Maryknoll earns
a spot in states

McCabe Gym is no longer a house of horror for the Maryknoll girls basketball team. A year ago, the Spartans missed qualifying for the state tournament after losing there to a team they beat twice in the regular season.

This year Maryknoll turned the tables on Iolani and captured the Interscholastic League of Honolulu's third berth into the state tournament with a 52-34 rout of the Raiders. The victory yesterday at McCabe Gym lifted the Spartans into the state tournament for the first time since 1998.

The Spartans avenged two regular-season losses to the Raiders. Maryknoll lost an overtime battle in the first meeting of the season and could not withstand a fourth-quarter charge by Iolani in the second meeting and lost by three points. This time, the Spartans had their offense and defense grooving the whole game.

Maryknoll shot 47 percent from the field and was 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. The Spartans' offensive production was due in part to the growing confidence of a young squad. Maryknoll started three sophomores, a junior and a senior.

"We always had good shooters, but they were always hesitant. We told them just play basketball. We know you can shoot the ball," Maryknoll coach Bobby Samson said. "It's been a journey getting them to post up. It's been a journey all season and it's finally falling into place. Some of the big girls were out a couple of games, so the chemistry wasn't there. I'm so happy for them to get to the state tournament."

Sophomore Sela Fisilau scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds to lead the Spartans (9-7).

Maryknoll drew first blood when senior Diana Samson popped in a 3-pointer. Maryknoll surged to an 11-7 lead but Iolani's Hennasea Tokumura canned a trey to put the Raiders up 12-11. Sophomore Tammie Andres hit a jumper from the free-throw line as the Spartans took back the lead at the end of the first quarter.

Maryknoll blitzed Iolani with a 12-2 run to open the second period and never looked back. The Raiders never got the penetration they were looking for inside and couldn't get their perimeter shots to fall.

"A lot of credit has to go to Maryknoll's defense " Iolani coach Glenn Takara said. "We had some good looks, but most of the shots were contested.

"Their defense made it hard. It was a little bit frustrating. We forced some shots. Maryknoll played good offense, too. They made a lot of shots and had key rebounds."

Iolani's Ginger Gravelle, the ILH's leading scorer, didn't score her first field goal until the third quarter. Gravelle was held to eight points with four of them coming from the charity stripe. She did snag 10 rebounds, but most were off Iolani misses.

The Raiders (11-5) have won this tournament the past two years but won't make a third consecutive trip to the state tournament.

Samson won't be able to play in the state tournament either because she is a fifth-year senior. But she was ecstatic to close out her career with a win.

"It feels like I'm on top of the world," Samson said. "It's a perfect ending to my senior year. It took some hard, intense practices to win. We did a good job talking."

At McCabe Gym

Iolani (11-5) 12 6 6 10 -- 34

Maryknoll (9-7) 13 12 6 21 -- 52

IOLANI -- Jackie Lynn Sasaki 2, Jennifer Nagamine 2, Hennasea Tokumura 6, Lana Young 8, Ginger Gravelle 8, Marci Kang, Alana Wall, Jayci Tashiro, Kiani Wong, Patricia Wong 3, Keri Oyadomori 3, Chelsea Wong 2.

MARYKNOLL -- Diana Samson 6, Jessica Akamine 6, Tammie Andres 8, Whitney Wong 7, Jessica Ho 2, Cheryl Lee 9, Sela Fisilau 14.

3-point goals -- Iolani (3): Tokumura 2, Patricia Wong. Maryknoll (3): Whitney Wong 2, Samson.


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