Wild end wraps boys’ hoops stunner

Falcon senior CJ Sutfin rises to the hoop for a layup attempt as he’s fouled by a player on the Cedarcrest Red Wolves on Friday, Jan. 24 at South Whidbey High School.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Falcon senior CJ Sutfin rises to the hoop for a layup attempt as he’s fouled by a player on the Cedarcrest Red Wolves on Friday, Jan. 24 at South Whidbey High School.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

The Falcon boys basketball team’s bout with Cedarcrest last week ended with a last-second shot and controversy over a referee’s call.

South Whidbey High School’s Erickson Gym was rocking Friday night in the final minutes as the Falcons chipped away a five-point Red Wolves’ lead. Trailing one point with six seconds remaining, Falcon senior Brandon Asay dribbled near the baseline, jumped for the backboard surrounded by three Red Wolves and a tangle of arms, but landed with the ball still in his hands. Three game officials convened for a few seconds following the play, but the head ref called the game 77-76 for a Red Wolves victory.

After a few calls that went against Asay, including fouls in the fourth quarter, the missed call was too much for the team senior. Asay jogged off the court and toward the locker room before returning to shake hands with Cedarcrest’s players and coaches.

Cedarcrest rallied from a 22-14 deficit in the first quarter to take a 36-34 lead by halftime. Most of the Red Wolves’ points were scored on eight three-point field goals in the first half.

Early on, South Whidbey was the aggressor. Pushing the ball quickly to break Cedarcrest’s press defense and getting transition layups. When the Red Wolves settled into their half-court defense, however, the Falcons found themselves taking jumpshots that didn’t fall through the net until late in the game.

In the fourth quarter, Cedarcrest took its largest lead of the night at 59-51. But South Whidbey scrapped its way back into striking distance of the lead by driving to the hoop, drawing fouls and slowing the game’s pace. That, and the Falcons finally hit their outside shots.

With about two minutes left, Asay made a layup and drilled a three-pointer to cut Cedarcrest’s lead to one possession. Senior Nick French drew a foul and hit both shots to tie the game at 73-73 with 1:43 left.

Following an empty Red Wolves’ possession, junior Parker Collins hit a corner three-pointer — his final points of a team-high 18 —that sent the Falcon faithful into a frenzy and gave South Whidbey its first lead since the second quarter.

The ecstasy was short lived. Worried with giving up a three-pointer, South Whidbey’s defense lost Cedarcrest junior Adam Davenport who cut to the hoop for an easy layup. Just over a minute remained, and South Whidbey’s offense tried to whittle down the clock before Asay missed a three. The game looked to be in-hand when Collins secured the rebound and dribbled the ball out of the paint to let the seconds tick away. But Cedarcrest senior Jordan Corpus, who scored a game-high 28 points, stole the ball and was fouled. He made both free throws to give the Red Wolves a 77-76 lead that the team held through Asay’s last-second drive to the basket and to the game’s end.

Overnight rebound

South Whidbey had little time to dwell on the heartbreaking loss, however, as they hosted La Conner on Saturday afternoon. The Falcon boys rallied from a 23-22 first-half deficit to win 56-44. Falcon senior CJ Sutfin led the way with 16 points, and Collins and Chandler Sutton added 14 points each.


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