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by Caroline Johnson, staff writer

In the last home game for two HPU seniors, the women’s basketball team prevailed over the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo, 76-63, capping off a historic season. The win gave HPU a 14-13 overall record, breaking the .500 winning percentage for the first time in the program’s history.
The Lady Sea Warriors hit the floor running on March 4 at the Neal Blaisdell Arena as they tipped off senior night against the Lady Vulcans. The game started off at a rapid pace and was a defensive battle leaving the first half a see-saw affair.
The Lady Sea Warriors fought through an eigh-point deficit when Paris Gravely punched their way back in the game. With 2:17 left in the first-half, the game was tied for the first time at 27. Closing in on the final minute of the half, HPU’s Mana Hopkins tied the game at 31 but the Lady Sea Warriors would go into the locker room trailing 33-31.
HPU got off to a good start in the second half when Hopkins took advantage of a steal by Tiffany Wilson and converted a layup to tie the game at 33 points. Although the game remained close, the Lady Vulcans took the lead again, at 51-49, with 7:34 left in the game.
Wilson knocked away three fast points, off a layup and a free throw, to give HPU the lead at 52-51. The Lady Sea Warriors maintained the lead to secure the win. HPU outscored the Lady Vulcans in the second half, 45-30, and finished at 18-24 at the free throw line.
Three HPU players finished in double-digits, led by Paris Gravely with 28 points, followed by Hopkins and Wilson with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Following the game senior guard Monica Chock and senior center Angela Spence were honored for their accomplishments at HPU. “Our team is tight knit like a family,” said Chock. “I mean they knew it was a special night and it was important to us and they pulled through and won.”
Head Coach Jeff Harada, was also pleased with the final outcome. “I knew it would be a tough game, UH-Hilo is always tough,” said Harada. “I knew going into the game there was mixed emotions because it was senior night and you never want to lose on senior night, but the girls pulled through.”
On the men’s side, the Sea Warriors fell to the Vulcans 85-76, in their last home game of the season. Rishi Kakad led HPU with 21 points, while Jeff Ingram and Mike Helton posted 17 and 14 points, respectively. After the game, Jason Curtis, a senior guard from Maryland, and Miodrag “Misha” Radojevic, a senior center from Serbia, celebrated their final home game at HPU.
In the final game of the season, the men’s team fell to BYU-Hawai‘i, 107-70, at Canon Activities Center on March 7, finishing the season with a 9-17 overall record. Women’s team was also defeated by BYUH, 82-72. At the end of the season, the team finished with 14-15 overall record.


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