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Girls win despite frequent fouls
The South Whidbey girls basketball team showed again they really love playing at home Saturday, winning 58-54 over the Tenino Lady Beavers for the Falcons second victory this season.
The girls are 2-3 as they begin Cascade Conference action Friday against Coupeville.
With Lindsey Newman hitting her shots — 35 total for the day — and Reilly O’Sullivan defending as though her life depended on it, South Whidbey pulled ahead 14-9 by the end of the first quarter.
Tenino’s Gabriella Warner tried her best to generate some offense, but her shots went wide and Falcon rebounding offered the Lady Beavers few second chances at the net.
In the second period, Chantal LaChaussee’s fast breaks and Jessica Manca’s physicality kept the Falcons soaring. But the Beavers managed to find their groove behind Warner and freshman guard Kelli Neer, pulling within two points, 15-13, with 4:59 left in the second quarter.
In her first game, Falcon Alannah Alber made her presence felt, pressuring the Beaver offense, but Tenino’s girls only scored 27 percent of the time.
Newman picked up two three-pointers, one from the side, another from way outside the paint, and her continued heads-up play outgunned Tenino the first three quarters. Very few errant balls escaped her attention, and she was ably assisted by Ashlinn Prosch, Taylor Pope, O’Sullivan, LaChaussee and Manca.
The score at the half was 25-18.
The third quarter was basically a romp for the Falcons and they led 44-33 at the end of the period. The Falcons played with an awareness that team tactics really do work, underscored by the 23 points not scored by Newman.
The fourth quarter, on the other hand — when the girls typically run out of steam — was marked by a surfeit of errors that led to only four girls on the court for the home team while the opposition tried to take advantage.
But those four held their own.
The Falcons were assessed a mind-bending 51 fouls during the game, mainly over the referee’s liberal interpretation of the “hand check” rule, which states that a defender can’t use the palm of her hand to impede the offensive player.
One by one, the varsity team fouled out until only Makenzie Peterson, Maggie Schuster, Pope and Alber were left on the court, but they staved off a late Beaver resurgence and won 58-54.
“I can’t tell you how proud I was of the girls today,” Falcon coach Henry Pope said. “Going into the league, the girls are starting to play much better, but there’s work to be done this week, instilling more discipline on offense and defense.”
Alber said the Beavers had a chance in the fourth but ran out of time. “There were only four of us and we kept them busy,” she said.
Prosch added that Tenino was pressing hard at the end.
“I’m not sure all those fouls were justified,” she said. “The coach told us to hold onto the ball so they couldn’t catch up to us.”
It was a tough weekend for Tenino; they lost by 20 points the night before at Coupeville.
“Our girls played well today,” said Beaver coach Wanda Blanksma. “But the Falcons made all the adjustments they needed and we didn’t have any real answer for Ms. Newman.”
At 5:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19 the girls welcome Coupeville (2-1), followed by the boys game.