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Package deal: Cherilyn Molina makes it official, signs on with siblings at Washington State

Updated: 
November 9, 2017 - 12:05am

KEALAKEKUA — Washington State has officially assembled the Molina trifecta.

Cherilyn Molina signed her National Letter of Intent and accepted a full-ride scholarship from the Cougars on Wednesday at Konawaena High School’s Ellison Onizuka Gymnasium, surrounded by family and friends.

“I’m stoked to finally commit and let people know where I’m going,” Molina said. “It’s a huge relief. I know not everyone gets this kind of opportunity and I feel very blessed.”

Among the family members on-hand at the ceremony, two not physically in attendance were Cherilyn’s sisters, Chanelle and Celena, who are already in Pullman, kicking into gear for Washington State’s season.

Chanelle made her commitment to the Cougs in 2016, while Celena signed on after graduating last year.

“There was a thought about going to another school and maybe making my own path, but they convinced me. I’m really comfortable playing with them too, so that will help,” Cherilyn said. “This was the plan — it was a package deal, at least verbally. Then when I went up there and visited the school, I loved it. And I liked getting to know the team, too.”

Molina made her decision official during the early signing period, becoming the Cougs’ first recruit to sign during the current recruiting cycle.

“Cherilyn is a tremendous addition to our Cougar program,” Washington State head coach June Daugherty said. “She is an awesome point guard that has a great knack for passing and shooting the three. The third Molina sister has signed her National Letter of Intent and we could not be more excited for her future here.”

Cherilyn has done anything but become complacent in the large shadow cast by her older siblings. As a junior, she was the Hawaii Gatorade Player of the Year, BIIF D-I Player of the Year and added a third All-BIIF first team selection to her resume.

She was also named the most outstanding player at the HHSAA state tournament, averaging 15 points, 6.1 assist, and 4.3 steals per game, helping the Wildcats to a third consecutive state title.

ESPN’s scouting report on the youngest Molina sister from earlier this summer at the Adidas Gauntlet tournament reads: Confident lead-guard with combo-game delivers off the dribble, penetrates and finishes plays in traffic; crafty, smooth off the dribble, breaks down defender and distributes; deep range threat with a scorer’s mentality.

As the Cougars continue a gradual transformation into a Pac-12 power, bringing on the trio of Molina sisters is a solid building block, which has become evident already.

Chanelle Molina — the eldest of the sisters — became a major contributor for the Cougs as a freshman before seeing her year cut short by a knee injury. She was named to the Pac-12 all-freshman team despite missing a chunk of the year with the injury, averaging 12.8 points on 52 percent shooting, notching double-digit performances in 12 straight games.

Her shining moment as a freshman was a 33-point outburst against then No. 7 UCLA, which helped the Cougars to a 82-73 victory and their biggest upset in school history.

“I’m happy for her,” Cherilyn said of watching her older sister. “She’s making an impact for that team and is making her name known on the mainland.”

Now, Cherilyn will hope to do the same, following not only in her family’s footsteps, but also fellow Konawaena greats Dawnyelle Awa and Lia Galdeira, 2012 Konawaena grads who went on to play for the Cougars. Dawnyelle Awa is now a co-head coach alongside her mother, Bobbie Awa, with the Wildcats.

The Molina sisters have been the centerpieces of some very talented Konawaena squads, helping the program continue a streak of nine straight BIIF Division I titles and a historic BIIF winning streak of 104-0.

But Cherilyn has a chance to do something no other Wildcat — or Molina sister — has done, and that is being a starter on four state title winning teams.

“I joke with them about it, that I have a chance to be the only one with four,” Cherilyn said with a laugh. “I’m excited to play at the next level, but I want to make this year my best.”

Konawaena begins its season this week at the McKinley Black and Gold Classic, with the main event of the tourney being a rematch of last year’s D-I state title game between the Wildcats and Maryknoll on Saturday.

Washington State beat the Masters University 95-57 in an exhibition on Nov. 1, but officially begin the season on the road against UC Davis on Friday.

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