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One Year’s Worth Of Memorable Moments In West Sports

From the gridiron to the hardwood, from the diamond to the track, 2012 will be remembered as an extraordinary year in West Oahu high school sports. Led by Waipahu’s incredible baseball season, the West Side once again boasted some of the state’s top teams and players. A summation of some of the memorable moments involving prep sports in MidWeek‘s West Oahu Islander communities follows.

Waipahu baseball team wins DII state title

Waipahu High’s baseball team closed out an unbeaten season in style May 11 at Les Murakami Stadium, eking out a 1-0 win over top-seeded Waiakea in the championship game of the Division II state tournament. The Marauders, who had captured the OIA title days earlier, defeated both Konawaena (6-0) and Maryknoll (9-2) in the state tournament to reach the title game. The win over Waiakea in the finale was a fitting end to a perfect season.

Winning pitcher Micah Luke also showed his share of grit after loading the bases on three separate occasions in that game. He got out of each of those predicaments and went on to deliver the game-winning hit on a double to left field that had plated Drake Yoshioka, who had fueled the inning for Waipahu with a one-out single. Luke, Yoshioka and fellow senior leaders Jarinn Abreu and Dylan Sugimoto depart the program having been among the best to come out of the school.

Winning the state title also prompted head coach Milton Takenaka to ponder returning for 2013 after having planned to retire at the end of the 2012 season.

Pearl City girls basketball team wins first-ever OIA title

The Pearl City girls basketball team’s gift Feb. 4 to outgoing head coach Mike Morton was sweet, indeed, as the Chargers delivered to the school its first OIA title in 35 years of basketball. The team edged out Kaimuki 31-27 in the OIA Red championship game at Farrington that night, with senior guard Sabrina Angle driving Pearl City across the finish line by converting a pair of crucial free throws with 10.1 seconds on the clock. As throughout the year, defense was their forte, as the Chargers held Kaimuki to only 31-percent shooting, limiting star Ashley Savusa to seven points and seven rebounds. Pearl City (14-3) went on to make its third straight state tournament appearance under Morton the following week, finishing sixth.

Pearl City wins girls state judo tournament

Pearl City totaled 71 points to win convincingly May 6 over three-time defending champion Punahou (58) at the HHSAA judo championships at the Stan Sheriff Center. Pearl City’s Sanoe Spencer won her third consecutive state judo title in the 220-pound weight division, defeating teammate Dora Matsushima.

Sabers tops in OIA softball, state runner-up

For suspense and drama, the OIA Red softball title game between Campbell and Kapolei April 20 at Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park stood a cut above the rest in West Oahu. A bizarre finish ensured as much, as the Sabers scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning on a botched squeeze play and then watched Kapolei’s game-tying home run reversed on a controversial call in the bottom of the inning to account for a 4-3. The game also will be remembered for showcasing Kawehi Kahana of Campbell and Winona Pauline of Kapolei.

Kahana scored Campbell’s last two runs, the first on a solo home run as well as the go-ahead tally after she reached base on an error. She also made a defensive play that saved a possible extra-base hit. Pauline pitched brilliantly, tossing a three-hitter, one being a popped-up bunt single, and striking out 13.

Campbell’s post-season run continued as the Sabers beat Punahou and Kamehameha in the state tournament to reach the title game. The Sabers were defeated by Mid-Pacific in the finale to finish 13-6 overall. Kapolei’s Pauline was named Player of the Year in girls softball at season’s end.

Kapolei boys basketball team plays for OIA title

The month of February traditionally belongs to Kapolei’s soccer teams, given their long line of successes. But the boys basketball team was the talk of the town in 2012, coming within a game of capturing a first-ever OIA title. Kapolei, which was to finish 15-3 overall under Gary Ellison, had defeated Kahuku in the first of a three-game championship series, but dropped two straight to the Red Raiders to finish as the league’s underdog instead. Even so, 2012 was a breakthrough year for the program. The Hurricanes relied on their balance, as Kiatrell Zachary, Curtis Tavares, Zach Reeves, Joshua Wills, Joshua Farias and Christopher Dillard all came through with big games last season. Kapolei finished as the consolation champion in February at the state tournament.

Parity is order of the day in Red West football race

For the seven teams in the OIA Red West Conference, every weekend was truly an adventure with the margin for error razor thin. The game that best typified the competitiveness in the league – if not the unpredictability – came Sept. 28, when Campbell visited rival Kapolei. The Hurricanes had been overwhelmed by both Leilehua (47-0) and Mililani (45-0) the previous two weeks, while Campbell was riding high after posting an overtime win over Leilehua the Friday before. With the score tied (13-all) at halftime, Kapolei reeled off 22 straight points in the third quarter only to see Campbell come back and outscore the Hurricanes 21-0 in the fourth. Kapolei’s 35-34 win over the Sabers re-ignited the Hurricanes season, as they went on to finish 3-3 in the Red West to earn a playoff berth. Campbell was to finish 3-3 in the league as well.

Waipahu girls soccer team wins first-ever OIA title

Waipahu’s Alyssa Almogela saved her biggest effort for her biggest game, delivering a hat trick to help the Marauders capture their first OIA White Division girls soccer title, 4-1 over Kalaheo Jan. 28. Waipahu’s Jodi Shibata and Almogela scored a combined four goals to give the Lady Marauders the victory. The two juniors scored all their goals in the first half.

Coached by Elaina Paredes, Waipahu finished 9-6 overall, including a sixth-place finish at the Division II state soccer tournament.

West Oahu players excel at state track meet

Both the Baldwin boys and Punahou girls claimed the team titles at the HHSAA state track and field championships at Ke’aau High School May 12, but the day also was good to Pearl City’s Diamond Briscoe, as well as both Devin Jenkins and Charlinda Ioane of Kapolei. For her part, Ioane set a new mark in the shot put of 45-09.75, besting Sarah Bryant of Kaiser’s mark of 44-03 set in 1985. Ioane also finished second in the discus. Briscoe won the 400-meter dash (57.60) and finished second and third in the 200- and 100-yard dashes, respectively. Jenkins shook off the effects of an injury to finish first in the 100 (11.0) and fifth in the 200.

Pearl City boys and girls bowling teams win state championships

From the moment the season began, both Pearl City bowling teams’ rallying cry was to secure the “Triple Crown” – the term both used in reference to their goal of winning the OIA West, overall OIA title and respective state championships again. Both Charger teams held true to their word, delivering in the end. The icing on their respective cakes came Nov. 2 at Kauai Bowl, scene of the state bowling championships. Both Pearl City teams won going away. The boys, who are coached by Jimmy Hayashi, were led by Nicholas Azumi (third place), Ken Hayase-Fong (seventh) and Sheldon Naauao (13th) and totaled 8,792 pins, beating runner-up Mililani (7,914) by 878.

The girls, who are coached by Millie Gomes, received top-10 finishes from AshlynRae Castro (third), Brianna Nakamura (fourth) and Alera Chock (sixth) and amassed 7,761 to beat Mililani (7,264) by 497 pins.

Honor roll

Both Kapolei boys and girls soccer teams finished as runner-up at their respective OIA tournaments. The boys and girls teams from Aiea and Pearl City all qualified for the state tournament as well.

In golf, Campbell’s Rudy Cabalar posted a top-10 finish at the state golf championships in May, compiling a two-round total of 147 to finish in a tie for sixth.