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Kamehameha-Hawaii ends Konawaena's BIIF streak

Jan. 10—One game doesn't usually make an entire season, but for the dynastic Konawaena Wildcats and Division II powerhouse Kamehameha-Hawaii, Monday night's battle won't be forgotten.

Kamehameha-Hawaii pulled out a 63-62 win over No. 3-ranked Konawaena behind 22 points from Keanu Huihui and 19 from Maela Honma. The loss is the first in Big Island Interscholastic Federation play for Konawaena since the 2018-19 season, ending the Wildcats' 42-game win streak in league play.

"It's a monumental win. They'd better cherish this," Warriors coach Donald Yamada said.

"I feel like we had a different mentality going into the game," Honma said. "Our goal was to play as hard as we can and match their intensity. I think we will honestly cherish this. We're really proud of our team."

Kamehameha-Hawaii improved to 7-0 in the BIIF, where Division I and II teams play a blended regular-season schedule. It will be the only meeting between the two schools this season.

Kaanoipua Leleiwi had 12 points, and Haikela Hiraishi and Tavina Harris added 11 each for Konawaena (15-4 overall), which dropped to 8-1 in league play.

The last team to beat Konawaena in BIIF action was Waiakea, which toppled the Wildcats nearly five years ago in the BIIF title game, 58-48 (Jan. 26, 2019). It was Waiakea's second win over the Wildcats that season. The first time, it was a 54-25 rout at Warriors Gymnasium.

Kamehameha-Hawaii (10-4 overall) is playing its best basketball at the right time. Huihui, a 6-foot senior, has signed with University of Hawaii at Hilo. An All-State selection last season, she was a major force with seven offensive rebounds.

Honma is a two-time Star-Advertiser All-State volleyball selection. The senior signed to play volleyball at Western Oregon. She had eight offensive boards. Two players combining for 15 offensive boards against Konawaena doesn't happen often. Honma (7-for-9) and Huihui (8-for-9) were also stellar at the free-throw line.

Aubrey Miyasato, a transfer from Keaau, scored 11 points against Konawaena and has settled into her role. Baeleigh Lukzen and Kacie Febo-Santiago made key contributions. Lukzen had nine points, matching Miyasato with three 3-pointers. Febo-Santiago is both an energizer and blue-collar playmaker.

"Kacie was injured during the Kamehameha (Invitational) tournament. The energy she brings, it's a whole different game for us when she is on the court. She's a hustler and she makes an impact," Yamada said.

Konawaena's posts, Harris and Kaitea Galletes — their leading scorers in BIIF play — got into early foul trouble trying to cover Kamehameha-Hawaii's quick slashers, including Huihui. On the other end, KSH used a 1-2-2 zone to stymie Konawaena at times.

"Keanu can beat anybody in the state one-on-one, underneath the basket. She finally got that role as the second quarter started. Their big girls couldn't keep up with her and Maela," Yamada said.

"It kind of took us until the third quarter to figure it out," Huihui said. "On the pick-and-roll screen we got mismatches. They ran 2-3 zone for a little bit and Tavina (Harris) was fouling us. Their bigs were occupied with Kacie, so we were crashing the boards."

The win is a big step for Kamehameha-Hawaii and the Warriors' goals.

"These girls, to start off the night, we knew this was a test. A mark on our calendar. Getting ready for states," Yamada said. "We knew (Konawaena) played a tight game with 'Iolani."

In December, four-time defending Division I state champion 'Iolani edged Konawaena 37-34.

Kamehameha-Hawaii has five D-II state titles: 2005, '07, '12, '13 and '18. The Warriors took third in states last season.