It was senior night for the South Whidbey girls basketball team in Erikson Gym Tuesday. As it turned out, the celebration of the three graduating girls — Natalie Martinovic, Meagan Rawls and Teah Wanamaker — was the high point of a low-scoring game.
Archbishop Murphy won 37-28 in a defensive contest that saw the Lady Falcons leading until the third period.
It was a Cole Porter kind of game; the first and fourth quarters played like night and day.
Neither team could generate any productive offense in the first quarter. At the break, South Whidbey led 7-4.
Falcon Coach Henry Pope had allowed his seniors to start and they collectively did a creditable job.
“I was very pleased with their performance tonight,” Pope said. “Senior night is always emotional for them and their families. “And for me.”
It didn’t really hit Rawls and Martinovic until they took to the floor.
“We really wanted a win for our last regular season game. We gave our all,” Martinovic said.
The Falcons segued from a zone defense to man-to-man when the sec-ond quarter began, and this clearly threw the Wildcats off guard.
Meanwhile, Samantha Pope and Lauren Sandri double-teamed Wildcat star forward Alyssa Smith, holding her to four points.
With the Falcons ahead 13-12 at the half, it seemed a miracle might be in the cards.
Alas, ATM found sweet spots inside and out — Wildcat forward Sam Pettinger alone accounted for several unanswered treys — while the Falcon defense took a nose dive. Errant passing and an ineffable inability to get the ball through the hoop paralyzed the offense.
“Yeah, we continue having a hard time getting inside to the low post,” Pope admitted. “But we lost by over
30 points in our first game with ATM a month ago and I have to give credit for the defense; they dominated the entire first half. We just have to work harder getting the ball through.”
For South Whidbey, Lindsey Newman scored her fewest points of the year with nine (and 14 rebounds) and Pope had six.
“We came out strong, very encouraged by the seniors who did a great job,” Newman said.
“But I think we got a little lazy and
slacked off. My own shots weren’t falling right and I was disappointed in that,” she added.
Rawls said that despite losing, there was a different atmosphere for the team.
“Even when we were down, there was a lot of team unity and that’s going to be a major factor for the Falcons next year,” she said.
Both ATM (10-3) and Granite Falls (9-4) have qualified for 2A district playoffs.
At 7 p.m. on Feb. 21, the Falcons (6-7, 9-10 overall) host a crossover game, tentatively with Blaine. The winner moves into the district playoffs, the loser’s season is over.