Kahuku’s Paselio Shines At State Basketball Tourney

Long before the recent Hawaiian Airlines Division I Girls’ State Basketball Tournament, Kahuku senior Leighlani Paselio had already sealed her reputation as a steady performer. As a closing gesture, she then followed up her regular season with a stellar state tournament to end her prep career in style.

“She had a great state tournament, and she was a consistent player all year,” Kahuku coach Scott De Silva said of Paselio, a Florida transfer. “She’s coachable and she understands the game.”

Paselio averaged a teambest 15.9 points per game, which placed her second in OIA Red (and fourth in the state) behind the league’s Player of the Year, Ashley Savusa of Kaimuki.

She reached double-figures in all but one game and had a season-high of 26 in a win over Lahainaluna at the Hawaiian Airlines Division I State Tournament. Her regularseason high of 21 came in a win over Kalaheo in early January.

Defensively, Paselio was also a key contributor for Kahuku.

“For much of the season, we played a 3-2 because we faced a lot of good shooting teams,” De Silva said. “She had to learn to play in the middle where we put her, and once she did, it made a difference in teams having trouble shooting against us. And what really helped us at the end of games (in the post-season) was our defense. Everyone learned to rotate the way they were supposed to.”

Red Raider teammate Fia Tailele-Latu was named to the Second Team. A junior, Tailele-Latu averaged 6.1 points per game and also was one of Kahuku’s defensive stoppers.

“She has so much potential and athleticism and skill,” De Silva said of Tailele-Latu, Kahuku’s leader-in-waiting. “When she learns to finish (scoring plays) better and matures more, she’ll be a great player.”

Kahuku took third at the Hawaiian Airlines Division I State Tournament and finished 15-5 overall this winter. The Red Raiders went 9-2 versus OIA competition.

Kalynn Latu, Mata Tonga and Tyra Williams were named to the Honorable Mention team from Kahuku.

Castle had five players Brittany Hawn, Darren Dolosin, Ana Tilton, Ella Tuamalu and Joshell Lilio make the Honorable Mention Team.

Neighboring Kailua also had five players named Honorable Mention, including Asia-Lyn Butin, Christina Green, Brianna Kassebeer, Kahoa Mikaele and Patria Vaimaona.

Receiving Honorable Mention from Kalaheo were Gabby Clark, Rebekah Kahlbaum, Ulu Perry, Taylor Souza and Jayla Tamashiro.