Evan Thompson / The Record South Whidbey junior Lewis Pope looks to his teammate Kellen Boyd (23) for a pass against Bellevue Christian on Dec. 3. Pope scored 25 points in a 64-63 win over Cedar Park Christian on Jan. 3.

Falcon boys basketball control its own destiny after overtime victory at home

It was a six-second play that South Whidbey junior Lewis Pope won’t forget anytime soon.

Trailing Cedar Park Christian 63-62 with 19 seconds left to go in overtime, Pope charged through the Eagles’ defense and converted a layup on the right side of the hoop. Cedar Park Christian had just 13 seconds left to respond to the one-point deficit.

South Whidbey senior Maxfield Friedman made sure the Eagles’ effort wasn’t fruitful when he stopped one of Cedar Park Christian’s attempts to penetrate the Falcons’ defense dead in its tracks. The Eagles managed to take a last second shot in the hopes of adding one last piece of drama to an already heart-pumping game, but to no avail.

The Falcons won 64-63.

Pope, who led the Falcons with 25 points, said he had felt both nervous and excited with the basketball in his hands. He was mostly just having a good time on the court though.

“That’s why you’re out here practicing everyday so you can have those moments,” Pope said. “That was pretty fun.”

Following a 54-32 win over Granite Falls on Jan. 6 and a 64-61 loss to Cedarcrest on Jan. 7, South Whidbey is 5-7 overall and 3-2 in the Cascade Conference.

Perhaps most important about the Falcons’ win against Cedar Park Christian was the fact that South Whidbey is now 2-0 versus opponents in the league’s class 1A division. South Whidbey beat Sultan 61-47 on Dec. 6.

In other words, the Falcons are that much closer to fulfilling their goal of hosting a district playoff game.

“It was a really good win because we’re fighting (Cedar Park Christian) and Sultan for a playoff spot,” Washington said. “It put us in a good position and let us know that, ‘Hey, we can play with better teams.’ We just have to continue to learn how to execute down the stretch.”

The top three teams from the Cascade Conference’s class 1A division will advance to the district tournament on Feb. 6. King’s has the top spot all but locked up at 5-0 in league and 10-2 overall. South Whidbey, Cedar Park Christian and Sultan are duking it out for the other two berths, one of which would be a home playoff game against the third-best team from the Northwest Conference.

It was the second overtime game of the season for the Falcons, but the first they walked away from as victors. South Whidbey lost to Port Townsend 62-60 in overtime on Dec. 19.

Washington said the Falcons’ execution down the stretch, both offensively and defensively, made the difference.

“I’m happy with the second half effort,” Washington said. “I just felt like in the first half they were intimidated a little bit. From the first bounce, I could tell they had more effort, more energy and stuff then we did.”

Washington said that senior Maxfield Friedman, who scored 14 points, was instrumental in the second half for his role in sparking energy in the Falcons. He also scored on a “baseline drive” with little time remaining in the regulation to send the game to overtime.

Friedman said that during halftime, Washington pointed out that the Eagles were simply putting more effort into the game. Friedman took it to heart.

“I know in the first half, our effort wasn’t really on par with them,” Friedman said. “When we came back in the second half, we just started playing really well as a team. Things started to click, and once that happened, our defense turned up, our offense turned up, and that just helped get the ‘W.’ ”

To clinch a chance to host a playoff game will require the Falcons to continue playing well when it counts, Washington said.

“Lewis was saying it today at school, ‘Anybody can beat anybody on any given night,’ ” Washington said. “So we’ve got to come ready to play. My job is going to be to prepare these guys for every game.”

The Falcons played King’s on Tuesday night after The Record’s deadline. South Whidbey’s next home game is against on Cedarcrest at 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 17.

More in Sports

South Whidbey grads find success at collegiate level / Alumni update

A handful of South Whidbey High School graduates are continuing their athletic… Continue reading

South Whidbey athletes receive letters, awards

South Whidbey High School wrapped up the 2018 spring sports season by… Continue reading

Cascade Conference honors South Whidbey players, coaches

Twenty-one South Whidbey High School spring athletes earned all-Cascade Conference first-team honors… Continue reading

Falcons comment on state experience / Tennis

Mental and physical growth helped South Whidbey junior Mary Zisette and sophomore… Continue reading

Falcons take early exit at state / Softball

The South Whidbey High School softball team dropped both its games at… Continue reading

Papritz, Zisette place 2nd in state doubles tournament / Tennis

South Whidbey High School’s Alison Papritz and Mary Zisette swatted their way… Continue reading

Nielsen paces SW at state with 4 medals / Track

South Whidbey’s Sophia Nielsen led the Falcons at the state 1A track… Continue reading

SW grads qualify for national tournament / Ultimate frisbee

Two South Whidbey High School graduates have tossed their way to the… Continue reading

Heggenes 3rd, Falcons 4th at state tournament / Girls golf

Kolby Heggenes placed third and South Whidbey High School fourth at the… Continue reading

South Whidbey finishes 9th at state / Boys golf

The South Whidbey High School boys golf team placed ninth at the… Continue reading

Falcons ranked among state leaders / Track

As the South Whidbey High School track team heads to the state… Continue reading

Rohde signs with St. Mary / Track

South Whidbey High School senior Romey Rohde recently signed a letter of… Continue reading