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Boys bounced from playoff contention
"Fired up one night and fizzling the next, the South Whidbey boys split a pair of games at Erikson Gymnasium over the weekend and were eliminated from a chance for postseason play.Using Lai Saephan's three-point bomb with 20 seconds to play, the Falcons slipped by Granite Falls 65-63 Friday to keep their playoff hopes on life support. On Saturday, however, Mount Baker thumped a listless South Whidbey squad 64-47 to put the North Cascades Conference's sixth and final district berth out of reach.The Falcons dropped to 4-11 in conference play and to 5-14 for the year. Even with a win in their final game last night on the road against eighth-ranked Nooksack Valley, the best they could hope for would be a tie for the sixth spot with Sultan. Sultan would advance, however, based on their 2-0 record against South Whidbey this year.Against Granite Falls, Saephan topped all scorers with 26 points, including his eventual game-winner. The Tigers missed a shot with eight seconds to go, with Brian Moote controlling the rebound and seemingly the game.Not so fast.Moote was fouled with two ticks left and following two time outs - and two missed free throws by the 6-foot-3 senior and another time out - Granite Falls went the entire length of the court, firing up a desperate three-pointer that just rimmed out at the buzzer.It's disappointing that it had to come down to the last few seconds, said first-year coach Brian Kissinger. That's when your heart really gets up in your throat.Moote finished with seven rebounds to go along with his 16 points while Josh Nehf added eight points and eight rebounds. Saephan ended the night with four three-pointers.Against Mount Baker, the Falcons rallied from a 29-16 second-quarter deficit to pull within 31-27 at the half. And when Moote pumped in a turnaround banker to cut the score to 31-29 early in the third period it looked like South Whidbey might just stay in the hunt for a postseason berth.But the Mountaineers went on a 24-6 run at that point, however, as they jumped to a safe 55-35 lead with 4:10 to play. A raggedly played contest up to that point, the game became an ugly one soon after, as the Falcons' Charlie Sarkis was given a technical foul for a verbal display of poor sportsmanship.Nehf led the Falcons with 16 points and eight rebounds while Daniel Levine contributed 10 points and seven boards. Ben Priest, who suited up for the game because of Senior Appreciation Night despite a broken leg, put a curious footnote to the game. Inserted with just seconds left so he could be acknowledged by the crowd, the 6-4 Priest - still wearing a splint on his leg - calmly hit an uncontested three-point basket as the clock ran out.Other seniors making their final home court appearance were Jamie Watson, Saephan, Moote, Levine and Sarkis.Box scoreFriday's gameS.Whidbey 17 10 14 24 - 65Granite Falls 11 17 10 25 - 63Scoring: Saephan 26, Moote 16, Watson 8, Nehf 8, Turner 3, Gabelein 2, Murphy 2.Saturday's gameS. Whidbey11 16 6 14 - 47Mount Baker 20 11 12 21 - 64Scoring: Nehf 16, Levine 10, Moote 8, Watson 6, Priest 3, Saephan 2, Gabelein 2."