The 2007-08 South Whidbey boys basketball team secured their place in school history Tuesday by beating Archbishop Murphy 58-40, securing a 2A division playoff spot and celebrating the team’s first winning season since 1992.
The Falcons ended 8-and-5 in the Cascade Conference and 12-7 overall for the year. ATM’s loss also gave Cedarcrest (8-5, 13-7 overall) a district berth.
“The kids are really excited and they certainly deserve to be,” said Falcon coach Scott Collins.
At 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 the Falcons welcome either Anacortes or Sehome to Erikson Gym for the first playoff round.
The game against ATM was slightly delayed for the best of reasons, as the five graduating seniors were honored: CJ Baker, Parker Barnett, Blake Blakey, Adam Hosmer and Eric Stallman. Each presented a bouquet to his parents before the tip-off.
As the five seniors hit the boards to start, events unfolded slowly as both teams tested each other.
Barnett caught the ball on a rebound by Hosmer for the first two points; Hosmer, Blakey and Barnett played great defense in the first quarter. The Wildcats executed a full-court press and showed off excellent passing skills but had trouble finding the net.
As the close of the quarter approached, the coach had the South Whidbey squad slow down to eat up time, a move designed to preserve a lead going into a break.
“We want the momentum of being ahead if possible,” Collins said of the tactic.
It backfired, though, as ATM forward Joey Clancy stole the ball, got fouled and made one at the line.
At the break, the Falcons were behind 7-6.
Wildcat Jared McCann broke out of the pack with a trey to start the second quarter.
Then Baker picked up a nice midcourt steal, threw to Hosmer, who passed to Barnett for two.
“That’s the way we like it,” announcer Mike McInerney told the big — especially for a Tuesday night — crowd. ATM always brings out the fans.
Baker hooked one for three, and Barnett finally showed he could indeed dribble the ball for several hard-fought layups, and Eric Stallman kept the Wildcats on the run.
At the half, South Whidbey led 27-16.
Barnett, suffering through a recent scoring slump, said ATM’s one-on-one defense gave him an opening.
“I’ve been double-teamed lately so I was able to take advantage of the single match-up,” he said.
The third quarter began hot and fast with Parker, Chris Carey, Blakey, Hosmer, Scott and Eric Stallman and Baker throwing themselves into the fray, making shots — several treys from Baker — and running up the point spread.
Fouls mounted as Wildcat frustration seeped into the action. But by the end of the period, with the Falcons leading 39-25, it became clear victory was in the air.
ATM switched briefly to a man-to-man defense but couldn’t maintain the pace and soon reverted to zone coverage.
Wildcat McCann spent a good part of the final quarter attempting to get some points, but the 5-foot-10 guard had what looked like a bad hair day as he was simply overwhelmed by the South Whidbey defense.
With 3:18 left, Stallman and Baker exploded their point total in a display of cohesive, heads-up basketball the coach hopes will show up at districts next week.
By the time Falcons Nick Tenuta, Jon Poolman, Kyle West and Adrian Cortez took to the court, the game was over — a nice
58-40 win over a perennial league opponent.
Barnett led with 13 points, Stallman had 12, Blakey 10, Baker nine, Scott Stallman five and Hosmer four. South Whidbey made 20 of their 23 free throw opportunities.
“We wanted to make them shoot,” Collins said. “As for our game plan, sometimes we give them the freedom to just play and that worked tonight.”
Hosmer said the whole team wanted a district lock and a home court advantage.
“We knew they weren’t great shooters,” Hosmer said. “It was a good night; it’s all good.”
Barnett added that the win was a great way to end the season.
“We’re on a roll and all of us hope people come to watch us next Friday; support of the fans is huge for us,” he said.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or email@example.com.