A slow start proved too much for the South Whidbey boys basketball team to overcome last week at La Conner in a 61-59 loss.
Despite scoring 32 points in the fourth quarter, the Falcon boys failed to close the gap, losing their seventh game in eight tries.
“Our biggest problem is our kids don’t expect to win,” said Falcon head coach Scott Collins in an email during the school’s winter break. “So we get off to really slow starts and then we realize that we are good enough to be competitive with a team, and by the time we have figured that out we have dug ourselves too big of a hole.”
Falcon senior CJ Sutfin scored a game-high 21 points in the loss, the most the senior wing has totaled this season. Collins said Sutfin was a major reason the Falcons closed the deficit and helped South Whidbey rally against La Conner in the final period.
His statline is the proof. Sutfin made three of six three-point shots, four of nine two-pointers, four of five free throws and blocked two shots.
Parker Collins, a Falcon junior, worked in the key and grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds, seven on offense. South Whidbey’s lone big man hit six of 13 two-point shots and both of his free throws for 17 points.
Falcon senior Brandon Asay tallied 13 points, though he was uncharacteristically off at the free-throw line, where he made three of eight shots. He did, however, gather 11 rebounds.
But those three Falcons carried the load. Only two other Falcons scored: freshman Cody Russell with six points and senior Nate Hanson with two.
La Conner (2-0 overall) opened its season with a similarly close contest. In the first game, the La Conner Braves mustered 50 points but allowed 49 against Seattle Lutheran.
South Whidbey’s coach rested his team during the first week of the school’s winter break, but planned to bring them back to practice starting Dec. 27.
“I am pleased with progress so far,” Scott Collins said. “But we need to improve our assist-to-turnover ratio, field goal shooting percentage, free throw percentage and our offensive rebounding.”
The Falcons’ next game is against Lakewood, a Cascade Conference rival, at South Whidbey High School on Tuesday, Jan. 7.