Falcons get bitten badly by Bulldogs at home

Falcon Shelby Ball attempts the shot as the fourth quarter gets under way Wednesday. South Whidbey lost 71-54 to the 3A Mount Vernon Bulldogs. - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Falcon Shelby Ball attempts the shot as the fourth quarter gets under way Wednesday. South Whidbey lost 71-54 to the 3A Mount Vernon Bulldogs.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

LANGLEY — There was a notable moment Wednesday during South Whidbey’s 71-54 loss to the Mount Vernon Bulldogs.

With 30 seconds left in the third quarter, Falcon Riley Newman rebounded and made a fast break to the net, followed by the smoothest layup on the planet and two points.

It was an impeccable play, perfectly executed. Thing is, Newman was only able to do it once all night.

The Bulldogs (5-1 in the Northwest League) are a big 3A school, and the thinking was that over the Christmas break, it would be good to have a little competition before Cascade Conference play begins in earnest on Jan. 8.

They got some competition all right.

Mount Vernon picked up a quick four points to start things off, and it took a few minutes before Falcon Cole Erikson scored for South Whidbey.

At first, both teams made a series of sophomore mistakes, getting the kinks out after a week or so off.

As the first period drew to a close, the Falcon defense brightened up and tightened up, allowing the offense to draw even at 6-6 with three minutes left.

But then Bulldog guard Jake Weber-Koetje made a trey from the really cheap seats and Mount Vernon took the lead 11-8.

The second quarter will remain a mystery to players, Falcon coach Chris Ferrier and the huge crowd. At first, South Whidbey was struck by a severe case of layupitis — nothing worked inside, outside, all around the town.

Then the Falcon players went color-blind, throwing one pass after another into the hands of guys wearing green rather than white.

“You have to throw to the guys in the white shirts!” the coach yelled in frustration from the sidelines.

Then the Falcon defense crumbled, allowing Weber-Kotje and company to score at will. South Whidbey was overwhelmed 18 points to one and the Bulldogs led 36-18 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Falcons came out with renewed vigor but, down by 18, it was a struggle to stay in the game. With a burst of energy late in the quarter, South Whidbey closed the gap to 49-36.

Sometimes, it seemed South Whidbey would go to any lengths for a breakout.

At one point, Falcon Tyler “Chuck” Norris flashbacked to his defensive end days on the football team and semi-tackled a Bulldog.

Nice play, Chuck, but wrong sport.

The fourth quarter was an attempt by the Falcons to make something — anything — happen and the level of play improved, but then the Bulldog’s strategy changed as they began to play stall- ball, letting the shot clock wind down to under five seconds several times before shooting.

The game ended with the Bulldogs triumphant, 71-54.

“I think we played good basketball for 29 minutes and 30 seconds,” Ferrier said after the game. “The problem is that in the 2:30 we didn’t play well, we got blitzed 18 to one. We have to play 32 minutes to be successful.

“We finally rebounded well and didn’t give up a lot of putbacks. We played excellent post defense,” he added. “We are going to be successful if we can continue to show improvement in those two areas. We won the second half and played with continued intensity and heart. Unfortunately, we just need to play 32 minutes, not 30.”

Erikson topped the Falcon chart with 18 points, Newman had 14 and Thornley added eight.

Bulldog Weber-Kotje led the night for Mount Vernon with 19 points.

“Jordan Thornley played an excellent floor game and our guys on post played very well inside,” Ferrier noted.

The Falcons are 0-1 in league play, 2-3 overall.

South Whidbey travels to Cedarcrest on Jan. 8, then welcomes the Sultan Turks on Tuesday, Jan. 12 in Erikson Gym.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or

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