Falcons make Redskins blanch

"Photo:Though hampered with a back injury, Daylene Waterman makes a push for the basket Wednesday night.Matt Johnson / staff photoAnother chance at Lynden LyncsNext up for the Falcons in tournament action is the District 12 semifinal game Monday, Feb. 28 against undefeated Lynden Christian. The Lyncs beat the Falcons twice this year, most recently by a 51-46 margin on Jan. 22. Ricketts said her players can beat the Lyncs, as long as they keep a few things in mind.We're going to have to play great defense, she said. And we can't let them have two, three, and four shots at the basket. We can play with that team.The game will be held at 8 p.m. at Mount Vernon High School.Let's dispense with the suspense. The South Whidbey girls won their second round district basketball playoff game Wednesday night against the Port Townsend Redskins.The win was what they expected, more or less. Actually it was both more and less. Tied to the 45-25 final score was a more active Redskins defense than the Falcons were prepared for, and less scoring than they are used to.But in playoff basketball, any win is a good win, and this game was no exception. The matchup got off to a slow start, and the Falcons ground to an 8-4 first quarter on two Kelsey Ellis and two Sierra Tornga field goals. Four minutes into the second quarter, the improbable Redskins tied the game at 10-10, largely due to hyperactive offensive and defensive play from Port Townsend's Leanne Selts and Abby Wheatly. Falcon coach Nancy Ricketts and her players needed to make an adjustment.They came out and played some good, aggressive defense on us, Ricketts said.After huddling in a timeout with 4:03 to go in the half, the Falcons came back onto the floor to break the Redskins' early magic. A quick bucket by sophomore Hilary Wick took the Falcons to 12-10 and ignited an 18-point scoring drive that would not end until midway through the third quarter.Up 18-10 at halftime, the Falcons went to the locker room sporting serious game faces. As the South Whidbey High School pep band played to a big South Whidbey crowd and cheerleaders from both teams faced off in an acrobatic halftime show, the Falcons got fired up behind closed doors. Up by just eight points, they had to come out with more offense if they wanted some breathing room.As it turned out, they took almost all the breathing air in the gymnasium. Kelsey Ellis and Lindsay Sievers lit a fire under the offense, scoring two buckets each in the first two minutes of the third quarter to stake the Falcons to a 26-10 lead. Another Wick field goal moments later pumped the score to 28-10. The 18-point, two-quarter run gave the Falcons more than they would need to win the game. Sievers said the quick scoring was exactly what she and her teammates had been looking to do throughout the early going.I think we kinda got it together at halftime, Sievers said. The second half we came out more fired up.Senior Daylene Waterman helped keep a number of potential Redskins points off the board in the second half, making five steals and forcing several stalling penalties as she scrapped for the ball. Her coach said the performance was all the more impressive because Waterman played most of the game with a back injury.She played great defense, Ricketts said.The Redskins' poor choice of shots also gave the Falcons a boost. Throughout much of the game, the Port Townsend players seemed to rebound at will under their own basket. Several times, Redskins players managed to grab two or three of their own boards at a time, only to miss their shots and turn the ball over.Fortunately, they didn't go in, Ricketts said.Ricketts emptied her bench during the final four minutes of the game. The back-ups were as miserly as the team's starters on defense and put up good number of their own. Hayley Gabelein, who played much of the game, shared bench scoring honors with Melissa Poolman as each of them sank four points.BOX SCORES. Whidbey 8 10 15 12 -- 45Pt. Townsend 4 6 7 7 -- 24Scoring: Ellis 12, Wick 8, Tornga 7, Sievers 6, Gabelein 4, Poolman 4, Waterman 2, Watson 2Statistics: Ellis - 5 steals, 10 rebounds, 5 assists; Waterman - 5 stealsEllis makes first team All-ConferenceSouth Whidbey senior guard Kelsey Ellis was named this week to the first team in the North Cascades all-conference selections. She'll be playing college ball at Central Washington University next winter.Senior teammate Sierra Tornga was named second team all-conference, while sophomore Hilary Wick was named to the third team.In boys basketball, South Whidbey senior guard Lai Saephan was named to the all-conference second team."

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