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Turnover-heavy first quarter dooms Falcon girls basketball against Wildcats | UPDATE | SLIDESHOW
LANGLEY — Archbishop Murphy surged in the first quarter, taking a 21-3 lead before cruising past South Whidbey’s girls basketball team Wednesday night.
The Wildcats won 53-28, substituting in its reserves in the fourth quarter.
Falcon junior Hayley Newman led all scorers with 12 points, and Haley Dye led the Wildcats with 10 points.
“People were really timid and it seemed like no one wanted the ball out there,” Newman said. “That’s why we ended up losing by 30 or so.”
As teams have done all season against the Falcons, the Wildcats used a full-court press defense. Archbishop Murphy created turnovers and transition points and led 28-9 at halftime.
“They full-court pressed us, which is something I think we should do,” Newman said.
“It creates turnovers that lead to points.”
Out of the halftime break, the Wildcats poured in 17 points in the third quarter. The Falcons scored only eight, which was an improvement from the first half.
“The main reason we keep losing is our point guards turn the ball over and they get quick points,” Newman said.
Turnovers limited the Falcons’ offensive sets and held two of their top scorers - junior Ellie Greene and senior Jessica Manca - to four points each.
The Falcons didn’t make a three-point shot, while the Wildcats scored four, including two from Dye.
By the end of the third quarter, Archbishop Murphy substituted out most of its starters. That allowed South Whidbey to chip at the 28-point lead, though not nearly enough.
“When Archbishop had that 20-point lead, they started putting in their second string and third string,” Newman said. “That was our chance to step up and decrease their point value.”
The Falcons began the second half of the season against the Sultan Turks on Friday night.
South Whidbey started the conference season on a four-game winning streak, but lost the past three Cascade Conference games by an average of 23 points.
The team has a goal of qualifying for the district playoffs, which requires South Whidbey to be in the top three 2A teams. The Falcons are currently in third place, trailing Archbishop Murphy (6-0 conference, 8-3 overall) and Cedarcrest (5-2 conference; 9-4 overall), and 1A King’s (6-1 conference; 11-2 overall).
“Friday’s game is the biggest game for us. It kind of decides the second half of the season for us,” Newman said. “We have four wins under our belt, so winning against Sultan pretty much guarantees us a spot.”
There was some hesitation and uncertainty for the Falcons’ leading scorer before they faced the Turks, however. Three-game losing streaks and a 20-point losing average can have that effect.
“It’s kind of hard to go in there thinking we’re better than them when we’ve lost three games in a row,” Newman said.