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.”
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