Coupeville secured a District 1 playoff berth at the expense of its rival, the South Whidbey girls basketball team, 48-38 Tuesday night.
The Wolves broke free after 11 ties in the third quarter. Behind a smothering defense, Coupeville surged ahead in the final minute to a 10-point lead and a victory that guaranteed the Wolves would see a playoff game.
South Whidbey led 20-18 at the halftime break. Moving the ball along the perimeter and better passing lifted the Falcons early. They hit shots from the baseline, inside the key on cuts, and mid-range jumpers. They were also flustered a couple of times which led to two first-quarter shot clock violations.
The Falcons’ largest lead came on a short jumper by senior Madi Boyd, who scored a game-high 11 points. Earlier, Falcon freshman Kacie Hanson led the way with five points in the first two periods, including one three-point basket.
But Coupeville closed the gap on its first possession of the third quarter, a short jump shot by Kacie Kiel.
Fighting for the playoffs, South Whidbey regained the lead late in the third quarter. Megan Drake, a freshman, took a bounce pass from Marina Alber as she cut to the basket for a quick layup. After the play, Wolves head coach David King was whistled for a technical foul, giving Hanson a pair of free throws, of which she made one, for a three-point swing in South Whidbey’s favor. Drake turned the next possession into another layup for a 33-28 lead.
Coupeville broke out in the fourth quarter for 20 points, largely sparked by turnovers on defense and quick layups. The Falcons found themselves reeling and suddenly tied with the Wolves at 34-34, the last tie of the game.
From there, the Wolves grabbed six steals that led to five points in the final five minutes. As Coupeville crawled back, South Whidbey fell behind, missing shots and losing the ball.
Losing to Coupeville, one of three 1A schools in the Cascade Conference, eliminated South Whidbey from the 1A District 1 tournament. The Falcons (1-9 Cascade Conference, 2-14 overall) have three games left in their season following Friday’s contest with Lakewood.