I was happy to get to the game in time after rushing from the Lahaina Civic Center where I was shooting the JV girls beat Baldwin. Parking was tight and the gym was pretty full. The excitement was in the air as the much anticipated match-up between Maui's best girls' basketball team - Lahainaluna was going up against the tall, athletic team from Oregon that pretty much dominated their half of the bracket. For the Lady Lunas, this game would be a good test to see how good they are before heading into the MIL regular season.
The Lady Lunas, playing with a very high, but controlled, energy, raced out to an 8-0 lead. Not sure Lake Oswego expected that first punch. The speed, athleticism, aggressiveness and fearlessness of the Lady Lunas was nothing like what they had faced from the other teams in this tournament. For the first time, it seemed Lake Oswego was facing a team that was neither afraid nor intimidated by them.
The referees - Kau, Justice and Vaught - were calling this game tight. Because of the Lady Lunas' style of play and aggressive trapping, this allowed Lake Oswego to stay relatively close throughout the game. I had flashbacks to the HHSAA tournament last year, when our bigs got into foul trouble early. Here, our biggest player, Petiola Tuakoi, was hit with two fouls in the first half of the double-foul variety. Geez! Give the players a warning first before you start doling out the double fouls!
Even with Tuakoi in foul trouble, the Lady Lunas continued to play their game. Ana Lauese, obvoiusly hobbling from a sore knee, never backed down. Despite giving up a lot of inches to her taller opponents, she outmuscled, outquicked and outhustled Lake Oswego. The rest of the team followed her lead. Everyone contributed in this game.
Lake Oswego did come to within 2 points in the middle of the fourth quarter, 42-40. But a putback by Princess Lauvao off a missed free throw sealed the deal for the victory. Great job, Lady Lunas!
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