HONOLULU – Wednesday night, high school basketball fans were treated to a display of what the game must've looked like in the old days.
The really, old, days.
Iolani employed the stall tactic – when a team maintains possession but does not shoot in an attempt to hold onto the ball and limit the opponents offensive touches – against a bigger, faster Maryknoll squad. "We came out and said we want to shorten the game, we want to limit their offensive possessions, we want to make every possession mean a lot" said Raiders head coach Dean Shimamoto.
That they did. In the process, they limited their own opportunities, as evidenced by the 2-0 Spartans lead at the half.
Shimamoto said his team needed to do so in order to stay competitive with a superior foe. "If anything, it's a complement to them, they're a really good team…if we played them conventional style, we run up and down with them, you know really we don't have a chance" said Shimamoto.
The tactic was quite a shock for Spartans head coach Kelly Grant, who was expecting the Raiders to press. "Our biggest concern was to make sure our kids don't lose their composure, stay focused, because some of them were getting a little antsy."
They were getting antsy, with good reason. The stall worked so well, that Iolani stayed close throughout the game. Trailing 15-13 with just seconds remaining, they had a chance to win with a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The shot went long, and Maryknoll escaped with the win, improving to 6-0 on the season. Iolani dropped to 3-3.
While the tactic created a buzz in the community and online, the two coaches said it's water under the bridge.
"Coach Doc and Coach Dean, I have the utmost respect for those guys, I have been watching them for many years" said Grant.