After first-round losses in the 18th annual Wahine Classic, both the Baldwin High School and Seabury Hall girls basketball teams were looking to bounce back Friday.
Thanks in large part to Kaci Shimabuku, the Bears were the ones who got on track.
Shimabuku scored 14 of her 16 points in the first quarter, and Baldwin defeated Seabury 52-28 at Erdman Athletic Center, earning a berth in today's fifth-place game against Punahou II.
Baldwin High School’s Kaci Shimabuku looks to pass to Alissa Maree Nakamura as Seabury Hall’s Elle Rega defends during the Bears’ 52-28 victory over the Spartans on Friday in a Wahine Classic fifth-place semifinal at Erdman Athletic Center.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"Last night I was missing all of my shots, so coming into this game I really wanted to get off to a hot start," Shimabuku said.
Baldwin lost 26-24 to Kapolei on Thursday, going scoreless in the first quarter. The Bears struggled at the start on Friday, too, falling behind 8-2, but Shimabuku subbed in and hit four 3-pointers during a 17-3 run to close the quarter.
Baldwin led 27-17 at halftime after shooting 10-for-13 from the field, and went on to earn the Maui Interscholastic League's first victory at the tournament.
"In that first quarter, we tried to platoon and get everybody some playing time," said Bears coach Angel Kalehuawehe. "Well, it didn't really work out so we had to make some adjustments and rotate guys in there. We looked like we weren't warmed up, so we wanted the team to get comfortable."
Shimabuku said Kalehuawehe gave the team a message at halftime.
"Coach told us that we needed to calm down, stop dribbling so much and run the play," Shimabuku said. "I felt like us older players needed to step up and help some of the younger players."
Kalehuawehe said that the game plan was to put pressure on the ball.
"I got 16 girls and about a third of them are on junior varsity, so I wanted everyone to rotate in and work on team defense and trapping," Kalehuawehe said. "We're a small team, so a half-court game is going to be pretty difficult with a bunch of 5-foot guards. So we're looking to get some defensive steals and use that as a part of our offense."
Unlike the Bears, the Spartans aren't lacking in size.
The MIL's reigning Division II champions, who will face Kamehameha Maui for seventh place, have four players over 5-9. That group includes Tiana Camarillo, the league's D-II Player of the Year last season, and Tiare Camarillo, a first-team All-Star. Shayla Hoeft, one of six freshmen on the roster, stands the tallest at 6-1.
"We've got a really young team," said Seabury coach Heidi Burger. "We have six brand-new freshmen and some of them have never played we're still trying to figure out which group works together the best and which girls should go where."
Tiana Camarillo scored 13 points for Seabury, which committed 28 turnovers.
"We knew they were going to be really scrappy," Burger said of the Bears. "So we needed to box out and make good passes, or else they were going to get picked off."
Baldwin has two seniors.
"We were really young last year and it was just about survival," Kalehuawehe said. "This year there's a lot of teams that are pretty well set, so it's going to be pretty close. Our players are pretty inexperienced, but they're quickly learning and I know that we'll give a lot of teams a run for their money."
* Chris Sugidono is at email@example.com