And Sultan makes 3

Sam Lee doesn’t expect to get a moment’s rest on the sidelines this year.

In a situation that gave Lee a feeling of deja-vu all over again Friday night, the South Whidbey girls basketball team kept their coach on edge until the last second in a 45-42 road win over the Sultan Turks.

There were no comfortable leads in this game, not even in the the fourth quarter when the Falcons went ahead to stay in their first double digit period of the night. There was only tension — the tension of knowing a win in Sultan was non-negotiable if the Falcons wanted to see post-season play. It was the tension that will be with the team every game for the rest of the season, because the wins are not going to come easy.

“We’re going to win at the last minute,” Lee said of his team. “We’re not going to blow anyone out.”

True enough. Friday’s win was the Falcons’ third in a row of games won by no more than six points. Last week, the girls beat Granite Falls by three, only a few days after slipping by Meridian 40-34.

As in their matchup against the Tigers, the Falcons got the majority of their offensive production from senior Hilary Wick, who produced 20 points before fouling out with three minutes remaining in the game. Good action and rebounding produced by senior guard Lauren Johnson and others kept the Turks occupied, leaving Wick room and time to roam in the offensive lane and wait for the passes she turned into points.

Most of the good play came in the second half. After sputtering to just 17 first-half points behind the Turks 25, the Falcons underwent a halftime attitude adjustment before resuming the floor. Coach Lee said his girls needed to build up the aggression they lacked early.

“It allowed us to capitalize on the number of turnovers we forced them to make,” he said.

Lee said he was particularly pleased to see his team hold together after Wick’s exit from the game. With Melissa Poolman, Julie Robinson, Brianna Hussey and Johnson still producing points, the team stayed ahead even without their hottest hand on the floor.

The win moves the girls to 7-6 overall — their first winning record in the new year — and 3-6 in the North Cascades Conference standings.

In the night’s junior varsity game, Mary McCune and Danette Waterman sank eight points each, but no one could come up with the single field goal they needed to beat Sultan in a 33-32 loss. The Falcon C-squad fared better, gapping the Turks 29-13 largely on the strength of a 13-point performance by Amy Vogt.

Due to finals week, the Falcons play two games at the end of this week. On Friday, they take on Lakewood in a “must win” road contest. Saturday brings Lynden Christian to Erikson Gymnasium. JV and C-squad play begins at 5:15 p.m., while the varsity team takes the floor at 7 p.m.

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