"Girls conquer Mount Baker, go to 10-1 with blowout"

"Photo: Kelsey Ellis sizes up the Mount Baker defense.Jim Larsen / staff photoBOX SCORES. Whidbey 12 20 13 16 -- 61Mt. Baker 8 6 10 9 -- 33Scoring: Wick 22, Ellis 19, Tornga 10, Waterman 4, Sievers 4, Poolman 23-point goals: Ellis 3Rebounds: Wick 15, Tornga 11, Waterman 10Steals: Ellis 5More than halfway through their season schedule, South Whidbey High School’s girl basketball players are looking almost unbeatable.At home Friday night, the Falcons gave their fans their money’s worth, using the second and fourth quarters of a 61-33 league win against Mt. Baker to climb nearer the summit in the North Cascades League.Sporting the attitude they will need to advance though post-season playoffs in February, the Falcons played four winning quarters of basketball, outscoring the Mountaineers period after period.Starting with a slim 12-8 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Falcon margin quickly ballooned to blowout proportions in the second when they piled on 20 more to go up 32-14.Seniors Kelsey Ellis and Sierra Tornga were a big part of the quarter’s power offense. Ellis hit two of her 3-point shots and eight of her 19 points during the quarter, while the defense-minded Tornga was in control under the baskets on both ends. Tornga nailed a double double in the game, finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds.After watching that first half, Falcon coach Nancy Ricketts knew for the first time what her team could expect out of the Mountaineers. The last time she watched her team play Mt. Baker was four years ago -- hardly recent enough to form an opinion of this year’s team. Describing Mt. Baker as a “middle-of-the-pack” team, Ricketts said the Mountaineers have been successful against the southern teams in the North Cascades league. At least until the traveled to South Whidbey.“I knew they were middle-of-the-pack ... but I wasn’t sure what to expect,” she said.But by the start of the third quarter, her players did. Sophomore Hilary Wick exploited the chinks she saw in the Mountaineers’ armor when she went on a scoring tear in the second half. Through the first three quarters, her team high 15 rebounds was a major factor in limiting all the Mountaineer scorers to single-digits on the stat sheet. But in the fourth quarter, Wick really cut loose on offense, putting up 13 of the team’s 16 points for that period.But to hear Ricketts tell the story of the game, it would seem that the Falcon defense was more important than its solid-scoring offense. Even though they matched up with the Mountaineers size-wise, the Falcons outrebounded their northern neighbors 47-22, while at the same time only turning over the ball just a dozen times. In addition to this sure-handedness and to the board performances Wick and Tornga gave, Daylene Waterman was all elbows and hands under the net, dragging down an additional 10 rebounds. Ricketts said her team’s success has everything to do with confidence players like Waterman showed against Mt. Baker.“Instead of playing the underdog role like we did last year, we go in expecting to win,” she said.The Falcons will need that attitude this weekend. On Friday, the girls play at home at 8 p.m. in a boys-girls double header against Nooksack. The Falcons and Nooksack are currently tied in league play, with records of 6-1. The boys play the early game.Then, on Saturday, the girls travel to Lynden Christian to fight it out with the league-leading and undefeated Lyncs. On Dec. 10, Lynden Christian dealt the Falcons their only loss. “It’s going to be a good weekend of basketball,” she said."

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