Girls walk all over Klahowya

"There are not many basketball teams that treat the first round of the district playoffs as a stress reliever. Especially if it is a loser-out game.South Whidbey High School's girls team is one of those not many. After back-to-back road losses to Nooksack Valley last week, the Falcons made victims out of Klahowya High School's Eagles Friday night, devouring them at home in Erickson Gymnasium 71-37.With a mandate from their coach to shut down the Eagles' inside passing, the Falcons made the game a nightmare for Klahowya's 5-1 point guard. With nowhere to pass, the little Eagle got mugged by Falcons -- most notably Kelsey Ellis and Daylene Waterman, who grabbed and ran with six steals each for the game. Ellis and Waterman were also the game's leading scorers, with 14 and 12 points, respectively.South Whidbey opened the game with a dominating 12-0 run. Sierra Torgna scored the first bucket, Lindsay Sievers canned the next two, Hilary Wick dropped in a free throw, Ellis scored off a Sievers steal, and Hayley Gabelein reached the dozen mark with a three-point play kicked off by a steal by Ellis.The rattled Klahowya players never recovered and continued to provide easy pickings for South Whidbey's ball hawks.Once firmly in control of the ball, the Falcons fed senior Sievers, whose eight points in the first quarter propelled the Falcons to a quick 20-2 advantage.Watching the drubbing from the sidelines, Falcon coach Nancy Ricketts said, her pre-game concerns over Klahowya's three 6-foot-plus players gave way to a different emotion.In a way, I kinda felt bad for Klahowya, Ricketts said. The team from the Silverdale area entered the tournament with only two victories this season.The Falcons kept piling it on in the second quarter, building a 42-14 lead by the half. As it turns out, the Falcons could have stopped there, because they held the Eagles to just 23 points in the second half. Ricketts attributed the first-half score and her team's unquestionable dominance to the frustration her players felt after losing two games earlier last week to Nooksack. In addition, after playing four road games in six days, it was refreshing to come home. The game also gave her the opportunity to work her bench players and recent draftees from the junior varsity team in a playoff game. Gabelein put away a healthy 10 points for her career-high varsity score, while fellow bench players Jaci Gutzmer and Melissa Poolman teamed up with Shannon Skouras and Kelsey Robinson for another 10 points. That kind of production is what the team needs as it heads to Mount Vernon tonight to play Port Townsend.I think we're ready, coach Ricketts said.Game tonight at Mt. VernonSouth Whidbey continues district tournament competition tonight, Feb. 23, with a 6:30 p.m. game against Port Townsend at Mount Vernon High School.If the Falcons beat Port Townsend, they will most likely play North Cascades champion and state number-one Lynden Christian next Monday night. Falcon coach Nancy Ricketts said Port Townsend's Redskins match up equally with her own in terms of physical size. The Redskins finished the regular season with a league record of 6-10 and an overall record of 11-10. The team plays in the same 2A/3A/4A league as Klahowya, and did make it to the state tournament last year. Box scoreS. Whidbey 22 20 17 12 -- 71Klahowya 7 7 10 13 -- 27Scoring: Ellis 14, Waterman 12, Sievers 11, Gabelein 10, Wick 8, Tornga 6, Gutzmer 4, Pooman 2, Skouras 2, Robinson 23-point goals: Ellis 2"

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