By Ernest Stone
Up three points with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Galileo freshman point guard Cassidy Chan sunk two free throws to put the Lions up five points and seal the game.
Shortly thereafter, Galileo exhaled. The Lions, who entered the second half with a 22-7 lead, had just held off a furious Urban comeback bid to win 39-34 in the first round of the Lincoln Tournament at Lincoln High School on Thursday.
“I was pretty nervous,” Chan said. “But I realized, if I can hit in practice, it can’t be much different than hitting it in the game.”
After establishing a 10-point lead and allowing just 21 points by the end of the third quarter, it seemed that Galileo wouldn’t need to call on Chan for her pair of clutch free throws.
“Our defense in the half court was working fine,” said Urban head coach Hope Broadus. “It was our transition defense that allowed so many easy baskets, and that’s why they pulled away in the first half.”
As rough as the first half was for Urban, it established its identity as a team that tries to utilize its size and score in the paint from the opening tip.
While struggles from the free-throw line and numerous turnovers rendered the Blues’ offense ineffective in the first half, their commitment to their offense yielded great results late in the second half. Down by 10 points with seven minutes left, the Blues scored almost at will, bringing the game to within three points.
“We brought in a lineup that hadn’t played together too much,” said Galileo head coach Don Papa. “We have a lot of depth and I tried to tinker with it, but obviously things didn’t work as well doing that in the second half.”
On offense, the second half was a steep departure from the first for the Lions, who followed a first half of crisp and patient offensive possessions with a second half of turnover-ridden play.
Combined with the Lions’ struggles and the Blues’ new-found offense, Urban outscored the Lions 17-8 in the final 10 minutes of play.
Luckily for Galileo, the clock was on its side, as the Blues’ late rally was ended by Chan and the final buzzer.
While Urban falls to 0-2 on the season, its late run should be a confidence booster heading forward this season.
As for the Lions (2-0), a team with 11 sophomores and freshman combined, the close loss will motivate them to close out games more convincingly.
“We just need to learn to calm down in close situations,” said Chan, who finished with 11 points. “We are young, but we have played high school ball before, and we should be fine.”
Cassidy Chan – 11
Kim Fung – 6
Jacqueline Guila-Dimalit – 4
Julie Hwang – 4
Bianca Hussein – 4