The Coupeville Wolves were on the prowl Friday night, searching for their next victim.
And South Whidbey obliged, losing 44-36 in a hard-fought game before a huge home crowd.
With Wolves Megan Smith, Ashley Manker and Shawna West leading the way (13, 12 and 13 points respectively), Coupeville demonstrated the importance of playing the fundamentals of basketball, forcing the Falcons to play hard from the opening tip-off to the final whistle.
The Falcons are 0-1 in the Cascade Conference, 2-1 overall. Coupeville moves up to 2-3 with a single win in league play.
“My hat’s off to them, they played a fine game,” said Falcon coach Henry Pope.
“They shot well and executed with a fine sense of precision. In other words, they executed better, out hustled us, out rebounded us and shot the lights out of the gym. I think they were tired of being door mats for South Whidbey,” he said.
In 2005, the Falcon girls beat Coupeville 90-19. Last season, it was closer, but South Whidbey still posted a 56-52 victory.
Pope said he suspects some of his players thought that simply showing up would entice Coupeville to roll over.
Some of the Falcon girls agreed with him.
“We sure weren’t expecting their intensity; they caught us off guard,” forward Cayla Calderwood said. “It was bad. I was getting beaten up down-low all night and I think it got to me. But Lindsey was great and kept us in the game.”
Lindsey Newman was high scorer for the game, pacing South Whidbey with 21 points. But she couldn’t spark a comeback with the team behind 26-18 at the half.
“The Wolves just swept us off our feet,” she said. “We all talked about how loud the crowd was but I don’t think that was a factor. Poor defense and shooting did us in.”
Katie Holt recalled talking about some of the better players Coupeville has on its roster this year on the short bus trip north.
“We knew what to expect and that we shouldn’t be cocky. But we didn’t put up a good defense and just missed too many shots,” Holt said.
The game was competitive, but fair.
Pope noted that Natasha Roberts suffered a slight neck injury after taking a spill on the court. She was taken to Whidbey General Hospital but released a few hours later.
“All is fine,” Pope said.
The coach said there was a simple, oft-forgotten lesson to be learned. “This game showed that you can’t take any team for granted. Ever.”
Calderwood and Allison Wood made five each for the Falcons while Rachel Harris and Chantal LaChaussee contributed two apiece.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sports@south