Boys battle to the end, and beyond

Falcon Josh Gulvin makes a two-point layup in the first quarter Friday against Cedarcrest. His game-leading 17 points went for naught as the Falcons lost 54-52 in overtime. - Jeff VanDerford
Falcon Josh Gulvin makes a two-point layup in the first quarter Friday against Cedarcrest. His game-leading 17 points went for naught as the Falcons lost 54-52 in overtime.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

It was close, real close.

Friday night’s battle against Cedarcrest could have gone either way. In the end, the Falcons lost in overtime 54-52, but the Red Wolf victory was razor thin.

“I think the problem was in the first half,” Falcons senior Josh Gulvin said.

“We should have scored more,” Gulvin added. “That guy (Red Wolf center Nick) Ritter was good and we should have boxed him more.”

As in, getting the defensive player out of position for the rebound.

Falcon Coach Andy Davis agreed.

“We had a lot of shot opportunities we just didn’t make, especially in the first half,” he said. “The lesson learned is simple: every single play matters.”

Cedarcrest forward David Cortez scored first but Chad Anderson caught twine with a trey with 5:15 left in the first quarter.

From there it was a seesaw battle, with Anderson catching fire under the net for seven of his 13 points. The Red Wolves led by only one at the break.

South Whidbey kicked it up a notch with Gulvin winning several hard-fought layups and the Falcons moved ahead to 25-23 at the half. And the break gave Davis a chance to rest.

That’s because some coaches try to motivate with silence, as if sending bombastic brain waves to players will help turn the tide on the court.

Not Davis. He asks 100 percent of his athletes and gives the same in return on the sidelines — yelling, gesturing, coaxing and encouraging with body language that delineates his every feeling.

South Whidbey maintained a two-point 36-34 advantage at the end of the third. Adams and Gulvin combined for four points and it began to seem the team would pull ahead for good.

But then the Red Wolves calmed down as Ritter and Cortez started hitting their shots and the Falcons didn’t.

With eight seconds left and the score knotted at 42-42, Davis called time out to strategize. But when Ian Ward, Gulvin, Adams, Anderson and Eric Stallman hit the boards, time ran out.

Cedarcrest, sensing they had the upper hand, caught fire with guard Louie LaBate stealing at will and Cortez making his shots in the extra stanza.

Anderson, Ward and Gulvin were fouled but only made one of two from the stripe while Cortez and Kitter jammed their shots down the Falcons’ throats.

“It was a tough game,” Davis said. “If we had made some free throws down the stretch (they went four for 12) and finish off some layins early, the outcome would have been different.”

Gulvin led with 17 points, Anderson had 13, Adams picked up 10 and Ward, six.

“You learn in defeat as well as in victory,” Davis said. He was pleased with the level of play by Anderson, Robbie Bailey and Ward, who had his best offensive game of the season.

Friday the boys travel to Granite Falls. They are currently 0-3 in league play, 3-6 overall.

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