South Whidbey girls basketball became the champions of Whidbey Island when the team beat Oak Harbor 55-32 on Dec. 29 in Erickson Gymnasium.
The Falcons beat Coupeville 43-29 on Dec. 10. The Oak Harbor victory completed the sweep.
The win also marked the Falcons’ second consecutive nonleague triumph over a class 3A team following a 47-36 victory over Marysville-Pilchuck on Dec. 27. The Falcons are 6-3 overall and 1-1 in the Cascade Conference. South Whidbey is also tied with Archbishop Murphy for the second-best overall record in the Cascade Conference.
Seniors Kacie Hanson, Kinsey Eager, Megan Drake and Bailey Forsythe were level-headed about the two victories over Oak Harbor and Marysville-Pilchuck in an interview Monday morning. Hanson in particular wasn’t content with the Falcons’ win over Oak Harbor, despite the school being roughly three times the size of South Whidbey High School.
“Even though we beat Oak Harbor by a lot, I feel like we could have played a lot better,” said Hanson, who scored 18 points against Marysville-Pilchuck and five against Oak Harbor.
Though not perfect, the two wins added to the team’s confidence, the players said, who were optimistic heading into their matchup against King’s after The Record’s deadline on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Finishing second in the Seaside Holiday Classic tournament on Dec. 15-17 in Seaside, Ore. also improved team morale, they said.
“It’s not a cocky confidence,” Eager said. “It’s like confident where we feel like we can count on each other and compete with each other against all the other teams.”
“We’re excited to play King’s,” she added.
The players identified fouls as being an area of concern for the Falcons against Marysville-Pilchuck and Oak Harbor, though they were only a factor against Marysville-Pilchuck. And while South Whidbey’s defense was “spectacular,” the Falcons still need to iron some things out on offense, Hanson and Forsyth said. In addition to a lack of offensive rebounds, Hanson said turnovers are the Falcons’ Achilles’ heel.
“I think we’re coming along,” Hanson said. “Turnovers are still a factor. We’ve definitely gotten it down, but it’s still a factor.”
Head coach Andy Davis said the fouls committed by the Falcons are typically situational and that it isn’t a big issue. He added that there will be an effort toward preventing turnovers in the future, but that it’s a problem most teams will try and correct throughout the entirety of a season.
“That’s something we always have to work on,” Davis said. “Every team out there has to work on that. Against a team like King’s that’s coming up this week, if you turn it over, they’re going to cash in. We just have to handle the ball.”
Drake, who scored 19 points against Oak Harbor, said expectations are still high moving forward into the rest of the season. She said that while there isn’t a laid-out goal, the players are determined to make a deep run into the postseason and at least reach the bi-district tournament, a regional tournament that decides which teams will head to the class 1A state girls basketball championships in March.
“We want to keep going and having fun, but I think we’re all kind of wanting to go further than we’ve gone,” Drake said.