Falcon girls shut down Coupeville’s offense

Falcons Jessica Manca and Samantha Pope defend against Coupeville’s Mandi Murdy Tuesday during South Whidbey’s 51-39 victory over the Wolves. - James Woolbright / The Whidbey News-Times
Falcons Jessica Manca and Samantha Pope defend against Coupeville’s Mandi Murdy Tuesday during South Whidbey’s 51-39 victory over the Wolves.
— image credit: James Woolbright / The Whidbey News-Times

The South Whidbey girls basketball team played one of its best games of the year Tuesday, beating Coupeville 51-39.

The girls are 3-2 in the Cascade Conference and 5-5 overall. Wins at Lakewood Friday and at home Saturday for the make-up game with Coupeville will land the Falcons in a solid tie for second place in the league.

There were two primary reasons for the win over the Wolves.

First, the one-woman wrecking crew called Lindsey Newman, who dropped 33 points and collected 20 rebounds to lead the team.

After only 11 games, Newman has scored 300 points for a 27.3-per-game average; highest in the entire state.

“Lindsey was just amazing in her ability to control the ball and make her shots,” Falcon coach Henry Pope said.

For the first time this season, South Whidbey led in each of the four quarters.

The second reason for the win was Falcon Reilly O’Sullivan’s ability to shut down the Wolves’ key forward, Megan Smith.

“We used four players in the zone on defense,” Pope explained. “Reilly stayed on Megan and held her to eights points total.”

For the season, Smith is averaging 17 points per game.

“Reilly’s tenacity was outstanding,” Pope said. “Any girl she’s assigned to guard is going to have one of her worst games; Reilly’s that good.”

Pope was quick to add that neither Newman nor O’Sullivan could be as effective without Chantal LaChaussee, Jessica Manca, Ashlinn Prosch or Alannah Alber’s quick thinking under pressure on the court.

“I’m proud of their efforts,” Pope said. “As for Saturday, why mess with a good thing? The on-ball screen Coupeville used didn’t help Megan and we expect them to make adjustments. As will we.”

Newman noted that the Falcons and Wolves have a long history as cross-island rivals.

“They are great girls to play against and I’m looking forward to Saturday’s game,” she said. “My teammates really stepped up their defense, and that allowed me to get free and make my shots. It was a real team effort all the way.”

After Newman’s 33 points, Ashlinn Prosch had five while O’Sullivan and Samantha Pope contributed three each.

At 5:15 tonight, the girls again play Coupeville, this time at home — the boys follow at 7 p.m.

“Coupeville should be a good game, and I believe we’ll win,” Alber said. “Despite the big loss at ATM last week, we’re working much closer as a team and each game we start is definitely winnable.”

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