Despite having to put in some extra work in its non-league home game with Port Townsend Wednesday, Dec. 19, the South Whidbey High School girls basketball team had few complaints. The Falcons fought their way to their first win of the season, 30-28 in overtime.
The win came one night after South Whidbey lost 51-33 to visiting Cedar Park Christian in a North Sound Conference contest.
The Falcons played both games without starting point guard Farris Jokinen, who injured her ankle warming up for the CPC game. She “could be out quite awhile,” South Whidbey coach Jeff Hanson said. “Maybe we will get her back after winter break.”
The South Whidbey girls and boys games with Chimacum set for Friday, Dec. 21, have been postponed. The Falcon girls (0-2, 1-7) host Concrete (0-7) at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, in a non-league game.
South Whidbey 30, Port Townsend 28
Kayla Knauer connected on three straight free throws in the first 36 seconds of overtime, and the Falcons, now up 28-25, never trailed in the extra period.
The two teams then combined to miss six consecutive foul shots before South Whidbey’s Lexi Starets-Foote converted to give the Falcons a 29-25 lead with 1:51 remaining.
Port Townsend’s Savanna Hoffman hit a three-point shot just seconds after she entered the game for the first time, and the Redhawks cut the margin to one, 29-28, with 30 seconds remaining.
The Falcons’ Sammi Daly sank a foul shot with 23 seconds left, then South Whidbey’s Emma Hodson rebounded a Port Townsend miss in the final seconds to secure the win.
Both teams suffered cold shooting and numerous turnovers throughout the low-scoring game.
South Whidbey zipped to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, which would turn out to be the largest lead by either team in the contest. The Falcons, who led 8-4 at the end of the first quarter thanks to 4 points from Hodson and 2 each from Starets-Foote and Ella Wood, went cold after their hot start.
Port Townsend went up 9-8 in the second period and led 13-12 at halftime.
A bucket by Starets-Foote and free throws from Arianna Briggs and Rachel Harder were the only points the Falcons could muster in the second quarter.
South Whidbey outscored Port Townsend 7-3 in the third quarter behind 4 points from Knauer, and the Falcons led 19-16 heading into the final period.
The Redhawks tied the game at 21 with 6:08 remaining and went ahead 24-23 with 1:51 left.
After Port Townsend tacked on a free throw, Starets-Foote scored off a nice feed from Hodson to tie the game with 43 seconds remaining in regulation. Port Townsend had two more opportunities and South Whidbey one, but neither team could convert, sending the game into overtime.
The Redhawks hurt themselves at the foul line, hitting only six of 19; South Whidbey went 10-for-22.
One of the keys to the win, according to Hanson, was the work of Knauer, who took over at point guard for Jokinen. Knauer recently rejoined the program and “stepped up” against Port Townsend, Hanson said.
Knauer played the past two season and her knowledge of the game and system are important to the young team, Hanson added.
“She basically ran our offense,” he said. “She had to handle the ball, she had to do everything.”
Hanson was pleased with the effort of his team, which had to fight through “dead legs” after playing the night before.
Despite the fatigue, the Falcons employed an efficient full-court press the second half that forced a flood of Redhawk turnovers.
Starets-Foote topped South Whidbey in scoring with 11 points. Knauer added 7, Hodson 5, Briggs 3, Wood 2, Daly 1 and Harder 1.
Cedar Park Christian 51, South Whidbey 33
“We played hard; we played well,” Hanson said, but the Falcons couldn’t collect the conference win.
The Eagles dominated the first and third quarters.
Irena Korolenko scored 8 points and Sela Flynn 5, and both hit three-pointers, as Cedar Park Christian tallied 15 first-quarter points to 4, all by Starets-Foote, by the Falcons.
South Whidbey got back in the game in the second period. Korolenko scored 5 points for CPC, and that was it for the Eagles as the Falcons put up 13, making it 20-17 at halftime. Hodson had 6 points and Starets-Foote 5 to pace the surge.
Cedar Park Christian recovered to outscore South Whidbey 18-5 in the third quarter to take a 38-22 lead. Abby Perrigove scored 8 points, including two three-pointers, and Flynn 6 to spur the Eagles.
Perrigove scored 8 more points in the fourth quarter to stymie the Falcons’ comeback attempt.
For the game, Starets-Foote registered 12 points, Hodson 9, Knauer 3, Daly 3, Ashley Lynch 2, Briggs 2 and Wood 2.