Falcons prevail over Sultan in triple-overtime thriller

Falcon basketball games may have to start coming with a warning label: May cause heart palpitations, tightness of the throat, anxiety and euphoria.

South Whidbey took Sultan to the limit — and beyond — and escaped with a 74-73 win in triple overtime on Friday.

“The game was a back-and -forth affair, and we couldn’t ever pull away from the Turks,” said Falcon coach Chris Ferrier. “Their guys would hit big shots at key moments to keep them in the game.”

South Whidbey led 14-13 after the first quarter, and was up by three at halftime, 27-24.

The teams battled to a near-draw in the third, and the Turks rallied in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Falcons and tying the game at 51-all.

“We had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but a three-point shot from 25-plus feet was just long, and off to the first overtime we went,” Ferrier recalled.

Sultan nailed a deep three-pointer at the end of the first overtime to force a second.

Neither team could take advantage in the second OT, forcing a third overtime session.

The third overtime was again a tight battle, the Falcon coach said.

“Both teams were getting tired, but we were able to keep the Turks from hitting a winning shot when we were ahead by one point,” he said.

With the win, the Falcons improved to 5-5 in the Cascade Conference, 7-7 overall. Sultan fell to 2-8, 3-13.

“Sultan played a great game,” Ferrier said.

“They are a much better team than their record shows. They played tough defense and made it hard for us to score,” he said.

The Falcons’ Riley Newman led all scorers with 30 points.

Jordan Thornley added 14, and Tyler “Chuck” Norris dropped in nine. Shelby Ball added eight, Cole Erikson contributed seven, Andy Bennett chipped in four and Sean George added two.

The Sultans were led by Theo VandenEkart’s 20 points.

“We have started winning some of these tight games, two in a row and three very close games lately. It attests to the character of the guys on our team, they refuse to accept failure and are determined to play to the best of their abilities,” Ferrier said.

The Falcons close the season with home games against King’s and Granite Falls this week, followed by a game at ATM and the season-ender against Lakewood at home.

“We are in a tight race for playoff seeding, and we have to take care of business in our last four games to make sure we are in the playoff hunt,” Ferrier said.

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