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Wildcats Sports

Regular season game vs Hilo

Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2009 by Bobbie Awa

'Cats put on a show in Hilo

by Bill O'Rear
Tribune-Herald Sports Editor
Published: Sunday, January 18, 2009 7:48 AM HST

Kona dazzles Viks in dominating win

Veteran Konawaena coach Bobbie Awa smiles a lot more when her young talented basketball team plays close to perfection.

And on Saturday night in a lopsided 68-31 win over Hilo, the Wildcats were near perfect in the first eight minutes on their way to their third straight Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I victory.

The young Wildcats, led by senior Kara Hanato-Smith and superfreshmen Lia Galdeira and Dawnyelle Awa, dominated the first period against the Vikings (2-2), rolling to a 25-10 lead. They also did it in impressive fashion, sharing the ball, hitting three 3-pointers, knifing through Hilo's defense for easy layups and clamping on a full-court press that took a big toll on the Hilo ballhandlers.

"We came out and played hard," Awa said. "We passed the ball well, and we got out in transition for some easy baskets. We made some threes and got some layups. But after the first quarter, we let up on our intensity.

"That's been our problem. We've got to push ourselves and play hard every minute. If we're able to win the BIIF and go to the states, we've got to be ready to play every minute over there. That's the only way we'd have a chance."

In other D-I action Saturday, Keaau stunned Waiakea 40-39 in overtime and Honokaa downed Kealakehe 54-32. In D-II play, Kamehameha topped Ka'u 66-49 and Pahoa defeated Kohala 55-48.

In the lone boys game, Ka'u ran past Hawaii Preparatory Academy 80-49.

With the way Konawaena played in the first period before about 300 fans on Saturday at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, no team on the Big Island will beat them. But like Awa said, if they play like the Wildcats did over the final three quarters, they could be seriously challenged.

Konawaena outscored Hilo 11-7 in the second period and held a 36-17 halftime advantage. The talented visitors then outpointed the Vikings 14-9 in the third quarter before finishing with an 18-5 cushion over the final eight minutes.

Both Awa and Hilo coach Kelly Lerma shuffled players in and out of the game all evening, and six of the Wildcats scored at least six points or more.

Galdeira, a 5-foot-8 guard, led the way with 12 points, 12 rebounds and four steals while playing a little over half the contest. Freshman Makayla Awa had 11 points. Kara Hanato-Smith had 10 points, all in the first half, and ran the halfcourt offense to near-perfection. She had seven assists and drilled two long-distance treys.

Dawnyelle Awa had eight points, all in the first half, and watched most of the second half on the bench. Aukele Waikiki contributed eight points and Thea Hanato-Smith had seven points and a solid floor game. Promising sophomores Misilosa Uulopa and Anuhea Wall each added six points.

Junior Alyssa Patao led Hilo with seven points while juniors Chelsey Santos, Kaycie Jyo and Tia Denne-Kimi each added five points in Lerma's platoon system.

"I've told the girls, every game is a big game," coach Awa said. "We've got to be ready to go every game, and we can't get away with just playing hard the first quarter. We've got to play with more intensity and finish our layups. We get a lot in transition and we've got to make them."

Kara Hanato-Smith, one of the top 3-point shooters in the state, agreed with her coach.

"We need to keep getting better," the team's senior leader said. "We've got to practice hard and be ready for the games.

"The team is doing well and the underclassmen are starting to step up, both the freshmen and the sophomores -- and the juniors, too."

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