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Cedarcrest ends South Whidbey girls hoops’ perfect conference run
LANGLEY — Two days after the Falcons celebrated beating their island-rivals the Coupeville Wolves, the Falcons fell to the Cedarcrest Red Wolves, 52-39.
South Whidbey led 24-21 at halftime, before Cedarcrest led the game at the end of the third 33-31.
The Red Wolves (3-2 Cascade Conference; 7-4 overall) surged in the final period, outscoring the Falcons 19-8 in the last eight minutes.
For the Falcons, the loss was a stark turnaround from a 4-0 conference start. On Tuesday, South Whidbey was flying high against Coupeville, gaining a 10-point lead at halftime to win 34-27 with senior forward Jessica Manca on the bench because she missed practices during winter break.
“It feels great keeping the island title,” said Falcon sophomore point guard Madi Boyd.
She failed to score, but was instrumental in breaking Coupeville’s press defense. The Falcons started senior guard Brittany Wood, as well, to give South Whidbey a second ball-handler.
South Whidbey won the tipoff, but Boyd missed a short jump shot. Coupeville missed its first three field goals and first two free throws for almost three minutes of scoreless play.
The Wolves sank their first bucket on a putback by junior post Jai’Lysa Hoskins. Falcon junior guard Ellie Greene responded by catching junior Hayley Newman’s air ball three-pointer for a short turnaround jumper. Hoskins scored the Wolves’ next five points on two layups and a free throw, Greene hit another spin-move jump shot and Newman sank two free throws to close out a low-scoring first quarter with Coupeville leading 7-6.
“This definitely wasn’t our best game,” Boyd said.
Coupeville crowded the paint, challenging South Whidbey’s tendency to drive to the basket for layups. The other option was to hit three-point shots and force the Coupeville defenders to cover the perimeter, but South Whidbey didn’t make any threes.
South Whidbey regained the lead on its first play when Greene spun to her left for another close range basket.
From there, the Falcons went on a 12-3 run to take a 10-point lead by halftime.
Boyd, one of the smallest players, was undaunted by the congested interior.
On the first play of the third quarter, she dribbled into the key and attempted a floating layup that was blocked by Hoskins. She sprinted back on defense and fouled Wolf senior Katie Smith when she attempted to slap the ball out.
“On offense, I think I need to work on really seeing the court a little bit more,” Boyd said.
Both teams struggled on offense due to turnovers and steals, as South Whidbey extended its lead to 11 points.
The Falcons’ scoring woes continued as they missed their first three shots in the final quarter. Newman ended the three-minute scoreless window with a long jump shot for the Falcons’ biggest lead at 28-15.
The Wolves used a 7-0 run to cut the Falcons’ lead to 28-22. Smith hit a long two-pointer and senior point guard Cassidi Rosenkrance made a layup and a free throw. With less than three minutes left, Rosenkrance stole a pass, drove to the basket and made a layup to bring her team within five points (she led the Wolves with 10). South Whidbey’s offense sagged against Coupeville’s pressure defense.
“We got kind of tired during the end,” Boyd said.
The Falcons hung on to win. Newman and Greene led the Falcons with 12 points each.
Winning earlier this week was a point of pride for the Falcons.
“It felt good because we worked pretty hard during break,” Boyd said. “It makes us want to work even harder to keep that up.”