Dumke buzzer shot can't kill Cougs

Key free throws and a three-pointer at the game buzzer by senior Amy Dumke made for a few wild moments in Erikson Gymnasium Friday night.

But overall poor shooting from the field and and a low return on foul shooting opportunities left the South Whidbey girls short of where they wanted to be in a heartbreaking 52-48 loss to Lakewood.

"We missed a lot of free throws," said Falcon coach Howard Collier.

Collier watched his team go though big ups and big downs throughout the game. After a quick start in the first half, the Falcons moved comfortably ahead of the Cougars, taking a nine-point lead. At the half, they led 21-17.

The lead didn't last long. Paced by 5-9 senior Stephanie Anderson, who would go on to ding the Falcons for 31 points, the Cougars rung up South Whidbey for a 13-6 third quarter.

Heading into the last 10 minutes of play, things didn't look good for the Falcons. With starters Mary McCune, Jordan Tobler and Amy Dumke in foul trouble, the team was running out of players as fast as it was running out of time. Strangely, that's when the shots started to drop.

After charging the lane all night but getting relatively little in the way of field goals or free throws, it was the foul-plagued Dumke who brought her team back into the game. With her team down by six, Dumke made two straight trips to the foul line and sank three of four shots. Adding to this was McCune, who hit two from the foul line then tag teamed with junior point guard Brownyn Russell for a pair of field goals to tie the score at 41-41.

With about 20 seconds to go, the Cougars reopened the gap with a three-pointer, a gap that remained until, with five seconds remaining, Dumke rushed in from midcourt and put up an improbable three of her own at the buzzer.

As the ball went into the air, then made a weird bounce into the basket, not even her coach expected it to pay off with an overtime period.

"It was an ugly three," he said. "I didn't even look."

In the extra period, neither the Falcons nor the Cougars had much to work with for a while. The South Whidbey offense sputtered along with two starters on the bench, picking up a point on a Catie Newman free throw and a field goal and foul shot from Dumke before she, too, left the game because of her own fouls. Meanwhile, the Cougars missed three of four free throws to start, but made points from the field to keep a small lead.

In the end, it was Lakewood's Anderson who made the difference. Forced to foul her twice in the final seconds of the game, the Falcons sent Anderson to the line, where she nailed all four of her shots to give her team a four-point margin that would hold.

Though without proper statistics after the game, Coach Collier said spotty shooting from both the field and the line killed his team's chances in the game. But the overall tone his team set was positive and aggressive, good signs for a season just getting underway.

The girls play next on Friday and Saturday in the Port Townsend Tournament.

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