Falcon girls still looking for their mojo

Falcon Lacy Williams does her best  to fend off a swarm of Red Raiders, as Courtney Linehan rushes to help during the Falcon’s 72-26 loss to Bellingham. - Jeff VanDerford / Record file
Falcon Lacy Williams does her best to fend off a swarm of Red Raiders, as Courtney Linehan rushes to help during the Falcon’s 72-26 loss to Bellingham.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / Record file

LANGLEY — Things aren’t getting any sweeter for the South Whidbey girls basketball team.

Following a lopsided 72-26 loss to the Bellingham Red Raiders on Tuesday, the Falcon girls remain winless at 0-7 in the Cascade Conference.

The game started slow as each team took the other’s measure. Red Raider star point guard Devin Pearsall scored first with

5:47 left in the period, though the Falcons had lots of looks at the hoop.

Looks, but few points as the team was missing key post players Cayla Calderwood and Jessica Manca to injuries. A rebound from Falcon Alannah Alber to Lacy Williams accounted for the Falcon’s initial score.

Throughout the first quarter — and the whole game, for that matter — Alber, Reilly O’Sullivan, Courtney Linehan and Ashlinn Prosch hustled the ball with great elán down court, most often coming up empty.

The quarter ended with the Red Raiders ahead 16-6.

The second began with a furious display of grand theft basketball by Bellingham point Ajneenea Chatman, a master of the steal.

That, combined with the Red Raider’s extraordinary aggression on defense, prevented the Falcons from scoring more than four points. South Whidbey was behind at the half, 27-10.

Then, things got worse.

Lacking height and the ability to score — coupled with some difficulties passing the ball — the girls gradually folded. With a full bench, Bellingham coach Randy Kaui shuttled in five players — five fresh players — at a time. The Falcons were outscored 21-6 in the third and 24-5 in the final period.

South Whidbey Coach Henry Pope noted that the Falcons were 4-for-18 on the free throw line, and shot under 20 percent from the floor.

“Those are dismal numbers by anyone’s measure,” he said. “We need to work on handling the ball under pressure. And when we did break their trap plays, we couldn’t find closure at the basket.”

“We’ve been working hard in practice on shooting, but you wouldn’t know it based on tonight’s performance,” he said.

Despite all, Pope again praised O’Sullivan for her outstanding defensive play, Linehan who made 8-of-18 free throws for nine points and Williams with 10 rebounds.

Some parents were angry at the high-point total posted by Bellingham, later asking Pope to contact Bellingham’s athletic director and lodge a protest over the Red Raiders’ running up the score.

“They knew we were short-handed and their coach showed no mercy,” Pope said. “That’s the nature of the game.

“The answer to parents is that our girls simply have to play better, even when we’re hurt by injuries.”

For her part, Prosch said she was hoping the Falcons would come back in the second half with a little more energy.

“We want to win, but I think our morale is a little low right now,” she said.

But hope springs eternal, especially for teen athletes.

Noting that the professional Tennessee Titan football team was 0-6 and ended up 8-8, she voiced her opinion of the rest of the season.

“Anything can happen,” Prosch said.

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