Kahuku/Moanalua, Mililani/Kalani: OIA title up for grabs

Kalani forward Logan Luke drove baseline on Kahuku guard Leiah Naeata in the second quarter of a game last month. Both teams have advanced to the OIA semifinals. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

Nitty-gritty time is here in girls basketball.

In the OIA, the East has been the beast with three of the four teams in the semifinal round. Tonight at McKinley Student Council Gymnasium, East 1 Kahuku takes on East 3 Moanalua, the latter being the hottest team — with the biggest wins — of the past two weeks. Moanalua knocked off front runners Kahuku and Kalani in back-to-back games.

Moanalua (15-9, 7-3 OIA East) eliminated West 6 Kapolei 38-22 on Tuesday and then toppled West 2 Radford 43-36 the next night to capture a state-tournament berth. With Delylah Sanerivi and Kelcie Leong playing some of their best basketball of the season, Na Menehune have emerged as the Cinderella team.

That would’ve sounded strange when the season began with a team that has experience and talent like Moanalua. Kahuku (10-9, 8-2 OIA East) stepped into that role and was a Cinderella story. A team heavily dependent on underclassmen, Kahuku stunned the rest of the East en route to first place. Sisi Kaufusi (21 points per game) has been a double-double machine and freshman point guard Leiah Naeata has been a revelation for the Lady Raiders, who overpowered Campbell 52-30 on Wednesday to seal a state berth.

Tip-off for Kahuku and Moanalua is 5:30 p.m.

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