Sports

Knights shoot out lights, defeat Falcons

Falcon Chris Carey prepares to pass the ball to teammate Scott Stallman; a second later, Carey fired to Stallman, who plowed through traffic for a perfect layup and two points during the 55-44 loss to King’s on Tuesday. - David Welton / The Record
Falcon Chris Carey prepares to pass the ball to teammate Scott Stallman; a second later, Carey fired to Stallman, who plowed through traffic for a perfect layup and two points during the 55-44 loss to King’s on Tuesday.
— image credit: David Welton / The Record

The South Whidbey boys basketball team got behind early against King’s (10-3) Tuesday and couldn’t catch up, losing 54-44.

The Falcons tried, got within a half-dozen points, but no luck.

The boys (6-5) are still in the league playoffs, now joined by Sultan (also 6-5). Both are far behind undefeated Archbishop Murphy (11-0).

King’s strategy was simplicity itself.

“We wanted to stop Riley (Newman),” said Knight coach Bill Liley. “He’s a very good shooter. If we were going to get beaten, we wanted it to be by someone else.”

At 270 points for the year, Newman is a serious threat to any team.

The Knights had seven on the scoreboard before Newman got the Falcons’ first two with 4:14 left in the first quarter. The boys from King’s were polished and professional; each could shoot and even the shortest, 5-foot-7 Alex Mar, was adept at stopping the ground attack and closing lanes.

They were very good, notwithstanding the rest of the team all exceeded 6-foot-1.

Falcons Scott Stallman and Chris Carey tried hard to make something happen, with Carey hitting a fine three-pointer from the center, but the Knights led at the first break, 15-7.

The second quarter was the deal-breaker as South Whidbey fought back hard by tightening the defense, making shots and keying on 6-foot-5 King’s forward Kyle Talbot.

The Knights led 22-17 at the half.

Finally, coach Scott Collins brought in 6-foot-4 Adrian Cortes for help under the net as the fast-paced contest continued. But King’s shots kept falling through the string with disturbing regularity.

Each time a Falcon scored, Collins anxiously waved his hands as if willing his team to hustle down for the transition. They did, but the Knights had their shooting game in gear and the score was 37-25 at the third break.

King’s guard Nick Hardy dogged Newman relentlessly up-close-and-personal all evening, and Newman was held to a paltry nine points on the night. Jordan Thornley, Stallman, Carey and Jeff Brasko all tried to take up the slack, but Mar took advantage of every poorly-aimed pass — and there more than a few.

With no 30-second clock in the boys game, the Knights activated a stall maneuver to run the clock and pick up fouls from frustrated Falcons.

The score, 54-44, was closer than it should have been.

“The coach told us at halftime we can play with them,” Cortes said. “Maybe it was a mental barrier; we played scared.”

Collins agreed.

“I am just frustrated with how our kids play so scared against King’s — not just this year — but last year as well,” the coach said.

“King’s plays really aggressive, intense defense, and if you are not going to match their intensity, then you are in for a long night. We gave up three offensive rebounds in the first minute of the game,” Collins said. “We also did a very poor job with our shot selection, took some really bad shots early in the game and tried a lot of contested shots. It’s almost as if when we play King’s, our kids are defeated before they step on the floor.

I think our kids worry about losing so much that they forget to worry about doing the things that you have to do to win games.”

Collins added that South Whidbey is going to face teams that are a lot better than King’s and play just as hard and as smart as they do.

“And Riley is going to see teams key on him like that the rest of the season,” he added.

Thornley ended with

10 points, Newman had nine, Carey and Stallman added eight each and Brasko tickled the twine for seven.

On Thursday, South Whidbey made a comeback of sorts, beating Granite Falls 66-54.

The secret to the win? The boys started strong, maintained the pace to the end, led all four quarters and were ahead 41-32 at the half. It didn’t hurt that Falcon scoring was evenly spread among the top shooters.

Against the Tigers, Newman led with 16 points; he currently is the league’s third-rated shooter, averaging 15.9 points per game. Carey and Stallman had

12 each, Cole Erikson added 10, Thornley had five and Brasko finished with four.

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