Maryknoll’s free-throw shooting was horrendous Thursday, but a late comeback victory can cure many ills.
The Spartans went 10-for-25 from the line, a paltry 40 percent, but amid the feel-good postgame celebration, free-throw shooting was not on top of coach Chico Furtado’s mind after the thrilling 47-46 over ILH rival Punahou at Ching Gymnasium.
That could change when Maryknoll, the fifth-ranked team in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Top 10, returns to practice Friday.
With Thursday’s win in hand, Furtado was smiling broadly after his girls pulled it out on Maegan Martin’s inside shot on an overhead pass by Lexi Delovio.
That clutch play put Maryknoll up with 9.5 seconds left, and the Spartans made it official with a steal on No. 3 Punahou’s final possession.
It was an amazing fourth quarter for Maryknoll (5-0), which outscored Punahou 20-9 in the quarter.
But don’t let that 11-point margin fool you too much. These girls — from both teams — were going at it at a high pace and giving everything they had. Red faces and sweat everywhere.
Some hustle plays and timely steals, especially by Delovio, along with Punahou’s faltering from the charity stripe — 5-for-11 in the fourth period — made the final difference.
“At halftime, we said to them, ‘This is your gym. Do you want to get blown out in your own gym?’ ” Furtado said. “We kept scrambling and nipping away (at Punahou’s lead, which was as high as 16 points in the third quarter).”
Moments after the win, Delovio did not look like she had just spearheaded the big comeback. It didn’t appear like she had broken a sweat.
“It’s all here in the towel,” she said, apparently after tidying up a bit.
The 5-foot-6 junior spotted Martin and hit her with the high pass for the final bucket when Martin’s defender left her to pressure Delovio.
“Lexi made some fabulous plays,” Furtado said, “and we wanted the ball in her hands.”
Martin, who scored the game-winner, said Furtado kept telling them that the Spartans were the best team on the floor.
“We started slow and were down by so much, but got closer and closer,” she said. “We have to think that we’re the better team, and we had to prove it on the court. We had to play our hardest, harder than them, and outhustle them.”
Punahou (4-1) was without starting point guard Kamaile Kandiah, who has the potential to be a difference-maker the next time the two teams play.