The second semifinal of the ‘Iolani Classic pits Indiana and another SoCal team, Fairfax. Potent teams like this are a big reason why the Classic is one of the premiere tournaments in the nation.
Fairfax is doing all it can to slow the pace and La Lumiere is content to offer some pressure with a 1-3-1 halfocurt zone, but they haven’t gone all out trapping.
Still, Isaiah Coleman’s halfcourt bank shot sparked the Lakers and gave them a 13-8 lead going into the second quarter. After Fairfax threw the ball away with 11.1 seconds to go in the second quarter, the Lakers got a 25-foot trey from Coleman at the buzzer for a 19-10 halftime lead.
Coach Harvey Kitani’s game plan is working. The Lions are down nine, but against a tall, long and athletic La Lumiere team, this is going to keep them within range. They’re not really looking to shoot, though they’re willing to take a contested 10-footer. Not sure if that’s in Coach Kitani’s game plan, but it’s clear that his guys have bought into tonight’s strategy. They want this championship bad.
And La Lumiere has rushed shots and committed uncharacteristic turnovers in response. It ain’t pretty basketball, but the full house here at ‘Iolani hasn’t let out a single “boo”. Yet.
4:35 left in the third quarter, still 19-10.
Brian Bowen drives left and scores. LL 21-10, 3:50 and counting in the third.
Lob pass to big Jeremiah Tilmon (6-11) on the block and he scores for a 23-10 LL lead. Time out, Fairfax, 3:12. Is this when Kitani junks the slower tempo or do they dig in and stick with the snail’s pace?
Fairfax still patient, but this time the Lions attack the baseline and Babacar Thionbane scores in traffic on an extra-effort putback. 21-12.
LL scores inside, but Jamal Hartwell answers with a straightaway trey. 25-15, 1:49 to go in the third.
A 3 by the Lions cuts it to 25-18, and Hartwell adds a long 2 from the top to cut the lead to 25-20 with 6:11 left.
Now it’s the Lakers holding the ball near midcourt as the Lions sit back in man defense at the 3-point line. Good move by the Lakers. They have nothing to lose by inching closer to the title game one second at a time. What’s interesting is that Kitani is working with the rules he has. In the CIF, they play with a shot clock and he’d never be able to employ his strategy. But it’s working. His team is within 5 and he’s telling his guys to stay back. More than 2 minutes have melted off the clock.
We are at 4 minutes and the crowd is getting restless. The clock ticks down to 3:30 and the Lions go to midcourt to meet the ball. Tyger Campbell drives left and draws a foul. The foul count: Fairfax has three and La Lumiere zero. Time out, 3:25.
LL has subbed in 6-10 center James Banks. Bowen drives hard, misses a layup and follows it. 27-20, 2:50. FAX still spreading the court and being meticulous, looking for an open 3. Time down to 2:00. Open 3 for FAX, but they miss. Rebound La Lumiere. Time out, 1:26.
Campbell hits two foul shots and FAX misses an open 3. Tilmon at the line, :20.2 left. Misses, ball out of bounds, FAX ball.