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Falcons tame Lions with first playoff win
First the Lions, next the Tigers oh, my.
The South Whidbey Falcon girls basketball team entered Squalicum High Schools self-described House of Thunder Friday to play the Lynden Lions in the second round of District 1 playoffs.
And they beat em soundly,
We were a bit dysfunctional in the first half, but tore them apart in the second with our passing and cutting game, senior Jessi Eaton said.
Last night, the girls faced the Burlington-Edison Tigers (17-5) the outcome will determine who, where, when or if they play next (check www.southwhidbeyrecord.com for updates.)
Last week, the girls lost 49-45 to Shorecrest. And so, the official Washington Interscholastic Activities Association bracket posting just inside the door to the gym Friday stated this was the losers game.
True enough, but certainly misleading both teams looked like winners as they began their warm-up routines in the cavernous space.
Eaton caught the first hoop, but the Lion defense short in stature but scrappy kept scoring to a minimum. By the first break it was almost even at 9-8.
At first, it seemed the Falcons sorely missed Marcella Litwiller out with a wounded knee whose game average of 15 points and 11 rebounds helped the team get to the playoffs in the first place.
The Lions kept the girls off-balance the game didnt hit double digits until two minutes into the second quarter.
Their tenacity kept us out of sync, said South Whidbey Coach John Pyrtek.
Janelle Iversen, Erica Johnson and Lindsey Newmans aggressive Big D helped keep the Lions in check until Caitie Newmans first trey bearded the other team in their den.
Though Newman appeared to play in some pain from a hip injury, the girls managed to stay ahead 19-17 at the half.
A tiny contingent of Islanders, loud and proud, tried to keep the Falcons in front. Girls, do it for your bus driver! Tom Tommy the Greek Arhontas extolled from the sidelines.
The Lady Falcons exploded out of the gate as the second half began, scoring six points in the first minute.
Eaton and Lindsey began to hit some good shots, while Amanda LaVassar got her first three pointer of the season to celebrate her acceptance that day at the University of Washington.
As a result of Pyrteks adjustment to Litwillers absence, Lauren Sandri had one of her best games. We all kind of switched around, Sandri said.
I went in as forward and Caitie took post, she said. The Lions out-hustled us at first and we shouldnt have let them.
The coach said that We have the height on them and we shouldnt be letting them rebound, she said. It gave everyone a little spark; we didnt want the season to end.
Nor did Pyrtek.
We worked on Lindseys free throw mechanics in practice and she was perfect down the stretch when they had to foul; 6-for-6 in the last two minutes, he said.
Lyndens Jessie Roberts and Katie Loder did their best to stave off defeat. But in the end they were outmatched, outshot and just plain outclassed the Falcons led 33-21 as the girls prepared the icing for the cake in the fourth.
The huge Lion contingent in the stands made a good deal of sound and fury, but it was all roar and no score. The Lady Falcons continued to plug the interior lines of defense and the Lions couldnt manage to hit their outside shots.
Good night, Irene, Arhontas sang as the score finalized at 49-34.
Next up, Burlington-Edison, a familiar but first-class foe.
In December, South Whidbey lost to Burlington-Edison by 12 points.
We were a different team then, Sandri said. Were stronger now with more endurance.
Newman recalled the team was over-confident in the third period. We wont make that mistake again, though we know they have good ball handling skills.
It has been a long road to and through the playoffs, but the girls are ready.
Were a totally different team now, Newman said. She had a big night against Lynden: 18 points, 18 rebounds and five steals.
Coach Pyrtek believes his team can win.
They have a very talented post player and their guards are solid but young, he said.
It should be a very even game. We will put points on the board but with the thin bench Britta Madison having left the team and Marcellas injury it will be a challenge to maintain the defensive solidarity we saw in the Shorecrest and Lynden fourth quarters.
Challenge is defined as a task or situation that tests someones abilities the next rung on the playoff ladder, for example.