Kamehameha eases past HPA for water polo title
By MICAH LEWTER
KAILUA-KONA — Kamehameha had an urgent appointment Saturday back in Keaau — prom night.
The Warriors also traveled home after Friday’s Big Island Interscholastic Federation semifinal win over Waiakea, and drove back to Kona Community Aquatic Center on Saturday morning for the title game.
The result was a team that coach Dan Lyons said was not mentally prepared to play.
Still, the Warriors claimed their fourth straight undefeated season, topping Hawaii Prep 12-5 on Saturday to earn the BIIF’s top spot in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association tournament. The state tournament takes place May 7-10 on Oahu.
“We made a lot of mental mistakes,” Lyons said. “But a lot of that was Hawaii Prep. They forced us into a lot of difficult shots.”
The Warriors (12-0) struggled in the first half. Many shots went wide or hit the goalposts, and the Warriors went 0-for-3 on penalty shots. Hawaii Prep even scored the game’s first goal, as Bhillie Luciani gave the Ka Makani the the lead midway through the first quarter.
But Kamehameha found a bright spot in Sydney Plunkett. She scored three of her goals in the first half, including the tying one shortly after Luciani’s goal, to help Kamehameha hold a 4-1 halftime advantage. Plunkett finished with six goals.
“I’m so sad to be leaving my team and my coach,” Plunkett said after the game. “Without my coach, I wouldn’t be here today. I mean that literally.”
Plunkett provided both second-quarter goals, helping the Warriors to take the advantage despite the struggles.
Despite the slow start, Lyons was pleased with the way the game progressed.
“This is the first time in a long time we were able to play our starters a whole game,” Lyons said. “This is good for us going into states, to build our stamina.”
Hawaii Prep trimmed the lead to 4-2 on Jellian Cuartero’s third-quarter goal, but Ka Makani (8-5) could get no closer.
“We wanted to clog the middle, make it hard on their shooters, and hopefully we could get some goals in transition,” HPA coach Greg McKenna said. “We have some fast swimmers, and we wanted to outswim them today.”
Chloe Martins-Keliihoomalu added three second-half goals for Kamehameha. Halia Nahale-a, Pua Wong and Acacia Trusdell each added one.
Luciani and Cuartero scored two goals each for Hawaii Prep (8-4), and Anu Nihipali scored one.
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