The bank is Caitlyn Andrade-Tomimoto’s friend.
Sixth-ranked Punahou trailed 30-29 when the senior guard drove through traffic and hit a running bank shot from 12 feet out with 6 seconds to play, giving the Buffanblu a stunning 32-31 win over No. 4 Maryknoll on Monday night at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.
Andrade-Tomimoto hit two huge shots in the clutch, scoring four points in the final 34 seconds.
The winning shot began with Punahou inbounded from the baseline at its basket with 11 seconds left.
“The first option was me, then (center Aleah Liilii) for the and-1,” guard Melody Lum said.
Both options were covered, however. Andrade-Tomimoto found a crease and turned on the jets.
“I did. I called bank. I didn’t even know how much time was left,” she said.
Punahou coach Gary Pacarro was in good spirits after the thriller.
“It’s a good thing I took my blood pressure medicine,” he said. “She’s the smallest guard, I think, in the ILH, but she has the biggest heart. That’s why she’s our captain. She’s awesome. I didn’t hear her (call bank), but I’ll take it. I’m proud of the fact that we persevered.”
The Buffanblu relied on a swarming man-to-man defense to overcome early-game jitters.
“What helped us was our defense. We’ve worked on out defense so much. It’s hard defense, not just the people on the court. It’s a whole team effort,” Lum said.
“That’s what got us through,” Andrade-Tomimoto said. “I always hear the support of our bench and that’s what keeps our defense alive all the time.”
Liilii led Punahou with seven points. Serenity Moananu, Mahalo Akaka and Kyla Neumann scored six points each for Maryknoll.
It was the ILH regular-season opener for the visiting Spartans of Maryknoll (5-2 overall). Punahou (10-2, 1-1) was at home for the first time in league play after losing at No. 1 ‘Iolani two days earlier.
The Buffanblu faced a stingy 2-3 matchup zone by Maryknoll from the opening tip. Spartans coach Chico Furtado stayed with it to the bitter end.
“Chico’s team is big and strong. They’re very disciplined,” Pacarro said. They weren’t going to come out of that 2-3 zone. I was very surprised. I thought that he would come out and at least play some man, but people don’t want to run with us because we’re too deep right now. ‘Iolani will run with us, but we know that we can wear them down if we’ve got our chance. Every game’s going to be like this in the ILH. It’s the toughest game in the state.”
The Spartans have been a pressing and running team with this group of underclassmen, but elected to slow the tempo against the platooning Buffanblu.
“Eventually, if they kept that lead down the stretch and we had to go man, we would go man,” Furtado said. “I thought if we extend it and do some trapping out of it, but defense wasn’t our problem. We just have a hard time scoring sometimes.”
Maryknoll point guard Aloha Akaka sat for most of the second quarter when she picked up a fourth foul, or so the Spartans thought. In fact, the official scorebook had her with just three, Furtado learned later.
“I thought Kira Kaopua did a nice job coming off the bench, our backup point guard,” he added. “But it’s hard to replace Aloha.”
Maryknoll lost Lily Koki to an ankle injury with 2:55 left in the third quarter. She challenged a lob pass by Punahou on the back side of the Spartans’ zone and landed awkwardly, clutching her ankle immediately. Koki finished with five points and did not return. She had just scored 18 points, including five 3-pointers, in a nonconference win over Sacred Hearts on Saturday.
“Unfortunately, we had a six-game preseason. We played Konawaena, Lahainaluna, Kahuku. Three good teams, but the preseason didn’t give us the kind of work we’re looking for,” Furtado said. “So now we get into the season and it’s going to be a war.”
Maryknoll led 10-4 after one quarter while Punahou looked visibly amped up. Free throws were long, shots were erratic. The Buffanblu settled down in the second quarter and went ahead 16-14 on a offensive board and lefty drive to the hoop by Tara Kaneshiro.
Two free throws by Hannah Urbano gave Punahou an 18-16 lead late in the first half, and the home team led 20-18 at intermission. They opened the lead to 26-18 on a feed from Urbano to Shania Moananu on a fastbreak with 50 seconds left in the third.
Maryknoll chipped away with a free throw by Brandi Tobin, a jumper from Moananu, and a corner 3 by Neumann on a pass from Mahalo Akaka. After a free throw by Mahalo Akaka, she raced downcourt for a fastbreak layup to give the visitors a 29-28 lead with 2:55 left.
After Aloha Akaka sank two FTs with 1:13 to go, Maryknoll was in the driver’s seat with a 31-28 lead.
Andrade-Tomimoto did not made a single bucket until the final quarter. In the final minute, she drove on towering Maryknoll center Taimana Falefina-Auwae and was rejected. Andrade-Tomimoto wasn’t deterred, scoring a moment later on a reverse layup over the 6-foot Falefina-Auwae to bring Punahou within 31-30 with 33.9 seconds remaining.
Maryknoll was in position to win, but point guard Aloha Akaka’s pass near the left wing surprised sister Mahalo Akaka. Lum scooped up the loose ball for Punahou, and in the ensuing possession, Lum’s straightaway 3 curled out.
The Buffanblu hit the hardwood to retrieve the offensive rebound, calling time out with 11 seconds remaining.
“That last time out they called, that should’ve been a jump ball if we get down and go grind it out,” Furtado said. “But (Punahou) is on the floor getting the ball, and we’re reaching for it, you know? If we get that jump ball, the arrow’s in our favor.”
Punahou inbounded to Andrade-Tomimoto at the top of the key, and she dribbled halfway to the right wing before darting toward the basket. She lofted up her shot as three defenders closed in, and the high-arching attempt kissed the backboard before slipping through the net.
With no time outs left, Maryknoll inbounded to Aloha Akaka, who dribbled up the right sideline.
“I saw her going and, hey, that’s my man,’ “ Lum said.
Lum contested Akaka’s shot from just inside the midcourt line, which missed at the buzzer.
“Offensively, we’ve got to be able to handle pressure without turning the ball over. ‘Iolani, Punahou, Kamehameha, they all pressure the ball. Rebounding out of the zone. Punahou beat us to every long rebound,” Furtado said. “There’s a lot of things when you lose by one point, but we’ve got to move on.”
Maryknoll has eight days between games and will host No. 1 ‘Iolani on Dec. 17. Punahou also will wait until Dec. 17 to host Kamehameha.