Defending with a zone formation, South Whidbey dared Meridian to hit outside shots Wednesday night.
The Trojan boys were happy to oblige as they knocked down eight three-point shots — six in the second half — and dropped the Falcons 59-43.
“Basically, the whole (plan) was trying to contest threes and layups,” said Falcon senior CJ Sutfin. “That’s a good shooting team.”
The first half belonged to one player: Meridian junior Alex Martin, who scored a game-high 23 points, 16 of which came in the first 16 minutes. Trailing 25-12 in the second quarter, South Whidbey went to work on offense after settling for quick threes earlier.
Falcon senior Brandon Asay probed the Trojan defense with dribble drives that resulted in a couple of free throws and a layup by the end of the opening half.
“We passed the ball a lot better than last year,” said Falcon junior Parker Collins.
South Whidbey had second-chance shots late in the second quarter, too. Sutfin grabbed a rebound after Collins missed a free throw, was fouled as he hoisted the putback then made both of his free throws.
The four-point play in a matter of eight seconds seemed to spur on the Falcons’ defense. Falcon reserve guard Ricky Muzzy blocked Meridian’s Sam Chambers from behind, saving a decent look at a layup.
After a missed shot by the Trojans, Falcon senior Nate Hanson scored a quick transition layup to cut Meridian’s lead to 25-20.
Another transition layup was missed by Asay, however, which led to a jump shot by Meridian’s Tanner Tutterow. Following the basket with about a minute remaining, Hanson missed a three-pointer — the sixth missed three of the first half.
“I missed some, we all missed some,” Sutfin said of the Falcons’ outside shooting. “That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Meridian pulled away from 28-24 at the start of the third quarter on outside shooting. Where the Trojans were led by Martin earlier, the team found its footing in the second half.
A few three-pointers in the third quarter put Meridian up by double digits, and the Falcons never came within less than 10 points of the lead.
The Trojans added two more three-pointers in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter, both by Trojan sophomore Brady Moore.
“They didn’t hit as many threes in the beginning,” Collins said. “In the end, it really killed us.”
South Whidbey begins Cascade Conference play Tuesday, Dec. 10 against King’s at SWHS.