With Jazelle Dorser holding the game in her hands near the end of regulation, Waiakea had everything it wanted – except for the desired result.
Given another chance, Dorser didn’t let the opportunity slip.
The freshman rallied the never-say-die Warriors with 21 points and 11 rebounds on Thursday night in Honolulu, scoring the first two baskets of overtime as Waiakea edged Kalani 55-54 to reach the HHSAA Division I girls basketball semifinals for the first time since 2008.
“I loved our fight,” coach Brandon Kauhi said after the BIIF runner-up overcame an eight-point deficit entering the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Kelsie Imai added 14 points, 12 rebounds and four assists at Moanalua High for the Warriors (11-3), who will face top-seeded Maryknoll at 7 p.m. Friday night at Blaisdell Center for the right to advance to the championship game.
“We always practice for these situations,” Imai said on the OC16 broadcast.
True, but who new the young-gun Warriors, back at states for the first time since 2012, would perform so well under pressure?
Trailing 44-37 with 4:16 remaining, Waiakea went on an 8-0 run, capped by Zaelynn Lui-Cabinatan’s jumper, to take its first lead since midway through the first quarter.
A layup by Lui-Cabinatan (12 points) with 1:15 left put Waiakea up by three points, but a 3-pointer by the Falcons’ Alyana Akiona tied the game with just under a minute left and set up a sequence in which Dorser had a good look at a layup as the final seconds clicked down but had her shot deflected from behind.
“The girls were a little nervous,” Kauhi said. “At the end of regulation, Dorser needed to get the ball, so we went back to her (in OT.)
“She was dominant tonight.”
Akiona scored 20 points for OIA champion Kalani (11-3).
Lui-Cabinatan’s layup with just more than a minute remaining in OT gave the Warriors a 55-52 lead. Logan Luke (14 points, 18 rebounds) answered with a basket for the Falcons and had a chance at potential three-point play to tie the game. She missed the free throw, and the Falcons never got another shot.
Waiakea shot better in the second half and overtime, finishing at 36.1 percent and it overcame Luke’s monster game on the boards to hold a slight rebounding edge.
Kauhi bemoaned his team’s 10-of-26 showing at the free throw line.
Beyond the stats, he credited Keani Midel and Keighsha Walker for coming off the bench and providing “hustle plays.”
“Their minutes helped preserve our starters,” he said.
Kamehameha 53, Le Jardin 21: Jordyn Mantz scored 14 points, Saydee Aganus finished with 12 and Hera Salmeron came off the bench to add 11 at Kalani High in Honolulu as the BIIF champion Warriors (9-4) cruised in the state quarterfinals.
Kamehameha held the ILH Bulldogs (1o-7) to just 8-of-49 shooting.
The second-seeded Warriors will face third-seeded Roosevelt, the OIA champion at 5 p.m. Friday in the semifinals at Kaimuki.
Honokaa 28, Kauai 26: For Honokaa, it wasn’t about how long they maintained a lead, but rather when the Dragons had it that matters most.
Honokaa trailed for most of their HHSAA Division II state quarterfinal game against No. 4 seeded Kauai onThursday, but with one second to go, Kayla Branco drained a shot to claim a 28-26 victory at Kaimuki High School on Oahu.
After two years at the D-I level, Honokaa moved back down to D-II this season. The Dragons last won the tournament in 2015.
The BIIF runner-ups were led by Branco, who netted 1o points. Bailey Perreira scored a team high nine for the Red Raiders. With their patented stingy defense, Honokaa scored 14 of their 28 points off turnovers and allowed the Red Raiders just five points in the second half.
The Dragons managed to lead in the game for only a grand total of 1:07, while Kauai controlled the contest for nearly 28 minutes, which included a 12-point advantage with 5:19 remaining in the second quarter.
However, Honokaa found a rhythm after going down by double digits and by halftime, the they cut the deficit to four.
With the Red Raiders up 21-17 heading into the third quarter, it would have been hard to predict how low scoring the second half would be. Honokaa managed only five points in the third quarter and six over the final eight minutes. However, Kauai struggled even more.
Honokaa will be back in action Thursday at 7 p.m. when they take on No. 1 seed St. Francis in the semifinals.