Progress can come in small doses, as it did for the McKinley Tigers.
It can also arrive with wrecking-ball impact, and the Sacred Hearts Lancers would be the smashmouth basketball team that no group of petite defenders looks forward to. The Division II Lancers began the McKinley Black and Gold Tournament with a decisive 59-28 loss to defending D-I state champion Konawaena on Thursday. A day later, the Academy grinded out a 56-37 win over Farrington.
By Saturday, their imprint on the tourney was clear. Despite a 3-point bomb attack by host McKinley, the Lancers bumped and bruised their way to success in the paint for a 68-55 win over the Lady Tigers. With just six 3-point attempts — SHA made one — and 27 tries from deep by McKinley, it was a contrast in styles. That made the final game of the tournament an intriguing one to observe.
The Lancers were at times exquisite passers in transition, also using their power in the paint to get easy buckets. Sometimes, higher-percentage, 1970s basketball works just fine today. Sacred Hearts will be tough to stop, even in D-I.
Dallas Martinez scored 16 points in another consistently productive performance as the Lancers’ most versatile weapon in transition and halfcourt offense. Ka‘iulani Harrington (nine points) was solid on both ends of the floor, and Te‘Hina Medeiros scored 12 of her 16 in the second quarter as SHA rallied to open a 39-27 lead.
Medeiros’ scoring burst compounded McKinley’s lapse. Twice, the Lancers scored uncontested layups in transition when nobody got back on defense. Medeiros capped a 9-0 run with a wing 3 on the fastbreak.
The Tigers rallied, though, refusing to submit despite taking a pounding in the trenches from the much larger and stronger Lancers. Colby Lane finished with 17 points and Kloe Lum added 10. Suzie Park added nine points, all on 3-pointers. Lum and Nicole Venzon (seven points), a pair of wings, did their best to defend against SHA’s posts. The contrasting personnel situation nearly worked out for McKinley, which shot 3-for-9 from the arc in the third quarter and 3-for-6 from deep in the fourth.
That helped McKinley get within five points, but the couldn’t overcome the gap the originated with the second-quarter lapses.
The Tigers were red-hot 4-for-6 from the arc in the opening quarter and finished the contest 10-for-27. That’s a very respectable 37 percent, or 55.5-true shooting percentage.
While Sacred Hearts challenges for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu D-II title, McKinley found at least some of its formula for success this week. After losing to Kamehameha 56-28 and Punahou 35-21, the Tigers were unleashed and, for the most part, fearless attacking a bigger team from the arc and off the dribble.
Correction: Sacred Hearts was not in D-II last season.