One of the first things you learn about high school sports in Hawaii is to never underestimate neighbor-island teams — especially in basketball.
But did anyone expect Kapaa to knock off Kahuku?? I certainly didn’t. Kahuku is big, athletic and fast. But Kapaa proved to be tenacious and tough, and despite not having as much depth as Kahuku, the Warriors ran with the Red Raiders and came out ahead 60-56 in one of the biggest upsets I’ve seen in nearly 40 years of watching Hawaii prep sports.
Kapaa won despite point guard Jessilyn Artaho-Aki being sick with the flu. She made the big 3-pointer and free throws to ice it. Guard Mai’lika Napoleon (20 points) and center Jondi Das (17) had big games.
“They’d have three players on the ball, so we knew someone had to be open,” Kapaa coach Terry Maguire said. “And they made the shots when they had to.”
Maguire rolled the dice with a pressing defense, and thanks to great conditioning, it worked despite the Warriors’ short bench.
I guess I can’t write that column I was thinking about saying that Kahuku shouldn’t have been in Division II. Maybe Kapaa belongs in Division I.
– By Dave Reardon