Boys end losing streak at Sultan

It took a big comeback Thursday night against a team that has been easy prey in recent years for the South Whidbey boys to halt a five-game losing streak.

In Sultan for the late-week road game, the Falcons poured 26 points through the basket in the fourth quarter to make up an 11-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Turks for the second time this season. Led by seniors Kyle McGillen and Travis Tornga — who combined for 20 points in the final eight minutes of the contest — the Falcons earned their first victory since Dec. 19, which also came against the Turks.

At the same time, the Falcons hold on to sixth place in the North Cascades Conference with a 3-6 NCC record and a 4-9 overall record.

The victory over Sultan came two days after the Falcons got shocked 67-39 by Nooksack Valley at home. In Erikson Gymnasium Tuesday, the Falcons played to within three points of the Pioneers by halftime, trailing 26-23 going into the break. But in the second half, the fourth-ranked Pioneers shut the Falcons down on both the inside and outside, scoring 37 points to South Whidbey’s 16.

So intense was Nooksack Valley’s defense in the second half, South Whidbey came within two points of finishing the game without having a single player score in the double digits. Only Travis Tornga, who found his normally slippery rushes up the lane shut down repeatedly, was able to keep pace with the Pioneers’ scoring leaders, putting up 11 on the night.

This, combined with the fact that the team’s second leading scorer — Kyle McGilllen — fouled out early in the fourth quarter, left the team without the ability to come back.

At Sultan, the Turks’ defense was as poorly prepared for Tornga and McGillen as the Pioneers were well prepared. McGillen — the team’s scoring leader with an average of 15.9 points per game — led his team with a season-high 27 points, while Tornga put up 13. As it turned out, every one of those points were necessary, as only three other Falcon players — Dustin Sidhu, Nick LaVassar and Abe Cutler — were able to connect ball and basket.

South Whidbey heads into its final five games with just one opponent on the schedule — Granite Falls — it has proven capable of beating this season. The Tigers come to Erikson Gymnasium Tuesday night.

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