Girls Basketball: Pinewood holds off Lowell to advance to Sand Dune final

By Josh Levine

In one of the wildest, but lowest-scoring games of the season, Pinewood School outlasted Lowell 32-31 to advance to the championship game of the Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic on Wednesday at St. Ignatius Prep.

With 27 seconds left in the game and Pinewood clinging to a 32-31 lead, Lowell was forced to foul.

After the first foul, which gave the Cardinals their fourth team foul, Lowell (10-3) caught a break when Pinewood’s inbound pass deflected off a Pathers’ player and the Cardinals got the ball with 18 seconds remaining.

Lowell head coach Aki Kuwada called a timeout and the set play they ran had Lowell guard Katarina Lum taking shot from the top of the key with 6 seconds left. The ball bounced out of the rim and fell into the hands of junior forward Lorna Tuufuli.

Tuufuli drove to the right and took a shot, and while many fans shouted for a foul, no infraction was called. The ball bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded, sealing the Pinewood victory.

“We had our chances,” Kuwada said. “I knew it would be close and they played fine defense. I’m not blaming the calls, but it was hard to get momentum.”

Leading the way for the Panthers (9-3) was sophomore Leeana Bade and senior Kelly Doran, who combined for 20 points.

“I can’t tell you how we won today,” said Pinewood head coach Doc Scheppler. “We had a lot of trouble with our turnovers and they got a lot of offensive put-backs. Our defense was really solid and it’s our foundation. In this game, it really comes down to who makes less mistakes, not who is the better team.”

Sophomore guard Kelly Wong led all Lowell scorers with 10 points off the bench, but the Cardinals’ starters only combined for 13 total points.

“One of our best players, Katarina Lum, had a cold night offensively. Overall, offensively we are still out of sync,” Kuwada said. “But our defense held them to 12 points in the second half and we did great with our man-to-man defense.”

Scoring Leaders

Kelly Wong — 10
Lorna Tuufuli — 6
Katarina Lum — 5
Kelly Eshima — 4
Three players tied with 2 points

Leeana Bade — 11
Kelly Doran — 9
Kendahl Wallis-Lang — 6
Marissa Hing — 3
Monique McDevitt — 3

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  1. JJ says:

    So much for the All-Sunset District final…….

  2. spectator says:

    kelly eshima was the one to take the shot and katarina lum took the last layup and looked like she got fouled but the refs didnt call it. lowell couldve had it, but didnt make their free throws and turnovers killed them. however, they will for sure kill in their AAA division league

    • Joshua Levine says:

      The refs couldn’t make a call like that in that situation. They let them play a very loose game; almost no fouls or carries were called, especially in the second half. From where I was sitting, it looked like a foul. But none of us are in their position and I understand why the call wasn’t made. As Aki said, Lowell gave up SO many chances. But I do expect that they will do very well in the AAA. Not many teams can keep with them.

  3. Terry Budafucco says:

    I was at this game. The bad calls went both ways. My opinion is the refs were not “on it” at all.

    I must admit, I expected Lowell to blow out a very young Pinewood team. I was told by all in the stands that Pinewood was not playing up to par, and I really hope Lowell wasn’t either. Both teams made some poor decisions.

    If that was “the real” Lowell team, I hope their league is weak, or they are in trouble. I saw Pinewood play in the Head Royce tournament last week, and they were “ON FIRE”. I really hope this team can keep their heads on straight & play that way tonight against SI, they will need it!

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder if that’s the “real” Lowell team cause I spot some talented players on the bench and some very tired players on the court!

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