Four Maui Interscholastic League Division I All-Stars were present at Lahainaluna High School gym Tuesday night. Three of them played for the Lahainaluna Lunas in a showdown against Maui High.
Ledjan Pahukoa and Kiera Kaniho are Lahainaluna players — Pahukoa, a freshman in 2020 and was an All-Star with King Kekaulike. Eldredge and Kaniho were sophomore for the Lunas. The trio are now all upperclassmen.
Maui High had Kayla Thornton however and she proved to be crucial in the Sabers dramatic comeback win 67-62.
Thornton scored 27 points, and was a force in the final stretch to out do Eldredge who had 25 for Lahainaluna High.
Maui High’s record with the win over the 16-time MIL champions rose to 2-0. Lahainaluna is 0-1.
Without Thornton’s outstanding play down the stretch, the Sabers would not have been able to win. They were down by as much as 17 in the first half, down by 13 at the half and trailed 52-42 starting the fourth quarter.
Thornton scored on Leiana Thornton’s , her sister, inbounds pass to give the Sabers an impressive lead of 62-60 with just 1:07 remaining. Eldredge’s steal and breakaway layup tied the score for the Lunas.
Kayla Thornton drove to a basket, scoring left-handed with 14.6 seconds remaining. She was also fouled. Kayla made the three-point play to make 65-62. Then she stole the ball seconds later and fed Leiana Thornton. With 7.5 seconds remaining, she was fouled. Leiana Thornton made the last margin-winning free throws.
Victor Aguirre, Maui High’s coach, was beaming after the team celebrated their victory. In the fourth quarter, the Sabers outscored Lunas 25-10. Kayla Thornton scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. She had 19 in second half.
The Lunas are aware that they will be dealing with the gritty Sabers throughout the season.