All of South Whidbey enjoys state tournament

"Last week was a dream come true for any South Whidbey basketball lover. Backed by their adorning fans, the Falcon girls played Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Yakima Sundome in the 2A state tournament.Winning two games and losing two, the girls capped their finest season in 11 years by bringing home an eighth-place trophy.Sophomore Lindsay Binford was one of the first Falcons to touch the trophy after the team's tournament-ending loss to Lynden Christian. She held the trophy for the tournament's official team photo session.It was really cool, Binford said. I was really proud of my team.The players were not alone as they alternately celebrated and shed tears. Center court seating in the Sundome looked like a little South Whidbey, as fans of all ages showed up to support the team.A sleep-deprived Karen Schwager was one of those fans undaunted by the long distance from home, the early games, and the hours of stadium time. She was bright-eyed right through the end of Saturday's game, cheering loudly from the stands. Although the bands, cheerleaders, and the state tournament atmosphere were an exciting distraction, there was just one thing that got her on her feet at the Sundome.Definitely the games, Schwager said.Parents of the players made up the core of the Falcon fan club, clogging the center section of stands for every game. Bill Sievers, senior Lindsay Sievers' father, said it was inspiring to watch his daughter's team rise from a tough loss Wednesday to win two big games back-to-back on Thursday and Friday.The emotion from the first game was so bad that the emotional turnaround for the second game was great, Sievers said.Buoying the team were the Falcon cheerleaders, the South Whidbey pep band, and the school's mascot -- Fredette the Falcon, as played by senior Briony Morrow-Cribbs. All the students involved in the sideline support worked the crowd hard over the four-day tournament. By the end of the final game, cheerleader Angela Vosberg said she felt ready for a rest.Sore, really sore, tired and hungry, she said.Cheerleader Stina Wilson said the daily, three-hour practice sessions she and her teammates needed to develop each day's routine will only make them better for next year.It was a good bonding experience for the cheerleaders, she said.If wear and tear appeared among anyone besides the basketball players, it was among the band members. Forty-six members of the band played at games on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, then drove back to South Whidbey on Friday night to play a benefit dance and concert. On Saturday morning, 26 musicians stumbled onto a bus to drive aboard the 5:30 a.m. ferry on the way back to Yakima. Nevertheless, they were in fine form by game time, easily outplaying Lynden Christian's musicians with their horns, drums and woodwinds. Band director Brent Purvis said the return trip to Yakima for Saturday's game was his students' idea.I'm kind of a softy when my students want to work hard, he said.With luck, students and fans will make another drive to Yakima for yet another tournament."

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