameha-Hawaii took an 11-7 lead at the conclusion of the first quarter, thanks in part to sophomore center Katelynne Paleka-Kennedy’s lay up as the period expired. Both squads seemed a bit too anxious on offense, forcing shots before teammates could set up in position to rebound.

The Warriors jumped out to a 15-9 lead to start the second period, but Molokai answered thanks to two close-range bank shots from Jolenta Duvauchelle to pull the Farmers to within two points of the lead. The Warriors held the two-point margin through the remainder of the quarter, and took a 19-17 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Farmers used the pick-and-roll to isolate Adolpho in the lane, and the sophomore took advantage of the high-percentage looks which led to eight points in the opening half.

Both squads see-sawed with the lead throughout the third period until the Warriors surged ahead on three consecutive three-pointers from Kayla Lacaran-Costales. Kamehameha-Hawaii rode the treys, the last of which came just as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter, to a 39-33 lead with one period to play.

After Molokai chipped away at the lead, Adolpho drained two free throws to tie the contest at 42 with 2:09 to go in the game. With 11 seconds remaining, the Farmers got the ball back off a Warriors’ errant pass out of bounds, and Adolpho lofted a shot from just under the rim to put the green-clad squad up 44-42.

Kamehameha-Hawaii had a chance to tie the game, but was whistled for traveling with just under eight seconds remaining in the contest. The Warriors immediately fouled Adolpho, and the forward hit the front end of a one-in-one foul shot opportunity to put Molokai up by three.

Warriors guard Joelle Cabasa took a game-tying three-point shot as the clock expired, but the attempt caromed off the back of the rim, and the Farmers emerged with the victory.

Despite committing 20 turnovers compared to eight for Kamehameha-Hawaii, the Farmers connected on 48.8 percent of its field goals throughout the game, compared to the 28.3 percent shooting performance turned in by the Warriors.

Molokai point guard Danna-Lynn Hooper-Juario chipped in 11 points, and dished out a game-high four assists. Her biggest impact on the game, however, was the ability to dribble past Warrior defenders in the full-court press and spread the floor for teammates.

Lacaran-Costales finished the contest with a team-high 19 points in defeat.