South Whidbey girls basketball seniors turned corner from losing seasons

The Falcon girls basketball seniors left a legacy of quick improvement. In two seasons with head coach Andy Davis, the Falcons recovered from a 1-13 season to finish 7-7 in Cascade Conference games this season. From left stand Zoey Maeser, Makenzie Peterson, Brittany Wood, Lacy Williams and Marina Kovic. Jessica Manca is not pictured.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
The Falcon girls basketball seniors left a legacy of quick improvement. In two seasons with head coach Andy Davis, the Falcons recovered from a 1-13 season to finish 7-7 in Cascade Conference games this season. From left stand Zoey Maeser, Makenzie Peterson, Brittany Wood, Lacy Williams and Marina Kovic. Jessica Manca is not pictured.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Senior moments: Falcons turned around program

Recovery was a big part of what the six seniors on the Falcon girls basketball team accomplished.

Some of them stuck with the program as it changed coaches before the 2010-11 season, and others joined because of the recruiting efforts of head coach Andy Davis.

In the previous two seasons, the Falcons recorded only four conference victories, including only one last year.

Guided by Davis, the six seniors helped the Falcon team finish 7-7 in Cascade Conference games and 8-12 overall. South Whidbey had a chance to play in the District 1 playoffs for the first time in almost three years, but narrowly fell 46-43 to Lynden High School in the play-in game.

Here are the moments the Falcon seniors remember.

What was the best game of the year?

Zoey Maeser: Best game of the year was definitely senior night, even though we lost. We became a family that night.

Jessica Manca: Our best in season game would be when we played King’s at home, but overall it was definitely the game against Lynden.

Makenzie Peterson: The best game of the year was for sure the games against King’s and Lynden. The whole team gave its all and played as one, and it was an incredible feeling!

Lacy Williams: The best game of the year was Lynden. We worked so hard and played so well together as a team. Plus, the atmosphere of the game was really exciting with all the fans there cheering.

Brittany Wood: The best game of the year would be either when we beat Granite Falls or the last game with Lynden.

Marina Kovic: The best game of the year was the game against Lynden. Even though I wasn’t able to play, it was really intense and we played really well.

Which game was the most difficult loss?

Maeser: Hands down, Lynden.

Manca: The most difficult loss for me was when we played King’s at home. I know I couldn’t contribute the whole game because I was taken to the hospital. But it was really disappointing that we lost after being ahead, and I know we really worked for it, especially because we were the underdog in that game. Along with that game, Lynden was a really hard loss because we lost by three, but at the same time, I know we played our hearts out, each and every one of us, so it was hard to be disappointed in the end.

Peterson: Losing to Lynden at the last game of the season was the hardest loss I have ever experienced; to know that something I loved so much was coming to an end was really hard to deal with.

Williams: The most difficult loss was definitely our game against Lynden. We were so close to winning — three points — and making it into the district tournament. Also, it was the last game that we would ever play as a team, my last game on that court, and the last game of my high school career.

Wood: Lynden was the most difficult loss.

Kovic: Losing to Granite Falls right toward the end there. We had it and then it was gone in a flash.

What is your go-to move?

Maeser: Push the girl down and dunk on her!

Manca: My go-to move was probably just a pull-up jump shot.

Peterson: My favorite move is the spin move when you are trying to beat a defender.

Wood: My go-to move is a pump fake, one-dribble shot. Other than that, my moves just come.

Kovic: Probably cutting into the key when there is open space, or pass fake, pass — exciting, I know.

What was your favorite off-the-court experience?

Maeser: Bonding with my team after school before home games.

Manca: My favorite off-the-court experience was when we were down in Seaside; it was just a time for everybody to kind of hang out. The white elephant gift exchange was classic.

Peterson: The best off-court experiences would be all the bus rides and pre-game hang outs, my teammates were my really good friends and we could talk about anything together.

Williams: Probably either bus rides or Seaside. There were some good laughs.

Wood: My favorite experience was probably Seaside. It was so much fun.

Kovic: My favorite off-court experience was going to Seaside and spending time in that sweet Oregon town.

Who had the best play of the season?

Maeser: First quarter of the King’s game. We all made good plays.

Manca: I don’t know what the best play of the season was. But when we are all working together and playing for the win as a team, versus playing for the individual stats, I think that makes the best play every time. We move the ball around until we get the right shot up.

Williams: I think Ellie (Greene) with her halftime buzzer beater against Lynden.

Wood: Hayley (Newman) and Ellie always had sweet plays, like the one at Lakewood.

Kovic: There were too many to choose just one!

What were some of the funniest moments this season?

Maeser: Every day it was always funny with Ellie and Jess. Throwing candy at Carlie Newman!

Manca: We always had really interesting bus talks, and dancing around in the locker room before the games. And Seaside was really fun!

Peterson: There were so many funny moments during the season, but when the team went to Seaside that most definitely had to have been the best time and had the funniest moments!

Williams: I’d say the gift exchange in Seaside was probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, the content of which cannot be disclosed.

Wood: Some of the funniest moments were when Madi Boyd kept scooping (her shot), and whenever Hayley had something to say.

Kovic: Joking around with Hayley Newman was always funny.

How did Davis change your play and the team?

Maeser: He made it easier to understand and to not give up. He really helped each individual person in a different way. He helped us become one team, one family.

Manca: I personally really like Davis as a coach. He knows when to push us and when it’s appropriate to laugh. He believes in fast-paced drills versus running sets of lines, which I think is a lot more beneficial. I remember last year, his first season with us, he went around to everybody and had us shoot, then fixed it until it was the proper form. I think that really helped in the long run.

Peterson: Coach Davis helped with this team so much. He put so much time into our team and he is a large part of why we were able to go as far as we did in the last two seasons. He pushed us all to be the best players we could be and helped all of us individually and as a team grow.

Wood: He built my endurance and ability to sprint!

Kovic: He managed to recruit or bring back people who turned out to be excellent basketball players, like Makenzie and Brittany.

Who was the team’s motivational leader?

Maeser: I feel like we all were at one point.

Manca: I don’t know if I would say there was exactly one motivational leader, we all stepped up when it was needed.

Peterson: I think that we all were motivational in our own ways through the season. There was no one person, but all of us did motivational things.

Williams: I don’t know if we had any one leader. I think we all came together and lead the team at some point. There was a game when almost everyone wrote a motivational quote on the white board in the locker room; it was really cool.

Wood: We didn’t really have a motivational leader.

Kovic: Brittany, she was excellent at giving criticism when necessary and in an effective way.

What was the best lesson you learned from Coach Andy Davis?

Maeser: Any night, anyone can beat anyone.

Manca: The best lesson Coach taught me was that you have to always give it your all and be the best you can, off and on the court, to have a good performance in games - including practice. What you put in and how you deal with what you are dealt, is really valuable in the outcomes of the games.

Peterson: I have learned a lot from Coach Davis, but one of the most important things is to always give 100 percent, no matter where - on the court, off the court, anytime in life.

Williams: The best lesson I learned from Mr. Davis was how to work through adversity. Whenever we were brought down by a loss we somehow always managed to pick ourselves back up.

Wood: The best lesson I learned from him was about myself. He taught me more about myself than I knew.

Kovic: Run wide down the court.


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