It went just like Kamehameha assistant volleyball coach Sam Thomas drew it up.
Nani Spaar and Tiani Bello pounded away at each other Saturday in what amounted to a Warriors’ scrimmage in the championship game of annual Waiakea girls invitational.
“The team competed and practiced, and the decision was made to split them in half,” Thomas said. “I thought it was two evenly split teams.”
All three of Kamehameha’s entrants reached the gold division bracket, and Kamehameha Blue, Spaar’s side, defeated Kamehameha White, led by Bello, in the final 25-12, 25-17.
It was just another day for the Warriors. Bello took home Most Outstanding Player and Spaar earned MVP
“What you saw on the court today,” Thomas said, “actually at practice it’s tougher.
“Usually we scrimmage each other and only one or two points separate them.”
Rounding out the all-tournament gold division team were Waiakea’s Bethany Honma, Kealakehe’s Liberty Tuifua, Hanalani Oahu’s Kelsey Orosco and three more players from Kamehameha: Sierra Scanlan, Shaniel Azevedo and Brooklyn Cann.
Kealakehe beat Waiakea in a tight three-setter in the morning to reach the semifinals, where Kamehameha-White held off the Waveriders 25-21, 25-19.
‘They are going to be a factor,” Thomas said of Kealakehe.
Hilo High entered its junior varsity team, which beat Honokaa in the silver bracket semifinal (25-18, 25-17) before falling to Kauai in the final (25-13, 25-22).
Also earning valuable experience on the cusp of the BIIF regular season was Keaau, under the watch eye of coach Kawaileleohi’ilawe.
He sat front row for the the all-Kamehameha final, and he hoped some of his players were taking notes about their club-seasoned opposition as well.
“They watch for entertainment, but I want them to learn from the kids at their position,” he said.
Kawaileleohi’ilawe knows the drill. He coaches with the Keaukaha Cuzins in the 14s and 16s age groups and helps some of the island’s best players develop, but when it comes to high school, the talent he’s helped harness usually ends up at Kamehameha, Waiakea or Hilo.
The Cougars lost all three of their honorable mention all-BIIF selections from last season, but he likes a core group of players that includes senior middle Chaelyn Aki and senior hitter Ciara Hester, as well as a pair of underclassmen, sophomore hitter Ceyani Cluney Castro and freshman middle Janesse Trusdell.
“We have some good kids, we just lack experience,” Kawaileleohi’ilawe said. “(Ceyani) is really a mindful player. She’s never played outside hitter, but she listens an she doesn’t hurt us.”
Keaau took it on the chin Thursday when it played Kamehameha-Blue, losing 21-7, 21-8, but the Cougars made an impression on Thomas.
“I’ll tell you what, that Keaau team is not going to be a doormat, if anybody thinks that,” he said. “Those kids played tight, they had a lot of energy. You play like that, good things happen.”