Late cold spell costs Falcons against Mount Baker

"Box scoreS. Whidbey 12 22 18 9 – 61Mount Baker23 10 15 16 – 64Scoring: Moote 19, Nehf 16, Levine 7, Watson 7, Saephan 3, Sarkis 3, Priest 2Digging themselves out of a huge first-half hole to eventually take an eight-point lead late in the game against lowly Mount Baker, the South Whidbey boys basketball team looked like they were on there way to a fourth consecutive win and another step closer to earning a playoff berth.OOPS, someone forgot to tell the Mountaineers. Outscored 11-0 over the last three minutes, the Falcons fell 64-61 in North Cascades Conference action Friday on the road. The loss drops South Whidbey to 3-4 in league and 4-7 overall. Mount Bakerimproved to 2-4, 2-5.“It was a wild one,” said Falcon coach Brian Kissinger, whose team led 61-53 with three minutes to play, only to have its advantage evaporate in a flurry of bad passes and non-calls by the officials despite Mt. Baker’s physical play. “We've got to learn to keep our composure when things aren’t going our way. You can’t let the officiating affect you.”After the Mountaineers took the lead for good on Lucas Revey’s putback with a minute to play, South Whidbey watched its last chance for a win end pretty much the way the game started: in a bad pass.Falling behind 6-0 in the first minute of the game, the Falcons eventually trailed 11-2 on their way to a 23-12 first-quarter deficit. “It took us about a quarter to get off the bus,” said Kissinger.The second period was another matter, however, as the Falcons wiped out a 30-16 Mount Baker lead with a 18-3 to take a 34-33 lead at intermission. “We started taking the game to them,” said Kissinger. “We had all the momentum. We played well enough to win.”The Falcons were led by the resurgent Brian Moote, who matched his season best with a game-high 19 points and team-high seven rebounds. It was the second double figure effort in row for the 6-foot-3 senior, who has been hampered by a nagging ankle injury most of the season. Josh Nehf added 16 points.Despite the loss, the Falcons, who opened the season 0-5, ended a six-game string in which they went 4-2, both losses coming by just three points. “We’re playing pretty well, but we’ve got a long ways to go,” Kissinger said. “We’ve got to meet with triumph and disaster and treat them both the same.”Disaster may be waiting just ahead for the Falcons, who play league-leading Nooksack Valley at home Friday as part of a boys-girls doubleheader. The boys play at 5:45 p.m. before the girls square off against Nooksack at 8. South Whidbey, currently in fifth place in the NCC, then entertains third place Lynden Christian Saturday in rematch of a 105-61 pounding the Falcons endured on the road early in the season.“We weren’t very good and they just played out of their head,” said Kissinger. “We were embarrassed.”The Falcons have already gotten some measure of revenge on another team that chose to run up the score, clipping Class 2A state football champion Meridian – which pummeled South Whidbey 67-0 on its way to that title - 72-58 two weeks ago.“The revenge factor is huge,” Kissinger said. “They (Lynden Christian) just packed it on us up there.”"

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