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San Clemente surges late to beat No. 9 Foothill
IRVINE – San Clemente’s Kathleen Hartmann made two free throws with two seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, breaking a stalemate and giving the Tritons a 60-58 victory over No. 9 Foothill Wednesday night in the South Coast Classic at University High.
Hartmann’s free throws capped a 14-4 run that San Clemente used to end the game.
The Tritons (2-1) turned the ball over on six of its first nine possessions in the fourth quarter, and fell behind 54-46 with 3:25 remaining.
“Our turnovers were killing us throughout the whole game,” said San Clemente coach Lacey Burns. “Foothill was getting easy looks and making their shots because we weren’t playing any defense.”
The Tritons went back to their full-court pressure late in the game, forcing five turnovers and turning those into seven points.
Trailing 56-53 with 45 seconds left, San Clemente forward Alexa Johnson was fouled driving to the rim. After making the layup, she had an opportunity to tie the game at the line.
Johnson missed the free throw, but teammate Gabby McGann grabbed the offensive board to maintain possession.
Point guard Frankie Pinto reset the offense, drove the ball into the lane and kicked it out to a wide-open Hartmann, who drilled the 3-pointer, putting the Tritons up 58-56 with 25 seconds remaining in the game.
“It was clutch,” said Burns. “Frankie read the play perfectly. Kathleen’s man helped out on the drive and (Kathleen) was ready to knock down that three.”
Knights (1-3) forward Emily Brangwin was fouled driving to the basket on the ensuing possession, and knotted the game back up at 58 by knocking down her two free throws with 17 seconds left in the contest.
Hartmann’s two late free throws gave her 11 points on the night. Johnson scored 17 points and Pinto added 14 for the Tritons.
Hailey James scored 17 for Foothill.
The Tritons finished with a 2-0 record in pool play, and will play Los Alamitos on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Woodbridge High.
Foothill has now dropped three in a row, and will play Santa Margarita Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at University High.