LANGLEY — Tallying more turnovers than points was a recipe for disaster for South Whidbey’s girls basketball team Tuesday.
South Whidbey turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, scoring only eight points against Archbishop Murphy. The Wildcats routed the Falcons, 56-19, their second 30-plus point win over South Whidbey this season. Archbishop Murphy controlled the lead from its first possession, and South Whidbey never threatened while scoring its lowest total this season.
Harassing the Falcons from the tipoff, the Wildcats used a press defense. And it worked as Archbishop Murphy scored 9 points on turnovers in the first quarter.
Suffocating defense checked South Whidbey’s offense, too. The Falcons mustered a mere 3 points, as in only one three pointer, only three free throws or a field goal and a free throw. South Whidbey did not score until 2:31 left in the first quarter — a free throw by sophomore Abby Hodson. By that time Archbishop Murphy already had a cushy 15-0 lead.
The second quarter, by itself, was far more respectable. Improved ball movement on the perimeter and aggressive dribbling to break the Wildcats’ pressure helped the Falcons set their offense. It resulted in a rare, quick score by Falcon junior Madi Boyd when she hit a baseline jumper on the inbound pass.
Still, the play was sloppy, exemplified by a possession with five turnovers. The comedy of errors began when Falcon sophomore Kristen Schuster had her shot blocked by Wildcat senior Beth Carlson. But Falcon senior Ellie Greene stole the ensuing pass, lost the ball to Wildcat freshman Maureen Kelly. Greene again stole the ball, then pulled up for a jump shot that missed the rim and backboard. She stole the ball one more time, got the ball in the paint to Hodson who missed a short bank shot, which was rebounded by senior post Annalies Schuster, who missed the putback.
The next Falcon basket came on a desperation three-point shot by Greene, ending six minutes without a basket.
But the damage was already done and South Whidbey lacked the offensive prowess to counter Archbishop Murphy’s potent press defense. Greene led the Falcons with 8 points, 5 of which came in the first half.
Despite the huge margin of defeat, South Whidbey has seen worse. Cedarcrest, the Cascade Conference’s top team, dropped South Whidbey by 38 and 49 points.
South Whidbey wrapped its regular season Friday against Granite Falls, which remained winless in conference play. The Falcons won the previous game 52-40 on their home court.
None of the losses altered a stroke in the Falcon girls’ playoff picture. South Whidbey advances to the 1A postseason tournament against Nooksack Valley (6-5 Northwest Conference; 12-7 overall) on Monday, Feb. 4.