Turnovers and a hot shooting opponent sunk the South Whidbey High School boys basketball team in a 67-47 loss at Meridian Thursday, Feb. 8, in a district tournament elimination game.
The Falcons finished the season with a 14-8 record; Meridian (10-13) qualified for the bi-district tournament with the win.
Meridian’s pressure defense all over the court derailed South Whidbey in the first half.
The Falcons’ had little trouble with the Trojans’ defense early. In fact, South Whidbey’s Sterling Patton scored the game’s first points when the Falcons broke Meridian’s press for a layup.
A tip-in and hoop by Levi Buck and two free throws from Kody Newman gave the Falcons an 8-6 lead. Then things went south for the Falcons.
Over the next four minutes spanning the first and second quarters, South Whidbey committed 13 turnovers in 14 possessions. The only time it didn’t make a mistake, Dexter Jokinen drained a three-pointer.
The Trojans led 16-11 at the end of the first quarter and 18-11 when South Whidbey finally got over its turnover troubles.
Newman scored 10 points in the second quarter to help the Falcons stay in contact as Meridian led 30-22 at halftime.
The Trojans blistered the nets in the second half and finished the game shooting a remarkable 67 percent (26-for-42).
South Whidbey took care of the ball in the second half and produced scoring opportunities, but Newman was the only effective scorer. Newman was 8-for-11 from the field, the other Falcons combined to shoot 7-for-22, 32 percent.
Meridian outscored South Whidbey 20-12 in the third quarter to push its lead to 50-34.
Because of Meridian’s uptempo game, coach Shane Stacey used his entire bench to keep fresh. Eleven different Trojans scored, led by Jackson Short with 16.
South Whidbey coach Mike Washington noted the Trojans’ depth and their “basketball skills.”
“They can all shoot, pass and defend,” he said. “That’s a good team.”
Newman scored 25 points for South Whidbey, finishing his career with 1,039.
Jokinen had 9 points, Buck 7, Patton 2, Nick Young 2 and Cody Eager 2.
The Falcons played without its second leading scorer and top rebounder, 6-6 Carson Wrightson, over the last month. Reserve post Wyatt De Mers also missed the past two weeks with an injury.