Girls Basketball
Mater Dei holds off 'Iolani, 60-57, in Classic semifinal


  



Fri, Dec 13, 2019 @ Iolani


Final 1 2 3 4  
Mater Dei 17 16151260
Iolani (13-1, 23-2) 17 13 21 657
J. Lefotu 17 pts  3 3pm  2/3 FTs
A. Johnson 13 pts  1/2 FTs

Ayanna Johnson scored the go-ahead basket on a layup with 2:27 remaining and perennial Southern California power Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) held 'Iolani scoreless in the final 2:43 Friday night to escape with a 60-57 victory in the semifinals of the 13th Annual 'Iolani Girls Prep Classic.

The Monarchs, who are coming off a 28-4 season that had them ranked No. 7 in California, advance to Saturday's title game against Saint Mary's (Stockton, Calif.) at 7 p.m. Defending state champion 'Iolani, which entered the game at 7-0, will face South Medford (Medford, Ore.) at 5:30 p.m. for third place.
 
"We knew 'Iolani is a good team, we had watched them play twice this week," said Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan. "We didn't play good defense (early on) ... We feed off of our defense, so if we just try to out-score the other team -- especially on the road like this -- we'll be in trouble." 
 
The Monarchs had led 56-51 after Johnson's layup with 4:38 left, but Lily Wahinekapu drained a 3-pointer from the left wing and Kylie Yung converted on a traditional three-point play to put the Raiders ahead, 57-56, with 2:43 showing on the clock. But Johnson quickly scored on a drive down the right side to regain the lead, and 'Iolani turned over the ball with an errant pass on the ensuing possession.
 
Brooke Demetre, a 6-foot-3 post, then swished a turnaround jumper from about 8 feet out to put Mater Dei ahead, 60-57, with 1:39 remaining. After the Raiders had a 3-point attempt skip off the rim, they eventually got the ball back when Demetre was called for a charge under the basket.
 
But after working the ball around the perimeter, 'Iolani struggled to find an opening in the Monarchs' tightened defense and Mater Dei eventually secured possession with two seconds remaining. The Monarchs were then able to inbound the ball safely under the Raiders' basket to run off the final ticks.
 
"I actually thought we had (open) looks, but I think such an intense game against such a big opponent wearing you down the whole game ... I think our legs were just a little bit gone at the end," 'Iolani coach Dean Young said. "Our shots were short."
 
In the game's first few minutes, it was the Raiders who had the energy and quickness, forcing turnovers on Mater Dei's first three possessions to boost a 7-2 lead out of the gates. 'Iolani later led, 17-12, after Jovi Lefotu's 3-pointer from the left corner with two minutes left in the first period. 
 
"I think quickness-wise, we had the advantage, and I think it threw them off when we came out with our matchup zone," Young said. "It helped, maybe threw them off their game a little bit. Our speed helps us -- we're small, so we gotta play to our strengths."
 
Kiernan said the Monarchs' defensive problems came at the point of attack.
 
"We weren't defending the dribble penetration," Kieran said, "so that's how they were able to drive and kick the ball out to their shooters."
 
Anna Bradley swished her third 3-pointer of the first period to ignite a 9-0 run that overlapped into the early second quarter, giving Mater Dei a 21-17 lead 90 seconds in. The Raiders answered with a 7-0 run capped by Wahinekapu's driving layup with 4:50 left to put 'Iolani ahead, 24-21, but the Monarchs roared back with a 10-2 surge to take a 31-26 lead after Caia Elisandez's driving layup with 1:17 remaining.
 
Lefotu's layup just before halftime cut it to 33-30, which is where it stood at the break.
 
Mater Dei pushed the lead to 41-33 two minutes into the second half after back-to-back 3-pointers by Alyssa Fresca, but the Raiders responded with a 16-4 run to take a 49-45 lead on Alexsandra Huntimer's driving layup with 38 seconds left in the third period, and led 51-48 entering the fourth.
 
"At halftime, I told them we gotta be tough, we gotta be able to take whatever punch they throw at us and handle that to stay in the game," Young said. "And we did, so I was pleased."
 
The Monarchs opened the final period with an 8-0 run to go up, 56-51, on Johnson's layup with 4:38 remaining, but Wahinekapu swished a 3-pointer from the left wing and then Yung converted her three-point play to give 'Iolani its final lead at 57-56 with 2:43 left, but that would end the Raiders' scoring for the night.
 
Lefotu led all scorers with 17 points and Wahinekapu added 14 points for 'Iolani; Johnson led Mater Dei with 13 points. Demeter and Frescas each added 11 points, and Meaali'i Amosa contributed 10 points.


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