Falcons move to 3-0 with win over Wolverines

Falcon Riley Newman, who sank four three-pointers from the cheap seats against Friday Harbor, keeps the ball away from Wolverine Ryan Aylward Saturday.    - David Welton / The Record
Falcon Riley Newman, who sank four three-pointers from the cheap seats against Friday Harbor, keeps the ball away from Wolverine Ryan Aylward Saturday.
— image credit: David Welton / The Record

The Falcon boys basketball team remains undefeated at 3-0 after beating Friday Harbor 54-47 in a non-conference match-up Saturday.

The main problem faced last week, a lack of intensity in the third quarter, threatened but didn’t overwhelm.

Friday Harbor demonstrated a scrappy offense led by Wolverine Austin Scheffer, but their inexperience — this was their first game of the season — showed early as the Falcons led 16-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Riley Newman and Scott Stallman combined precision passes and skillful scoring to keep the Wolverines uncertain throughout the second quarter.

Overall highlights were few as South Whidbey maintained pressure. Cole Erikson fired a nice three-pointer and Chris Carey showed selfless offense, getting the ball to Stallman or Newman instead of trying to force the issue.

At the half, the Falcons were ahead 29-14.

As the third quarter began, South Whidbey let errors and fouls get the better of them, allowing the Wolverines to pull within five points, 38-33. The potent Falcon offense of the first half began to crumble as Friday Harbor stepped up its game.

Frustration spread to the sidelines.

“Come on!” Falcon coach Scott Collins yelled more than once.

With the score 40-35, South Whidbey entered the fourth quarter somewhat energized. The Wolverines refused to fold their tent, however, and displayed some nice moves at center court.

But it was too little, too late. Falcon Jordan Thornley was fouled and picked up the magic 50th point with 1:26 left; Newman and Carey made the final shots for the 54-47 final.

In the end, Scheffer’s furious bump-and-run tactics couldn’t stave off the Falcon offense as Newman scored four three-pointers of five attempted. He ended the day with 21 total points, followed by Stallman with 15.

The Falcon defense was led by Adrian Cortes, who cornered the ball and passed to Chris Carey, Newman or Jeff Blasko for one fast break after another.

Before the game, Collins warned the Falcons about the danger of playing down to the opponent’s level. It was something the team remembered just in time.

“We tend to get into an early lead then let the other guys back into the game,” Collins said. “We just need to be more aggressive in the third.”

Friday Harbor felt otherwise.

“They were a lot more game-ready than we were,” Wolverine coach Rod Turnbull said. “We spent a lot of energy getting within five points and just couldn’t get anything more. But our guys never quit. The Falcons are a well-coached team and it showed today.”

Given enough time, Newman was able to score, but when pressed hard he had trouble making his shots.

And he knows it.

“I’ve been forcing the ball too much,” Newman said. “This is my first year playing varsity and it’s going to take a while to get into the mix; things move a lot faster out there.”

Collins noted that, while it’s always good to start a season 3-0, Cascade Conference play is another story and these tune-up games are always of value.

“We have some very good, very talented guys on the team; they moved the ball well and are starting to make the shots,” he said. “They are smart kids.”

After a trip to Mount Baker Dec. 12, the boys welcome the Tenino Beavers at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13 following the girls game.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sports@south

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