The Falcon boys basketball team really wanted to win before the home crowd Saturday.
And in an overtime thriller, they did just that, beating undefeated Friday Harbor 46-41 and raising their record to an overall 2-1 in the Cascade Conference.
South Whidbey was behind 6-3 after the first quarter and down 22-17 at half time.
“In the first half our guards got into foul trouble, so our goal was to go into half time down less than eight points and we did a good job of keeping the score close,” first-year Falcon coach Scott Collins said.
The first quarter was a defensive battle as both teams struggled to find the basket.
Forward Parker Barnett picked up two points, was fouled and made the three-point play in what turned out to be the period’s high point for the Falcons.
Wolverine point guard Austin Scheffer ran a couple undefended fast breaks but sloppy ball handling by both squads kept the score low during the first two quarters.
“They were a well-coached defensive team and they didn’t allow us to transition offensively as much as we would have liked,” Collins said.
Falcon guard Blake Blakey said the coach told the team they were playing Friday Harbor’s game and not picking up rebounds.
Barnett couldn’t account for his teams’ slow start. “(Tommy) Fowler and (Parker) Lawson really got to us but we were able to adjust in the second half,” he said.
Indeed — Barnett roared off the bench for two in the pocket and CJ Baker picked up a trifecta on the free throw line after being fouled to even things up at 31 early in the third quarter.
The score seesawed back and forth from there.
With 1:22 left in the game, Barnett was benched due to fouls as everyone else rose to the occasion.
Chris Carey, Adam Hosmer, Scott and Eric Stallman, Blakey, Baker and Jeff Brasko all contributed to keep the Falcons close.
Friday Harbor’s Scheffer made two free throws for a one-point lead, but South Whidbey’s Eric Stallman responded with 58 ticks left to tie the score 41-41 at the buzzer.
The boys had just five minutes to finish off the Wolverines and at first they went nowhere.
Then Hosmer slam dunked for two after the start of OT and followed with another dunk. The big plays forced the Wolverines’ to try some misguided blocking efforts on Eric Stallman, which backfired badly as he added another point for the Falcons.
Wolverines’ Scheffer and Fowler did their best to score but the Falcon’s prevent defense kicked into high gear.
Hosmer stole the ball on the rebound, Carey was fouled and, as the clock wound down, he made his final free throw with 19 seconds left.
“We clamped down on them at the end,” Stallman said.
Hosmer said his team’s chemistry was a crucial key to the win.
“We knew their defense was good and very physical but still it was a surprise,” he said. “But it was a good win at home, a great comeback game for us, for all of us.”
Barnett said the win was huge.
“We showed that everyone can play, that the coach can rely on us,” he said.
“Blake’s drive inside when he caught the bucket and got fouled was a great play,” he added.
Blakey was a little more modest.
“It felt like a real team effort,” he said.
“I was really pumped up.”
The coach had 15 members of his family in the crowd to watch him direct the team at home.“
“Blake gave us a spark off the bench and did a really good job for us, and Adam hit a big basket for us to start overtime,” Collins said.
Scott Stallman led the Falcons and finished with 13 points and three assists. Barnett had 11 points and five rebounds and Carey had six points and three assists.
The home game against Coupeville has been moved to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13.