Falcon boys lose hotly contested league game

The South Whidbey boys basketball team traveled to Coupeville Friday for its first league game, but came away empty-handed, losing 79-72.

The Falcons are 0-1 in the league and 3-3 overall. Coupeville improved to 1-0 and 4-1.

Coupeville led at halftime by 42-35. The Falcons increased their intensity and outscored the Wolves 22-19 in the third quarter, but couldn’t find closure inside the paint in the fourth.

“We had a slow start, giving up a bunch of offensive rebound putbacks by Coupeville in the first quarter,” Falcon coach Chris Ferrier said. “Eventually, we got the game going at our pace, but the problem was either Coupeville would miss a shot and then get an offensive rebound to score, or they just wouldn’t miss in the first place.”

Wolf Chad Brookhouse led his team with 19 points, 15 of which came in the first half.

Ferrier noted that Coupeville had great offensive balance, with four players in double figures — the Falcons had three — and they did not miss many shots.

“We, on the other hand, did not have the greatest shooting night,” he added.

“To the kids’ credit, I challenged them at halftime and they responded in the second half, doing a much better job of sealing off their offense and rebounding.”

“We went from down 10 points to a two-point deficit in a matter of minutes in the second half, but we just could not get a shot to drop when we really needed it, and couldn’t get over the hump,” Ferrier added.

The coach said it was a great learning experience for all hands, and the Falcons will continue to tighten up those areas that will make his system successful.

When it was over, the Falcons expressed their disappointment. It was widespread.

South Whidbey’s Andy Bennett felt bad for his teammate, Jordan Thornley, who went to school in Coupeville before transferring to Langley Middle School in the seventh grade.

“All of us are unhappy with the close losses we’ve had the last couple of games, especially Jordan on Friday,” he said. “The thing is, our press is designed to take it to the other team in the second half, when they get tired, but we haven’t mastered that yet. But we will.”

Falcon Shelby Ball said South Whidbey isn’t good enough to let the other team dominate, even for a quarter, and try to make a comeback.

“And the Wolves had a hot transition defense with a lot of fast-break opportunities,” Ball said. “We just had a bad first half, no defense, and they took advantage.”

Riley Newman had 22 points for the Falcons and shot 11-for-13 from the free-throw line. After six games, Newman is the second-leading scorer in the state with 159 — only Gary Bell of Kentridge has more with 162 points.

Falcons Cole Erikson and Thornley had 13 points, Ben Cary added nine and Sean George, five.

“Ben played an excellent game coming off the bench,” Ferrier said.

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