Kahuku to the final . . . just.

Hilo and Kahuku will face for the Hawaii Girls state rugby title Saturday.

Hilo won their semifinal over Kalihi 21-12. Hilo opened the scoring and led 7-0, but Kalihi stormed back with two tries to lead 12-7 at halftime. In the second half, the Hilo Reign forwards built a strong platform for the backs and put them over the tryline twice, winning the game 21-12. This multi school team is three-time state champion and is boosted this year by Kona Bulls standouts Maraea Guzman, Kapoina Bailey, Nayeli Kahalewai, and Erica Larsen.

In the other girls semifinal, Kahuku needed overtime to get by Kamehameha. Kahuku started strong and led 15-5 at halftime. But Kamehameha, a new team this year, dominated possession and, when they didn't have the ball, defended superbly. Two tries from Kamehameha tied the game, and that's how regulation ended.

Kahuku coach Nusi Tukuafu gave credit to Kamehameha girls who came out firing and simply wanted it more.

So the game would be decided on conversion kicks. Kahuku won the tiebreaker and will play Hilo in the final.

Stung by the loss, Kamehameha have to take solace in having improved markedly in this their first season.