Falcons nipped in first chance at win

"Sophomore point guard Brandon Turner takes a charge from a Meridian player during the first quarter of Tuesday's game, earning himself a trip to the free throw line.Matt Johnson / staff photosFinally, it looked like they might pull one off Tuesday night.Hosting Meridian at Erikson Gymnasium, the South Whidbey boys basketball team almost converted a 10-point third quarter lead into the first victory of a winless season. But it was not to be. A fourth-quarter scoring barrage by the Trojans knocked the Falcons back on their heels as they lost their 15th game of the season 57-54.However, the game was far better than the 71-29 shellacking the Falcons took at Meridian's hands on Jan. 5. Led by senior Brett Perkins, who scored 17 to be the team's high scorer for the first time this year, the Falcons posted improved shooting numbers this time around while they also kept the Trojans bottled up for the first 24 minutes of the game.In the first half, the Falcons kept pace with the Trojans, even surging into a six point lead late in the first quarter. Perkins lit that fire by scoring three fast buckets and a free throw. Meridian came back in the second quarter, but could only produce a slim advantage by halftime, staying up 31-28.In the third, the Falcons ran away with the ball, outpointing Meridian 16-3 as Perkins, Tim Gabelein, and sophomore point guard Brandon Turner lit up the scoreboard. Turner was playing his second game since coming back on the court after a bout of the flu.Unfortunately, the 10-point advantage earned in the quarter melted away when the Trojan offense decided to play its entire game in the final period. Meridian scorers piled on points, smothering the Falcons 23-10 to grab the game.Consistent in LakewoodLast Tuesday, the Falcons could not find a way to beat Lakewood in a 72-56 road loss, even though the game was one of their most consistent outings offensively. The team's leading scorer, junior Tim Gabelein, led all Falcon shooters with 16 points. Backing him up were Brett Perkins, Josh Coleman, and Josh Nehf, each of whom scored 10 points. Trevor Ellis was close behind with eight.But it wasn't enough. After playing within two points of the Cougars in a 14-12 first quarter, the Falcons turned the ball over seven times in the second and fell behind 37-26 by halftime as the Cougars rolled to a 23-14 period.The team's defense kept the game close, but the Falcons fell behind by three more points in the third quarter and by two in the fourth.The Falcons now have three games remaining in their schedule. They play Granite Falls on the road Friday, then travel to Mount Baker Saturday. The team closes its season at home in a game against Nooksack Valley on Feb. 13. "

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