Nā Aliʻi girls basketball wins by two points


Photo by Ashley Morishita

Freshman Analis Nitta takes the ball down half court in the first half of the game. Nitta was one of the leading scorers in the January 15 game against King Kekaulike. Nā Aliʻi won the grudge match 43-45.

The Warriors took on Nā Aliʻi in girls basketball, playing a four-quarter battle, driving the ball up and down the court in the echoing King Kekaulike gymnasium last night, January 15. It was an epic battle, but Kamehameha lost, 45-43, in the final seconds of the game.

The Warriors entered the game with high intensity and confidence after wining against Maui High School on Tuesday.

With that strong mindset, Nā Aliʻi had a rough start and the first quarter ended 10-6 in favor of the Warriors. Junior Megan Miguel, freshman Analis Nitta, and Kimani Fernandez-Roy scored the first points.

In the second quarter, the Warriors kept a steady four-to-five point lead against Nā Aliʻi. The leading scorer of the night, freshman Analis Nitta, made several three pointers and had a number of steals from Nā Aliʻi throughout the night.

The Warrior fans followed the ball’s every move and loudly encouraged the girls to do the same. At halftime, the Warriors were up 22-17, winding up for the second half of the game.

During the third quarter, the Warriors fired up their ball game and led by 13 points. In this quarter, the Warriors made seven 2-point shots and lay-ups, while King Kekaulike only made three 2-point lay-ups, ending the third quarter at 36-23 with Kamehameha still in the lead.

Also in the third quarter, freshman Kaylee Cambra was injured when she attempted a rebound shot, bounced backward off three Nā Aliʻi defenders and hit her head on the court. She returned to the bench under her own power, accompanied by KS Maui trainer Erin Harkleroad. Whether or not she will return in the next game is yet to be determined.

Moving into the fourth quarter, Head Coach Cy Peters of King Kekaulike gave Nā Aliʻi a pep talk, which led to an impressive turnaround in the last period.

“Don’t quit! Don’t quit, girls! Keep playing until you finish,” Coach Peters said.

The Warriors had an 11-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but in a repeat of their heated preseason tournament final game, King Kekaulike turned up the fire as the end of the quarter neared.

With about five-minutes left in the game, freshman Kayjan Pahukoa of King Kekaulike scored a 3-pointer, improving Nā Aliʻi to 31 to the Warriors’ 38.

Senior Sylvania Amor and sophomore Sasha Shepard piled on the points from there, and when Shepard made a goal with 1:38 left on the clock, she tied up the game at 41-41.

To wrap it up, Nā Aliʻi added four last points to their score, one 2-pointer and two clean free throws. In the last seconds of the game, Warrior Kimani Fernandez-Roy also added two points from free throws, putting the Warriors in striking distance of earning overtime, but a last second pass play from junior Rebeka Revelle to freshman Shaina Uyechi under the basket failed when the ball hit the side of the backboard, and the buzzer sounded. The score was 43-45, with Kekaulike taking the win in the very last minutes.

It was a tough loss for the Warriors who had bounced back from their second-place finish to Nā Aliʻi at King Kekaulike’s December 7 preseason tournament by defeating them 55-49 when they last faced them on December 27 in the regular season.

“I think that the feeling of winning got to our heads, and we began to let our guards down,” junior Megan Miguel said.

“We should think of the score being at 0-0 the whole game, so we feel there is no point advantage on either side,” she said.

After the game Coach Matt Weeks said, “Overall, the girls played really well tonight and have been stepping up every week.”

He said that the objective of this round was for the girls to take it slow and not break too fast, which is exactly how it played out.

“We can only get better,” Coach Weeks said.