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Raiders clamp down on Lunas

Feb. 9—Dean Young says his team doesn't always shoot the ball well.

Dean Young says his team doesn't always shoot the ball well.

The 'Iolani Raiders do it with defense. The four-time defending state champions swarmed all over Lahainaluna's record-setting shooter, Lela Donez, in a 59-44 semifinal win on Thursday in the semifinals of the Heide &Cook /HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships.

Top-seeded 'Iolani will meet Kamehameha for the title on Friday night at Blaisdell Arena after the Warriors defeated No. 2 seed Konawaena 52-35 later Friday.

Despite numerous injuries during the season, 'Iolani's roster is relatively healthy going into the final.

"We have an opportunity to five-peat, so we're happy. These girls enjoy each other so much. We're just open to a good outcome, " Young said.

Hailey Fernandez warmed up from the arc and scored 16 points, making four of seven from deep. Justice Kekauoha and Mia Frye added 12 points each. Mele Sake had five points and nine rebounds.

'Iolani sent Frye to cover the dynamic Lahainaluna scorer, and when Frye took a break, Kekauoha covered Donez. There were double-teams all over Donez anywhere inside halfcourt.

"It worked to a decent extent. She still had 24, " Young said. "We had a bad second quarter. We were up kind of big and got kind of sloppy. We had seven turnovers, " Young noted. "You can't take your foot off the gas when you play a good team. You let a good team hang around, they can catch you."

Donez scored 16 of her 24 points in the second half, but the Lady Lunas' hopes for a big run never materialized. She finished the game 10-for-15 from the field and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line with four rebounds and five turnovers. Juseana Delatori tallied 16 points (4-for-13 from the field ) with eight turnovers.

The Lunas (16-6 overall ) finished with 20 turnovers, eight more than the Raiders.

After scoring a state-tourney record 41 points against Waiakea on Wednesday, Donez was stifled from the opening tip by 'Iolani—for one half. Facing double teams, the 6-foot Cal signee had eight points on 3-for-7 shooting from the field with four turnovers in the first half.

Two of the turnovers came on charging fouls. The Raiders were ready for her.

"She can score at all three levels. I noticed when she goes right and passes, she likes to do the give-and-go handoff, " said Frye, who finished with 12 points and five steals.

Kekauoha, a freshman, used her length to block one of Donez's shots.

"I think every time she drives right, she always goes to the basket. When she goes left, she goes for the jump shot, " Kealoha said. "That's what Coach Dean told us."

'Iolani opened the game with a 10-0 run, expanded it to 20-7 by the end of the first quarter, and stretched it to 25-7 early in the second quarter on a corner 3 by Kekauoha.

The Lady Lunas attacked in transition, getting an and-one play from Delatori on a long pass from Donez. They got within 27-16 late in the first half.

The Raiders opened the second half with an 11-4 run, getting back-to-back 3-pointers by Fernandez and Keiki McGee for a 38-20 lead.

"I haven't (seen ) a girl like (Donez ) in a while, with that size and being able to score at all three levels really well with crazy range, " Young said. "She's special."