In every season, in every sport, there’s a special moment where it all comes together — the crowd, the band, the players on the field.
For the South Whidbey boys basketball team, Friday night was it.
Not only did they beat Cedarcrest 50-46, the Pep Band was present — with a special appearance by turntable disc jockey Danny Parra — the fans and cheer squad yelled themselves hoarse and, thankfully, the power stayed on until everyone had safely left for home.
They even moved into the third spot in the Cascade Conference with a 2-1, 4-4 overall record.
For such a special night, though, the game started slow. The Red Wolves scored first then sophomore Chris Carey hit a trey with 2:13 left in the first quarter to move the Falcons in front by two.
Still, it was only 11-10 at the first break.
Suddenly, the Falcons shifted into high gear, applying unrelenting pressure on defense with Blake Blakey, Parker Barnett, Kyle Hoch, Eric Stallman, Kyle Asay and Carey taking advantage of every Red Wolf error.
And senior Chad Anderson’s speed on rebounds and South Whidbey’s fast break took the Red Wolves by surprise.
But Cedarcrest (0-1, 1-5 overall) wasn’t ready to roll over as a couple of hard-charging juniors — Cullen Hammontree and Alex Fromm — started laying tracers into the net. By halftime, the Red Wolves led by three.
The Cedarcrest bump-and-run tactics didn’t sit well with the Falcons.
“I started off a little shaky, but settled down and got used to their physical ability, especially 15 and 44,” Barnett said.
That’s right, Hammontree and Fromm.
“Those two were getting on me hardcore,” Anderson recalled.
“I told the refs if they weren’t going to get them off me then I would,” he said. “Things were pretty intense for a few minutes in the third.”
Enough so that Coach Davis was seen signaling Anderson from the sidelines to calm down, which he did, but not before a few well-timed collisions down court.
Blakey, Hoch and Stallman also caught fire in the third with some smash-and-grab tactics of their own, combining for most of the Falcon rebounds.
With two minutes left in the game and South Whidbey ahead 45-41, Anderson fought for the ball under the net, lost it and got it back as the fans went nuts. South Whidbey called a timeout to set up a maintenance strategy, but Anderson wanted payback. Anderson fought Fromm for the ball, then fired to Blakey who scored to put the Falcons up
Good passing kept the clock running, Stallman scored and the Red Wolves showed their frustration — Hammontree hit a trey with 12 seconds left but Anderson was fouled on the Falcon’s ensuing possession. He then made one of two and time ran out.
“It’s always nice to protect the home court,” Davis said. “Any league win is a good win, especially when we have to overcome some foul trouble and poor shooting. We made just enough plays to win the game.
“Chad again led the way with strong ball handling and clutch shooting,” Davis added. “Parker posted our first double-double of the season with 11 points and
11 rebounds in only 16 minutes of play. Kyle Hoch pitched in with seven rebounds of his own.
“The great thing is the guys are playing hard — there were players flying all over the place, but they kept going.”
JV players Adrian Cortes, Matt Petrich and Jordan Thornley were brought up to help out, but only Cortes came off the bench.
“It was only my second game of the season and I have to say things moved pretty fast,” Cortes said. “You have to make the transition from offense to defense without thinking. If you stand there it ruins the play.”
Cortes noted that varsity players have been helpful to the younger guys on the JV and C teams.
“When I do something wrong, they don’t put me down, they tell me what I need to do to get better,” he said.
In the end both teams wanted the win; the Falcons just wanted it more.
“I told you last week we were coming together and this proves it,” Anderson said. “But we still have work to do on executing the offense and better shooting — everyone knowing what to do at every moment.”
The team hosts Kings at 7 p.m. tonight and travels to Granite Falls on Friday.