Falcons overcome ‘cool factor’ to win over Cougars

LANGLEY — There are moments in high school sports. And then there are magical moments. During the South Whidbey boys basketball team’s 62-41 decisive pasting of Lakewood on Friday, Falcon Scott Stallman threw a “Hail Mary” heave to the basket with seconds left in the second quarter.

Falcon Chris Carey demonstrates defensive zone coverage as he guards Cougars Max Dragich and Cameron Fry during Friday’s win.

LANGLEY — There are moments in high school sports.

And then there are magical moments.

During the South Whidbey boys basketball team’s 62-41 decisive pasting of Lakewood on Friday, Falcon Scott Stallman threw a “Hail Mary” heave to the basket with seconds left in the second quarter.

The ball arched through the air for 60 feet and the crowd held its collective breath. The clock ticked down to zero as Stallman found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; the ball brushed the net on its way through the hoop and hundreds of fans hit the roof.

Athletic director John Patton looked to the heavens, perhaps checking the gym’s rafters for noise damage.

“I got the rebound under the net,” Stallman said simply.

“The coach was yelling on the sidelines and I saw there were four seconds on the clock so

I threw it as far as I could.

“At first I couldn’t really process that it went in. It was a very cool experience,” he said.

When the game began, it seemed South Whidbey might be a touch outclassed. Lakewood scored first, and again, as the Falcons were slow to heat up, like popcorn just put into the microwave.

With the Cougars putting on a classic man-to-man defense, the Falcons just couldn’t connect with each other or the basket. CJ Baker finally scored on a hard-fought layup but Lakewood led 16-9 at the first break.

Man-to-man takes a lot out of any team — in the second quarter, Lakewood switched to a zone defense because they were young and thin on the bench.

But the Falcons, led by Baker, Parker Barnett, Blake Blakey, Adam Hosmer, Scott and Eric Stallman and Chris Carey, began to pop and their shots began to drop. Eric Stallman had a fine steal, Baker picked up two treys and then Jeff Brasko was fouled; his two free throws tied the game at 24-24.

But it was Scott Stallman’s three points that created the major shift in momentum, and it pushed South Whidbey to a double-digit lead at the half, 36-26.

In the third quarter, more than 70 percent of South Whidbey’s shots, rebounds, steals and passes were successful. Everything worked for them as Lakewood slowly folded.

The boys were ahead 50-32 as the fourth began.

The final period was an easy run for the Falcons, but they were careful not to take anything for granted. Falcon coach Scott Collins brought in Kyle West, Nick Tenuta and Jon Poolman — Tenuta scored twice on a couple carefully-chosen drop-in shots.

The Falcons finished in front by 21 points.

“Something’s clicking,” Collins said.

“Our win Tuesday (over Archbishop Murphy) was big because we made mistakes and still won. Everyone contributed; the key for us is finding out early who is playing well that night and play them.”

Collins said the boys had to overcome the “cool factor” in the first quarter.

“They beat ATM, there’s a huge crowd tonight and they didn’t take Lakewood seriously until they got behind.”

Scott Stallman agreed.

“Lakewood wanted to win as we all do,” he said. “We were struggling and lost our place at the start. It was a little humbling, but we dug in and started playing our game.”

Eric Stallman was impressed with his brother’s long-range bomb.

“It was awesome. We went into the locker room with high spirits,” he said. “The whole team had a good time out there. It’s very important to have a huge fan base roaring their support. All of us feel that.”

Blakey said it was the best game of the year.

“Scott’s shot was crazy. The coach told us afterwards, ‘That’s how we should always play, that’s our style.’”

South Whidbey — 4-3 in the league, 8-5 overall — is third after King’s and Cedarcrest.

But the top two 2A schools go to districts and King’s is 1A so if the Falcons can keep up the pace with six games left, the playoffs are a lock.

“The coach told us to take one game at a time,” Carey said. “Our vibe is growing with each win.”

Barnett led South Whidbey with 11 points and six rebounds, Baker made 10 points, Blakey had nine, Brasko eight, Eric Stallman six and Scott Stallman five. Adam Hosmer picked seven rebounds and three steals.

At 7 p.m. Feb. 1 the boys welcome Cedarcrest (4-2, 9-4) to Erikson Gym.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sports@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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