Categorized | Basketball, Featured, Sports, Videos

Feb. 5, 2011 proclaimed ‘Konawaena H.S. Girls Basketball Day’

Mayor Billy Kenoi poses with members of the 2011 girls basketball state champion Konawaena Wildcats. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Baron Sekiya)

Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

The 2011 state girls basketball champions arrived home in Kona on Saturday evening with the trophy, the tournament’s most outstanding player and a new team motto.

Mayor Billy Kenoi was on hand at Kona International Airport, with family and friends, to welcome home the Konawaena Wildcats girls basketball team, which won its fourth state title Friday night by defeating arch rival Punahou, 49-45.

Kenoi declared Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 to be Konawaena Wildcats Girls Basketball Day in the County of Hawaii and congratulated the team and coach Bobbie Awa.

“I just want to say thanks to you guys for making the whole island proud and making all of Kona proud,” he said, sporting a Konawaena sweatshirt. “I know you played for each other and you played for your coaches and parents and your school, but you also played for the community and the whole island. And we are so proud of you all.”

Division I All-Tournament first team selection Anuhea Wall walked through the airport with both arms wrapped around the trophy.

“Its really cool to hold it. I’m not letting it go,” said the senior center. “When that buzzer went off, I was ecstatic that we won.
I’m just so happy to end my senior season of high school basketball like that.”

Junior Lia Galdeira was named the tournament’s most outstanding player and led the team with 15 points in the championship game, even though she was suffering from flu-like symptoms.

Immediately after Friday’s win, Galdeira said she wouldn’t be thinking about last year’s loss anymore.

Sophomore Chrysa Dacalio said the team was fired up and ready to take back that trophy.

“We were all excited about the game, but feeling a little bit iffy about it before. But we really, really wanted it really bad,” she said. “That last 2 minutes of the game, we had a feeling. And then finally all that running in practice paid off. We’ve been going around for the last 24 hours, saying ‘The Champs are Here.’ We’re pretty happy about that.”

Dacalio credited Awa with preparing the team for its run at the state tournament.

“She’s the best coach ever,” she said, “even though she yells a lot at us. But we know it always means something and we listen. I mean, look where we are now!”

Awa led the team to a fourth state title for Konawaena.

“Every year it’s different, but these girls just have a lot of heart. They dedicated every minute every day to winning. They put in the time and worked hard every day,” Awa said. “They wanted it. Every one of them wanted to be the one to step on that floor for that game.”

After last year’s heart-breaking loss to Lahainaluna, the team adopted the motto ‘Unfinished Business.’ After the conclusion of Friday’s championship game, the girls stuck duct tape across the letters ‘Un’ on their T-shirts. Now, it’s ‘Finished Business.’

“It just hurt so bad last year and there was absolutely nothing we could do about it,” Awa said. “Not until this year and the girls worked so hard for it. This is an amazing feeling – to win the state tournament. It’s about the girls, their parents, the community.”

Awa said she appreciated the support from fans who traveled to Honolulu for the state tournament.

“Big mahalos to the community. We have a great fan base,” she said. “We’ve had so many people who support us that don’t even have girls on the team. Even the state paddlers (who competed Friday on Oahu) came out.”

Awa said she will take only a short break before focusing on the boys basketball season.

“Tomorrow I take a break. Maybe we can take a break for a week, then it’s the boys season,” Awa said. “And I know these girls will be in there, running and lifting weights. Anytime they can pick up a basketball, you know they be in there.”

According to, Konawaena ended the season as the No. 25 ranked girls team in the country, with a record of 32-1. The Wildcats only lose was to Brea Olinda, Calif., the No. 1 ranked team in the country.

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