Friday Harbor sails past South Whidbey in boys hoops playoff

CJ Sutfin, a Falcon senior, maneuvers around a Friday Harbor player for a layup Feb. 14 at Friday Harbor High School. South Whidbey lost, ending the Falcons
CJ Sutfin, a Falcon senior, maneuvers around a Friday Harbor player for a layup Feb. 14 at Friday Harbor High School. South Whidbey lost, ending the Falcons' season in the 1A District 1 tournament.
— image credit: Steve Smith,

A slow start doomed South Whidbey boys basketball against Friday Harbor in a loser-out playoff game Friday night.

The Falcons sailed to Friday Harbor for the 1A District 1 playoff game, but the Wolverines sailed away with a 64-48 victory, ending South Whidbey’s season.

“We all expected to win that game,” said Falcon junior Parker Collins, who scored a team-high 15 points. “It was a long trip home.”

Neither team started out hot, but Friday Harbor took an early lead and extended it to 24-17 by halftime. Using an aggressive zone defense, the Wolverines kept the Falcons on the perimeter and harassed the ball handler. On offense, the Wolverines found points with mid-range jump shots — a change from the low post, close-to-the-basket offense that worked for them the first time they hosted the Falcons back in December 2013.

“They set the tone,” Collins said. “We haven’t really played a team like that.”

In the third quarter, South Whidbey was able to cut Friday Harbor’s lead to single digits. But as the lead dwindled, the Wolverines answered with a short run to close the quarter with a 42-30 edge.

Trying to slow the game down and keep time on the clock, South Whidbey tried sending Friday Harbor to the free-throw line. The Wolverines hit their shots, however, while the Falcons continued to struggle with scoring.

Friday Harbor advanced to the third-place District 1 game and lost to top-seeded Lynden Christian 69-46, and will play in the 1A tri-district tournament this week.

South Whidbey ends its season with one playoff win after going in 4-10 Cascade Conference and 6-17 overall. The Falcons will lose seven seniors and could return six players with varsity experience, including Collins, the team’s leading scorer. A former three-sport athlete, Collins spent the previous offseason playing basketball, an experience he said drastically transformed his play. He said he hopes to play for a similar team this spring and summer and would focus on encouraging his teammates to follow suit.

“A lot of people will have to step up next year,” Collins said.


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