MAKIKI — This one was a little too close for comfort for Chico Furtado's liking.
Rhianne Omori hit four 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 16 points as Maryknoll held off a frantic fourth-quarter rally from visiting Kamehameha to escape with a 52-51 win at Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium Friday night.
The Spartans, who are ranked first in the ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Girls Basketball Power Rankings, improved to 5-0 and stretched their lead atop the Interscholastic League of Honolulu's Division I standings to 1 1/2 games over second-place Iolani (4-2).
Maryknoll led by as many 18 points and held a 48-31 advantage after three quarters, but was outscored by the Warriors 20-4 in the final stanza.
Kamehameha opened the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run and continued to chip away at the Spartans' lead, pulling within four at 51-47 on Mikiala Maio's 3-pointer from straightaway.
Kamalu Kamakawiwoole hit the front end of two free throws to stretch Maryknoll's lead back to five points. However, a free throw by Jewel Paaluhi-Caulk and a 3-pointer by Kiana Vierra made it a one-point game with 26 seconds remaining.
The Warriors had a chance to take their first lead since 3-2 in the closing seconds, but Vierra's runner was no good and Kamakawiwoole was fouled after pulling down the defensive rebound. She missed both free throws — a recurring theme for Maryknoll Friday — and Maio grabbed the rebound, but was unable to get off a desperation shot from three-quarters length of the court as time expired.
"We're very fortunate to get out of there with a win," said Furtado, the fifth-year Maryknoll coach. "At one point I wouldn't have been surprised if we lost that game, but we had to defend for the final 18 seconds and we couldn't foul or let anybody get to the basket, so I thought that we played 18 seconds of damn good defensive basketball at the end."
Free-throw shooting was of no help to the Spartans, who made just 8 of 24 from the line, including 2 of 10 in the fourth quarter.
"If we go 8 for 10 (in the fourth quarter) the game is not close," Furtado said. "But, all of this is nothing to do with effort; our kids played hard and they're trying. It's having focus, it's understanding situations, it's our guard play knowing how to control tempo — all of those things are a continued work in progress."
Kamehameha coach Joe Cho was critical of the officiating down the stretch.
"The last possession we had, I think we were fouled at least twice and didn't get the call. It's just unbelievable," Cho said. "I mean, they were physically abusing us on top and yet, no call, but that's the way it goes."
It was the second straight game that the Warriors' fourth-quarter heroics came up short. They outscored Iolani, 12-7, in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's game, but lost 55-50.
"Against Iolani it was the same thing where we make a valiant effort in the fourth quarter, but we've got to get more consistent all four quarters instead of trying to finally play in the fourth quarter, so we've got to work on that and build on that, but it's frustrating," Cho said. "Those are two teams we probably should have beat and we didn't beat."
Omori, a 5-foot-2 junior guard, knocked down three treys and had 10 points by halftime. Kamakawiwoole, a 5-foot-9 sophomore wing, finished with 11 points and five blocks for the Spartans, who went on a 17-2 first quarter run en route to a 34-21 halftime lead.
Maio scored a game-high 18 points and Paaluhi-Caulk added 13 for Kamehameha, which committed 22 turnovers.
The Warriors dropped their second straight league game to fall to 1-3.
Maryknoll junior center Isabella Cravens left the game with 2:20 remaining with an apparent leg injury.
"She bruised that knee at the Iolani Classic and I don't know if she fell on it or re-injured it — I haven't talked to the trainer, so I don't know — but I don't think it's anything more than that," Furtado said.
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