The ILH boys basketball title came down to the final possession.
Maryknoll senior Jordyn Perez converted a 3-point play with 11.1 seconds remaining and the Spartans recovered from blowing a 10-point lead with 3:02 remaining to hold off Punahou 57-52 on Wednesday night for their first league title since 2013.
Perez finished with 11 points and eight rebounds and Jaylen Cain led four Spartans in double figures with 16 points and sealed the game with two free throws with less than a second remaining to set off a storming of the court from the home crowd.
“Every time I’m extremely worried about certain situations, my team rises to the occasion and they come out and perform way (better) than I expect,” Maryknoll coach Kelly Grant said. “They started out in that first half doing a really good job defending them. We did a really good job getting through screens and forcing them to take shots where they didn’t have their feet set.”
After spending a lot of Tuesday’s practice working on fighting through screens and defending the 3-point line, Maryknoll held Punahou to just 16.7-percent shooting (4-for-24) in the first half to build a 23-11 lead.
Punahou opened the second half pressuring Maryknoll full court and forced 18 turnovers to get back into the game.
The Buffanblu tied the game for the first time since the top on Zayne Chong’s two free throws with 39.3 seconds to go.
Maryknoll brought the ball down court and worked time off the clock before Perez dribbled left and found a lane to convert a layup while drawing contact. His free throw made it a 55-52 game.
“Jordyn made a great play. He got a little angle and he took it the hole,” Punahou coach Darren Matsuda said. “I thought we got good shots — shots we normally hit — and we couldn’t hit and it was frustrating.”
“That was on his own,” added Grant. “He’s been doing that for the last three years so I can live with that.”