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Wildcats Sports

WHT Championship vs Punahou

Posted Saturday, February 28, 2009 by Bobbie Awa
Wild Things
Wildcats terrific in the middle of Pacific
by Joe Ferraro
West Hawaii Today
sports@westhawaiitoday.com
Saturday, February 28, 2009 7:16 AM HST
HONOLULU -- Konawaena coach Bobbie Awa summoned a frustrated Lia Galdeira to the bench after the dynamic freshman committed her fourth foul in the first overtime of the Wildcats' 54-50 double-overtime state title game win over Punahou.

Awa's message to Galdeira was the same one she sent to the rest of her team after the Buffanblu flustered the Wildcats by erasing an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime: settle down. Galdeira and the Wildcats listened, and they won their third state championship in six years Friday at Neal S. Blaisdell Center as a result.

Galdeira, who sat for most of the first overtime period, scored six of her 23 points in the second overtime and Konawaena revived the precision passing and unselfish play it displayed earlier in the title game of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I girls basketball state championships.


When asked how she felt after the victory, Galdeira summed up the sentiments of the crowd of approximately 300 Wildcat supporters who attended the game: "Party!"

In the second overtime, Galdeira operated in the paint and benefited from three crisp feeds -- two from freshman Dawnyelle Awa and one from senior Kim Brown, who finished with 13 points.

A Galdeira layup with 27 seconds left in the second overtime gave Konawaena a 51-47 lead. After Punahou came up empty on its next possession, Dawnyelle Awa hit two free throw with 11.8 seconds left to put the game away.

"We just need to settle down and relax,'' Bobbie Awa said.

Dawnyelle Awa finished with eight assists, and she joined Brown on the all-tournament team. Galdeira earned Most Outstanding Player honors.


Click Photo to Enlarge
Konawaena players, from left, Juliet Palu, Lia Galdeira. Kara Hanato-Smith and Dawnyelle Awa, celebrate the Wildcats' 54-50 double-overtime win over Punahou in Friday's Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I girls basketball championship game in Honolulu. Konawaena coach Bobbie Awa stands behind the players. - Jay Metzger | Special To West Hawaii Today
When asked about her thoughts on the Wildcats claiming their third title -- the other two came in 2004 and 2007 -- Bobbie Awa repeated the same word she uttered to reporters and cameramen during Konawaena's celebration on the court: "Awesome."

"We just hope it's not our last,'' she said.

The title almost didn't happen.

Leading 29-27 with 3 minutes, 24 seconds left in the third quarter, Konawaena went on a 9-2 run that carried into the fourth quarter. Galdeira capped the run with two free throws that gave the Wildcats a 40-29 advantage.

Then the Buffanblu -(14-1) responded with a 15-4 run to close out the quarter. Punahou senior guard Janelle Nomura's layup with 36 seconds left tied the game at 44.


Galdeira's 3-pointer at the buzzer from the left wing was off the mark, sending the game into overtime.

Then Nomura, who scored a team-high 20 points, missed a running shot down the lane with about 2 seconds left in the first overtime, when the teams were tied at 45.

Friday's game marked the third time the two teams have met in the state final, with Konawaena winning two of the matchups.

"It's another classic battle between Konawaena and Punahou,'' Buffanblu coach Mike Taylor said. "There is rivalry, but one with respect. They play hard and play with class.''

Konawaena 8 13 17 6 1 9 -- 54

Punahou 9 9 11 15 1 5 -- 50

Notes: Three Konawaena alumnae --Hawaii Pacific's Mana Hopkins and the University of Hawaii at Hilo's Jessica Hanato and Hina Kimitete --all played in a college basketball game Friday at Chaminade's McCabe Gym on Friday. After Hawaii Pacific's 70-64 win, they raced to Blaisdell Center to watch the game, arriving with about 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Hanato, who helped the Wildcats win a state title in 2004, said about the same number of Konawaena supporters attended Konawaena's 2004 championship game.

Bobbie Awa showed appreciation for the fans after the game.

"The Kona community is awesome,'' she said.


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