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Girls have no answer for Trojan force
Halfway through the third quarter Friday night, the Falcon girls were winning.
Not only were they winning, but for the first time since they defeated Sultan 58-33 on Jan. 30, they were ahead by a lot.
But being up by 12 points in the final game of the season over a team that needed a win to make it into the playoffs was hardly a sure thing. On their home court with three senior girls playing their final game in blue and white, the Falcons were hammered by foul calls and victimized by visiting Meridian's 22-point fourth quarter to lose 55-53.
The turnaround was unbelievable for team members, fans and Falcon head coach Howard Collier, who was suffering with both his team's frustration and a bad case of the flu on the sidelines. He said it was hard to watch as a double-digit lead dwindled to one point, then went away altogether.
"They were playing perfect," he said of his team. "We had this team."
And there was little reason to believe they wouldn't have them at the final buzzer. After outpointing the Trojans by three points in the first half, the Falcons used long-range shooting to get ahead. Seniors Julie Robinson and Amy Dumke combined for six three-pointers, enough to stay even with the Trojans in the battle of the treys through the first 24 minutes of the game.
But the game's balance shifted not long after the start of the second half. Seven fouls called in rapid succession against South Whidbey put the Trojans in the bonus early. Though they would just outshoot the Falcons at the line, going 16-for-21 versus South Whidbey's 13-for-22, the margin was more than enough to secure the victory.
Collier said the end of the game was particularly disappointing in that the contest was the last for seniors Robinson, Dumke and Dannette Waterman. Making the loss feel even worse was an incident of unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of the visiting team after the game ended. The incident had no impact on the game, Collier said, but was hard on his team, which suffered half its losses this season in games decided by less than 10 points. He said he believes some of the Trojans were upset that they had to struggle for the win.
"Nobody wants to lose to us," he said.
The Falcons finished 4-16 overall and 3-13 in the North Cascades Conference. They finish the season in eighth place in the NCC, just ahead of Sultan.