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Falcon girls split a pair

"One court covered with state champions and another filled with loggers made for a tough pair of games for the Falcon girls basketball team late last week.South Whidbey lost 64-45 to 1998-99 state “A” champion Lynden Christian Friday (now AA), then turned around to slug out a 56-35 win over league rival Sultan Saturday.Against the Lyncs, the Falcons showed only moments of brilliance mixed in with play that had them behind for the entire game. That was all they needed in the first half, when heavy scoring from Kelsey Ellis, Sierra Tornga, and Hilary Wick kept the gap small. After falling behind 17-8 in the first quarter, the Falcons came back 20-15 in the second to pull the game within four. Ellis truly made a game of it when, as time ran out in the half, she put up a buzzer shot to take the score to 32-28.Although it looked like a close game to the fans, Falcon coach Nancy Ricketts knew the first quarter put her team in a hole they couldn’t crawl out of.“We didn’t come out and execute they way we should’ve in the first quarter,” Ricketts said.She was right, and after a close 12-10 third quarter, the Falcons found themselves on the wrong end of a 20-7 fourth.“I think we played with them for three quarters,” Ricketts said. Even though the Falcons could not pull even with the Lyncs, they did battle them for every point. Both teams were physical, and in the first half tussles under the net left a number of Falcons sprawled on the boards. Senior Sierra Tornga got more than her fair share of the ground game, but made up for the tumbles she took with a 15-point game.Coach Ricketts said the rough game under the basket is exactly what she expected from two teams that are used to winning.“They’re two aggressive basketball teams,” she said.Top the tough TurksThe Falcons didn’t get a break when they traveled to Sultan Saturday. Fresh off a huge, fourth-quarter comeback win the night before against Lakewood, the Turks were loaded for South Whidbey bear for the weekend. Fortunately for the Falcons, the Turk trigger locked up.The game did not open auspiciously for the Falcons when they struggled to a thin 9-8 lead after one quarter. Thanks to their Friday-night warm up, the Turks came in with a knack for forcing turnovers. The steals did not come to much in the way of scoring for Sultan, but it kept the Falcons out of double digits.“In the first quarter, we had too many turnovers,” Ricketts said.Things started to look up in the second quarter, when the Falcons regained part of their form to outscore the Turks 20-7. Daylene Waterman was largely responsible for throwing gas on the fire, as she scored nine points, grabbed eight rebounds, and then practiced prestidigitation to loose the ball from the Turks on five steals.Her coach noticed.“Daylene Waterman had a great game. She made a difference in the little things in the game.”Then, after the half, the Falcons piled on a 16-3 third to go firmly into the lead. But the short and scrappy Sultan players did not give in and came back in the fourth on a 17-11 score. It was not enough to win, but it reminded the Falcons to watch their backs as a game draws to a close.Now 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Northwest League, the Falcons play Lakewood at home Friday. The game starts at 7:30 p.m."

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