Sports

Girls basketball team splits against King’s, Granite Falls

Falcon defender Reilly O’Sullivan tries to keep Lady Knight Laura Friar from scoring  during South Whidbey’s 55-34 victory on Tuesday.   - David Welton / The Record
Falcon defender Reilly O’Sullivan tries to keep Lady Knight Laura Friar from scoring during South Whidbey’s 55-34 victory on Tuesday.
— image credit: David Welton / The Record

The South Whidbey girls basketball team continues to run hot and cold.

After handily beating the Lady Knights from King’s 55-34, the girls collapsed in the fourth quarter Thursday to lose 57-55 at the buzzer to the Granite Falls Tigers.

Unfortunately, the girls — even with their 7-5 record — are out of contention for a playoff berth unless they can beat undefeated Archbishop Murphy on Feb. 17.

“The Tigers played a great game, they were well-coached and we just ended up with too many missed shots and bad passes,” said Falcon coach Henry Pope. “Granite Falls waited until under 10 seconds on the shot clock, they were patient and came back from a deficit to win.”

The Tigers scored first, but were met with a quick three-pointer from key defender Reilly O’Sullivan. Even with Tiger Audrey Murphy’s inside shooting, South Whidbey led 15-8 at the first quarter.

But the Tigers were nothing if not steady; Murphy and Anna Jensen combined three-pointers and inside shots to tie it up 24-24 until Cayla Calderwood and Lindsey Newman managed to eke out four.

At the half, the Falcons led 28-24.

Just as the second half started, the school mascot, Freddy Falcon, inadvertently stepped on the court and South Whidbey was penalized for delay of game. The incident seemed to energize the Tigers.

A Granite Falls free throw moved the score back to a tie, but then the Falcons roared back to increase their former lead to 43-34 at the end of the third quarter.

It seemed like smooth sailing.

But everything seemed to fall apart as the final quarter started. The girls played hard, but lost their focus and tried to force their shots to no avail; Ashlinn Prosch went zero for 16 tries, Samantha Pope shot zero for eight.

With 55 seconds left and the score 55-55, Tiger Peyton Spencer was fouled and made both her free throws. A long, desperate shot by Newman didn’t connect and the game ended in Granite Falls’ favor, 57-55.

Tiger coach Mark Neuman said he told his girls what they must do to have any chance.

“We had to stop Lindsey, the top shooter in the state, keep her away from the perimeter,” he said. “But Calderwood’s good as well, and we had to adjust for her height after she began to cause headaches for us.”

Pope said Granite’s type of offense — slow, controlling the ball and using the shot clock — is foreign to the Falcons.

“Of course, when our shooting is hot, we can get away with it. But that didn’t happen tonight,” he added.

Newman led with 31 points; she now leads the state with 514 points after

18 games. Calderwood brought home 15 and O’Sullivan, five.

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