Falcons rattle Coupeville’s cage to win big

Falcon Lindsey Newman fights for the ball under the net against Coupeville’s Sarah Vass during Friday’s 60-26 win over the Wolves for their second league victory. Newman led scoring for South Whidbey with 27 points and 15 rebounds. The team begins the second half of the season this week and are hoping to pull themselves out of the Cascade Conference cellar.

LANGLEY — “Containment” was the magic word for the South Whidbey girls basketball game Friday.

The Falcons stopped Coupeville’s aggressive bump-and-run tactics to win 60-26.

The loss dropped the Wolves to third place in the Cascade Conference and gave the Falcons (2-7, 6-8 overall) their second league win to start the second half of the season.

Granted, there was a revenge on the girl’s minds — last month they lost to the Wolves 44-36 in a hard-fought game before a huge partisan home crowd in Coupeville.

“It’s big,” said Falcon forward Cayla Calderwood.

“We all just really clicked and everyone did their best.”

Falcons Calderwood and Lindsey Newman charted the night’s course as they demonstrated perfect timing on a pass for a fine Calderwood layup and the first two points.

It was slow going for both sides in the first period, however; the score was 9-5 at the break.

The key strategy was to defend against Wolves Megan Smith and Shawna West — in December the two combined for 26 points.

“The girls did a terrific job executing the defensive game plan,” said Falcon coach Henry Pope. “In fact it was their their best defensive game of the year. They were determined not to lose to Coupeville again; it’s an island rivalry thing.”

With West benched on fouls, it was time to bottle up Smith. Falcons Reilly O’Sullivan, Natasha Roberts and Melanie Martin pressed Smith, forcing her to commit a third of Coupeville’s 31 fouls.

Halfway into the second quarter, the desperate Wolves finally picked up two from guard Sarah Vass but they still trailed at the half by double digits, 25-9.

The only offense the frustrated Wolves could muster in the third quarter was to ramp up their level of physical contact as they repeatedly crashed into a South Whidbey ball carrier.

But they couldn’t pin down Newman, who exercised her fast-break skills to run up points for the Falcons.

In fact, the finely-tuned defense kept the outclassed Wolves from entering the double-digit club until three minutes into the third quarter when Kassie Lawson picked up one point on the foul line, making the score 34-10.

South Whidbey spent the final eight minutes grinding out points while keeping the Wolves away from the basket. The buzzer sounded with the score 60-26.

“The coach was definitely pleased with our effort tonight,” Calderwood said. “Effort was his focus and he wanted it to be ours, too. Shawna West is an amazing player and I was glad to keep her busy.”

Newman said it was important to play a good defensive game.

“Nobody liked losing to them so we came out strong from the start and kept it up,” Newman said. “I think Coupeville was a little overconfident from the last game.”

She noted that when the 5-foot-10 West finally came off the bench she began to make her presence felt on the court.

“By then it was too late,” Newman said.

“If they can keep playing with this level of intensity, it will be a great step in the right direction starting off the second season,” Pope said. “I was glad to see them physical and tough on the inside, where the real action is.”

Newman picked up 27 points and 15 rebounds, Calderwood had 12 and 10 respectively. Allison Wood was active under the net with eight rebounds and Rachel Harris had four.

The girls are on the road to Cedarcrest and King’s before welcoming Granite Falls to Erikson Gym on Feb. 8.

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