Evan Thompson / The Record — South Whidbey girls basketball players Megan Drake (11) and Bailey Forsyth (10) embrace following the Falcons’ season-ending loss to Mount Baker on Feb. 11.

Girls hoops eliminated from district tournament

South Whidbey’s girls basketball players didn’t view their 55-44 loss to Mount Baker in the class 1A District 1 elimination game as a downer.

The Falcons had challenged a Mountaineer squad that finished second in the Northwest Conference to the very end on Saturday, Feb. 11. Trailing 49-42 with 40 seconds left in the game, the Falcons were doing all they could to close the gap. But, the Mountaineers, who entered the game 17-4 and 11-2 in league, had the upper hand and they weren’t about to let it slip away.

They didn’t.

The Falcons’ loss ended their season shy of the bi-district tournament. It was the second consecutive appearance in the district tournament for the Falcons after several years of not reaching the postseason. South Whidbey lost to Meridian 57-52 in the first round of the district tournament on Feb. 9.

The Falcons finished the season 10-12 overall and 5-7 in the Cascade Conference.

“Even though it was a loss, we went out on a high note,” senior Bailey Forsyth said.

While Forsyth was referencing the Falcons’ effort against Mount Baker, the same could be said about the game itself. Junior Mikayla Hezel scored a mid-range basket as time expired to tack on an additional two points for the Falcons on the final score. In addition to literally ending on a high note, Hezel’s final shot also spoke to the Falcons’ resilience during not only their final game, but also their season.

“I feel proud,” senior Megan Drake said. “I felt that was a pretty good last game. I was proud of the perseverance that I saw that whole season.”

Drake, Forsyth and senior Kacie Hanson were also proud of the Falcons’ response to a number of injuries and sicknesses that afflicted the team.

At times, the Falcons had only six varsity players at practice; a typical squad would have around 10. Players dealt with sprained ankles, a broken elbow, a broken finger, mono and strep throat.

“You can’t focus on the injured people,” Hanson said. “You have to focus on who is healthy.”

Head coach Andy Davis was proud of the Falcons’ effort in their final game.

“They’re the highest quality of kids we got in the school,” Davis said. “They did everything that we asked them and they held each other to a high standard. To me, they’re what high school sports is about.”