The Falcon girls basketball team made one guarantee Tuesday.
South Whidbey won’t finish the Cascade Conference season winless after defeating Lakewood 51-40 on the road.
“It felt so good,” said Falcon senior Hayley Newman.
“We were getting so frustrated with ourselves.”
After scoring only nine points in the second half Friday against Coupeville, South Whidbey steadily poured in 33 in the final periods against Lakewood (1-3 Cascade Conference; 3-4 overall).
Reliable seniors Ellie Greene and Newman secured the victory. The Falcon co-captains combined for 35 points.
Greene, a slasher, cut to the rim for layups and pull-up jump shots. The victory was a much-needed bounce back for Greene after going scoreless against Whidbey Island rival Coupeville on Dec. 14. On Tuesday, Greene continued her scoring tear with a game-high 18 points that started Dec. 15 against Overlake where she dropped 17 points.
Newman, typically a shooter, scored one three-point shot. As defenders swarmed her every time she had the ball, Newman found room to break for the hoop for layups or fouls. The strategy worked as Newman scored 17 points.
Lakewood gained an early lead, 13-12, by the first quarter. South Whidbey (1-3 Cascade Conference; 5-4 overall) responded with lockdown defense, holding Lakewood to seven points in the second quarter. The Falcons dropped 16 points to close the first half and went into halftime with a 28-20 lead.
From the second quarter, the Falcons kept the lead. But it wasn’t easy.
South Whidbey played with a limited roster. Key reserve sophomore Abby Hodson was out of town on a planned absence. Eventually, tired legs caught up with the Falcons, who fought off a fourth-quarter rally attempt by the Cougars. South Whidbey survived four three-point baskets by Lakewood, three of which were made by Cougar freshman Haley Senyitko.
“We were up the whole game by 10 or 15 points, then with four minutes left we only have a five-point lead,” Newman said.
“We just weren’t closing out on her, and she can hit that open shot.”
Madi Boyd, the Falcons’ junior point guard, chipped in eight points. The result was the Falcons’ highest score this season.
The Falcons had a week off planned for winter break.