Falcon girls’ offense rolls away with tide at Seaside

Falcon senior guard Brittany Wood resets the offense as she curls around a Madras defender during the Seaside Holiday Classic basketball tournament.  - Carl Comfort photo
Falcon senior guard Brittany Wood resets the offense as she curls around a Madras defender during the Seaside Holiday Classic basketball tournament.
— image credit: Carl Comfort photo

All the momentum South Whidbey gained by a three-game Cascade Conference winning streak ended last week in Seaside, Ore.

The Falcon girls basketball team lost its first two games at the Seaside Holiday Classic before winning the consolation match to avoid last place. South Whidbey finished in seventh place, falling 52-36 to La Pine, 47-35 to Astoria, and beating Estacada 43-37.

“We didn’t play up to our full potential, which is disappointing,” said Falcon senior co-captain Jessica Manca.

South Whidbey, a second-year veteran of the Seaside tournament, was prepared for the absence of a shot clock. Having 10 seconds to cross the mid-court line was an early difficulty, too, as teams used a full-court press defense against the Falcons.

“We played well. We just ran out of gas a little bit, I guess,” said Falcon head coach Andy Davis.

“The La Pine game, I wish we could have kept that tight down to the wire.”

Last year, the La Pine Hawks held the Falcons under 10 points in a 32-6 opening victory.

Last week, however, the Falcons had a much better outing. Falcon junior Ellie Greene led with 15 points, followed by fellow junior Hayley Newman with nine.

South Whidbey tied the score in the third quarter, only to struggle in the final quarter against La Pine (one of the smaller schools in the tournament with about 550 students).

The Hawks outscored the Falcons 20-8 in the last eight minutes.

“In the fourth quarter, we just completely fell apart,” Manca said.

Late struggles again plagued the Falcons in the second game against the Astoria Fishermen.

Greene and Newman again led the Falcons with 18 and nine points, respectively. Senior forward Lacy Williams grabbed eight rebounds and Greene had seven.

Astoria used a full-court press the entire game, and forced late Falcon turnovers.

As the Fishermen scored consistently, the Falcons faltered with only seven points in the third quarter, and eight in the fourth. Astoria won by double digits, 47-35.

“We didn’t play our best game there,” Davis said.

The third game produced South Whidbey’s lone victory in Oregon against Estacada. The school with more than 700 students lost to the Falcons 43-37.

“We controlled that one from the beginning,” Davis said.

Greene (15 points) and Newman (13) led South Whidbey in scoring. Williams controlled the boards and snagged 12 rebounds.

“Lacy was taller, but not by a big margin. She just worked hard,” Davis said.

The Falcons changed their defenses from press to man to zone. Estacada made mistakes that South Whidbey turned into points.

“We confused them a little bit by changing our defense a lot,” Davis said.

Despite losing two games, the team’s leaders detailed the trip fondly. The Falcons lost, but their scoring stayed near their 30- to 40-point range.

“We travel to things like this and just figure out who we are as a team,” Davis said.

“It shows us where we’re at. We’re nine games into it already.”

Prior to departing for the trip, Davis said he wanted to see the Falcons define and accept their roles. Christmas came early for the head coach, as the Seaside tournament gave him what he wanted.

“They’re able to trust each other and trust what we do,” Davis said. “It was a progressive tournament, for sure.”

One of his co-captains agreed that the trip solidified the team’s and the individual Falcons’ identities this season.

“This tournament really helped us as a team,” Manca said. “There were certain games you could see we were really playing together.”

South Whidbey has a long break before returning to competition. The Falcons’ next game is Jan. 3 against the Coupeville Wolves.

Until then, the players took a short respite from practice and will resume training and scrimmaging the day after Christmas.

“They want to be in the gym, but this gives them a little bit of a rest,” Davis said.

“Everybody wants to continue our winning streak,” Manca added.

The Falcons are 3-0 in Cascade Conference games and 4-4 overall.

Madras High School won the tournament, beating the Elma Eagles 53-43 in the championship game.

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