Kamehameha worked hard and traveled far to have just this opportunity.
It didn’t work out because Punahou continues to be the point where Warriors coach Guy Enriques’ HHSAA volleyball aspirations go sideways.
The Buffanblu played cleaner, especially once the state quarterfinal was tied a set apiece, bouncing Kamehameha 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23 at McKinley High School in Honolulu.
Nani Spaar’s 18th and final kill got the BIIF champion Warriors (15-1) to within 23-22 in the fourth set, but the Buffanblu (12-2) earned to match point on a hitting error and Tihane DeRego’s kill only delayed the inevitable as another Warriors service error sent the ILH runner-up to the semifinals.
Each team finished with 52 kills, but Kamehameha made far more errors, hitting .122 to Punahou’s .240.
Spaar, a senior outside hitter, took 70 swings and hit .043 with 12 digs. Freshman Taina Kaauwai added an efficient 15 kills on .400 hitting, Tiani Bello compiled nine kills and 18 digs and setter Sierra Scanlan posted 45 assists.
Kaia Dunford smacked 15 kills for Punahou, which won the blocking battle 5-2.
The Warriors, who have a consolation match at 6:30 p.m. Friday at McKinley against either Mililani or Le Jardin, cruised through the BIIF season virtually untested, but they prepared for the state grind earlier this month with a trip to the mainland, where they played in three tournaments.
“The teams we faced up there are as good as we’ll see at states,” coach Guy Enriques told the Tribune-Herald last week after Kamehameha claimed the BIIF crown. “If we were to face Kamehameha-Kapalama, we’ve already faced a team like them 15 times against those mainland teams. We’ve prepared for facing teams like (Kamehameha-Kapalama) or Punahou.”
The Punahou girls are seeking their first state title since 2014.
The Buffanblu boys have claimed eight crowns in a row, with four of those coming at the expense of Enriques and Kamehameha.
Freshman Parker Lewis dazzled with 19 kills on .381 hitting, but Hawaii Prep fought back only to fall short of a spot in the semifinals, losing 25-19, 19-25, 25-23, 16-25, 15-10 to second-seeded Waimea at Farrington High in Honolulu.
BIIF runner-up Ka Makani (10-7) lost the battle in kills (65-56), digs (78-58) and blocks (4-2).
Amy Russell pounded 15 kills with 17 digs and Kirra Brown added 11 kills for HPA, which hit .244 and plays in a consolation match at 3:30 p.m. Friday at McKinley.
Raelee Samio swatted 15 kills for Menehune (12-0), who hit .223 to reach the semifinals for the second consecutive season.
• Malie Grace hit nine kills with 12 kills, Keisielynn Casuga posted eight kills and Braelyn Kauhi had seven as BIIF champion Konawaena outlasted La Pietra 20-25, 25-12, 15-11 in a consolation match at Kaimuki.
The Wildcats (13-5) will take on Molokai at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Moanalua in the seventh-place match.
The Farmers advanced with a 25-17, 25-15 win that ended the season for Ka’u (9-9), the BIIF’s third-place team.