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To the wire and then some
Fifteen fourth-quarter points from Forrest Holder and Kyle McGillen brought the game back but could not put it away in Erikson Gymnasium Friday night.
For the second time in the past five games, the Falcon boys were right there at the end but without the firepower, or the depth, to pull off a win. Never behind visiting Lakewood by more than a half dozen points, South Whidbey shook off two frustrating quarters of basketball to force a tie with a 15-11 fourth quarter before losing an overtime longball contest and the game 56-52.
Through four quarters, the Cougars played doppelganger to the Falcons, shutting down South Whidbey's offense every time it got going. Both teams were extraordinarily stingy, giving up only 42 points apiece in regulation.
For much of the third quarter, it seemed neither team would score more than could be counted on one hand. Pressure defense on both ends of the court made even inbounding the ball a chore. Ultimately this would be trouble for the Falcons, as junior point guard Jeff Strong got caught up in a number of fouls while trying to move the ball down the court. By the middle of the fourth quarter both he and sophomore Tanner McInerney were on the bench after fouling out.
Carrying South Whidbey in the final 10 minutes were Holder and McGillen. Holder would score half of his 16 total points in the quarter. The pair hit seven of the team's 12 free throws in the quarter and singlehandedly evened the contest.
But in overtime, the depleted home squad was simply outgunned. Lakewood's Garrett Olson nailed three free throws and two three-pointers for nine of the 10 points the Cougars needed to win.
Falcon coach Andy Davis said the boys played as good a game as he could have expected going against the North Cascades Conference's fourth-ranked team.
"The guys are gaining confidence," he said.
For the game, the Cougars out rebounded South Whidbey 28-20. They were also more productive at the free throw line, hitting 17 of 25 shots.
The result was the Falcons' best since a 61-56 loss to Granite Falls on Jan. 7.
The boys play next in a Tuesday road game against Nooksack Valley.