The 2nd Annual I Mua Invitational is turning into the premier high school girl’s basketball tournament in Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands of Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii were well represented as well as the 48th State of Arizona. After three days of competition, it was host Kamehameha-Kapalama taking on Hamilton in an instant classic.

From the tip, Hamilton controlled possession anchored by 6 ‘6 Sophomore Center Callie Hinder. The Huskies struck first with a mid-range basket by Ella Malee, but in the very next possession Warrior Center, Nihoa Dunn converted a lay-in to tie it up. Dunn is so skilled inside that the Huskies had a hard time containing her. Hamilton opened up with full court pressure which somewhat flustered Kamehameha’s offensive rhythm.

Warrior Head Coach Pualei Straight, remained calm and kept encouraging to keep chipping away. The 1-2 punch of Dunn and Guard Rylee Paranada helped spark the Warriors to keep chipping away. The Warriors impressed with their fearless play as it looks like a David vs. Goliath matchup. After the First Quarter, it was tied up at 11 a piece. 

The Warriors began the second quarter with possession. The Huskies continued to show a full court press which put their length and athleticism to advantage. Husky Senior Guard Kayla Adams impressed with her ability to lead her team on both ends of the floor. The Huskies went on a run to take a small lead led by Malee but the Warriors roared back retaking the lead on a huge three pointer from Makenzie Alapai. 

To close the quarter, the Warriors got some key plays from Paranada and Dunn. The Huskies have a hard time containing Dunn on the offensive end. The Huskies would bite back and close the quarter with a 6-4 run but the Warriors would hold a 28-21 lead at the half. 

Hamilton would begin the second half with possession of the basketball. Husky Wing Savanna Creal struck first, converted a lay-in and was fouled. She would miss the freethrow and the Warriors would hold a 28-23 lead. The Warriors would strike again with a lay in from Mikylah Labanon.

The Warriors impressed with their perimeter shooting with treys from Labanon, Makenzie Alapai and Rylee Cabuyadaoo-Caswell. A tough turn of events as the Huskies’ Creal had to be subbed out due to receiving her fourth personal foul. The Warriors accurate shooting propelled them to a 42-36 lead after the third quarter. 

The Warriors would begin the fourth quarter with possession. The Huskies look to fluster the Warriors with their full court pressure and would cut the Warriors to four behind Reanna Farrington’s free throws. Then forcing the Warriors into a bad shot cut the lead to two from Malee’s mid-range bucket then forced a turnover and tied the game up with Kayla Adams’ layup at the 4:49 mark. 

Warriors Coach Straight, burned a timeout to regroup and ended up dicing up the Huskies’ full court press with a layup from Dunn. Dunn would miss the free throw but the Warriors got the offensive rebound then gave it back to Dunn who converted a mid-range shot. In the following possession, Hamilton’s Adams would drive and convert a layup to cut the Warriors’ lead to two. 

The teams would trade buckets and possessions until the Warriors caught fire behind the hotshot shooting from Alapai. The Huskies had a breath of fresh life behind a layin from Farrington to cut the lead to 55-50. Ultimately, the Huskies would run out of time and the Warriors would win 57 to 50 in an instant classic. 

Kamehameha’s Dunn finished with 18 points, and 8 rebounds and Hamilton’s Ella Malee finished with 11 points. Dunn was named the Tournament MVP, Paranada was named to the all-tournament team with Hamilton’s Hinder. 

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