Falcons cruise into a bruising

"Game today decides stateThe Falcons play today, Saturday, for all the marbles at 1:30 p.m. at Mt. Vernon High School.The Falcons will take on the Blaine Borderites in the bi-district fifth place game. The Falcons beat Blaine twice this year, but will could be at a disadvantage due to injuries to Kelsey Ellis and Lindsay Sievers. Coach Nancy Ricketts said Blaine will bring a scrappy, aggressive team to the floor this afternoon.We need to go out there and pressure them right away, Ricketts said.If the Falcons win the game, they will earn a berth at the state tournament. If they lose, their season is over.It takes only one word to adequately describe South Whidbey's 55-43 district playoff loss to the Eatonville Cruisers in Mt. Vernon Wednesday night. The word is ouch.Hobbled by ankle injuries sustained in the game by senior starters Kelsey Ellis and Lindsay Sievers, the Falcons fell victim to a slow start and deadly-accurate foul shooting from the Cruisers. The loss drops South Whidbey out of the third-fourth place bracket at the 2A Bi-District tournament and sets up a loser-out fifth place game against Blaine Saturday.Wednesday's contest did not start auspiciously. The Cruisers forced six Falcon turnovers and built a 12-4 lead in the opening minutes. In the midst of defending against Eatonville's assault, Sievers was the first Falcon injured when a Cruiser stepped on her ankle, causing a sprain.Late in the first quarter, the Falcons started using their height advantage over the Eatonville players as sophomore Hilary Wick and senior Sierra Tornga sparked a 14-4 run that eventually tied the score at 22-22 with 2:16 remaining in the half. Ellis was a big contributor to the run, putting up five points before she turned her ankle coming down off a rebound. She took to the bench for the last minutes of the half, which ended with Eatonville up 25-23.Ellis did not see any playing time in the third quarter, so Tornga took on the leader's mantle, prying open the Cruiser defense along with Wick for five straight possessions. Even though Tornga wound up scoring 13 in the game, neither team got much action on the scoreboard -- the Falcons picked up six points to the Cruiser's seven.Ellis re-entered the game in the fourth quarter, but unable to cut or jump, she could not do much to help her team. The Cruisers pulled to a 48-38 lead then held the Falcons at arms length, drawing foul after foul to go to the line 27 times for 18 points. During the entire game, the Falcons made nine of 22 free shots.We had to foul to stop the action, said Nancy Ricketts, the Falcons' coach. They hit their free throws.Ricketts said Thursday that she will have to evaluate Ellis and Sievers in practice to decide how or if she will be able to play them in today's crucial fifth place district game.Box ScoreS. Whidbey 10 13 6 14 -- 43Eatonville 18 10 7 20 -- 55Scoring: Tornga 13, Wick 7, Waterman 6, Ellis 5, Sievers 5, Poolman 4, Gabelein 33-point goals: Ellis, Sievers"

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