Oh no! Not again

Sophomore Bronwyn Russell tries to get the ball back during the second quarter of the Falcons
Sophomore Bronwyn Russell tries to get the ball back during the second quarter of the Falcons' loss to Mount Baker Wednesday.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

The next time South Whidbey plays Mount Baker, it might be wise for the Falcon girls to find some way to avoid the fourth quarter altogether.

For the second time in two weeks, the final period of basketball was the Falcons' undoing in a game against the Mountaineers. Going head to head with the Mount Baker in the first game of the Northwest District 2A playoffs Wednesday night, the South Whidbey girls played a tight game for 24 minutes before a late 13-5 Mount Baker run left the blue birds gasping for air in a 45-30 loss at Mount Vernon's Skagit Valley college.

Though they finished eight games behind Mount Baker in the regular season standings, the Falcons proved again ã at least for three quarters of basketball ã that they can play with the Mountaineers. Julie Robinson opened the game the same way she closed the regular season last week, putting up a three point shot to give her team an early lead. Up 5-0 for the first two minutes of play, the Falcons soon found they could only fool some of the Mountaineers some of the time on defense and quickly fell behind 12-5.

In the second quarter, the South Whidbey girls got within striking range again. Buoyed by two Lauren Johnson free throws at the end of the first period and a Hilary Wick field goal, the Falcons knotted the score at 15-15 with 3:48 remaining in the first half.

But the Baker girls proved plenty cagey down the stretch. Taking advantage on the free throw line, thanks to the 23 fouls the Falcons committed on the night, the Mountaineers had a 16-4 edge in charity shots.

The Falcons came back one more time, closing to within three points early in the fourth quarter, but fell behind again when Baker's Samantha Phillips and Lexy Postlewaite combined for 11 late points.

Sam Lee, the Falcons' head coach, said his team was unnerved by the prospect of playing their first playoff game in three years. The team never settled into a good shooting or defensive rhythm, he said.

"There's really no preparation you can do for the postseason," Lee said.

After the loss, the Falcons head into single-elimination play. They must win their next two games to advance to the state tournament. Lee said his team will likely play Lynden Christian in the next round. That game is scheduled for Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Marysville High School.

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