Falcons start fast once scoreboard starts working

"Working in a forest of arms, Falcons Shannon Skouras (10) and Hayley Gabelein (22) manage to control an offensive rebound. At right is Meridian's 6-3 center, Lynett Bennett, who scored 26 points.Jim Larsen/staff photoA scoreboard power outage took none of the spark out of the South Whidbey girls at Erikson Gymnasium Friday night.The Falcons and the visiting Meridian Trojans waited over 30 minutes before a host of scoreboard repairmen, led by principal Mike Johnson, managed to get the equipment running. The scheduled 7:30 game didn't start until 8:05.If anyone was hampered by the delay, it wasn't the home team. The Falcons built up a short-lived 9-2 lead in the first quarter in an exhibition of team hustle.Sophomore guard Julie Robinson started the scoring with a neat 3-pointer from the sidelines. Coach Nancy Ricketts was pleased with her young guard's overall performance for the night. She hit two three-pointers. She's starting to establish herself as a player, Ricketts said.Following the opening trey, Falcon center Hilary Wick connected on back-to-back inside shots to make it 7-2. Even more important, the Falcons got Meridian's big center, 6-3 senior Lynett Bennett, into early foul trouble. She sat out most of the first period with two quick miscues.However, South Whidbey's Wick also found herself in foul trouble trying to battle the Trojan giant. Wick, 6 feet even, sat out much of the second quarter with three fouls. Meridian came back from a 6-9 deficit after one quarter to take a 21-18 halftime lead, finally wining 45-36.Falcon forward Hayley Gabelein helped keep her team in the game with perhaps her best all-around performance of the year. I'm real pleased, said coach Ricketts. Gabelein accounted for 9 points, 3 steals and 3 assists during the night. Robinson wasn't far behind with 8 points, a total equaled by Melissa Poolman.Meridian's Bennett was unstoppable inside as she put back shot after shot, finally totaling 26 points for the evening. She has bulk to go with her height, and proved to be an unmovable object under the basket. We double teamed but she got the rebounds, Ricketts said. She's the biggest (player the Falcons will face this year).Despite the loss, coach Ricketts was satisfied with her young team's overall performance. Gabelein is the only senior starter. Our girls came out and played, she said. We're getting better and better.Meridian lost by only a few points to the North Cascade Conference's top two teams, Nooksack Valley and Lynden Christian. South Whidbey's goal is a playoff spot, which requires a top four finish.Ricketts said early season results show that the league is well balanced. You have to come ready to play, she said. This week the Falcons are on the road. They played at Granite Falls on Tuesday and travel to Mount Baker on Friday. "

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