In an intense battle expected in a rivalry game, the South Whidbey High School boys basketball team won 64-43 at Coupeville Friday, Jan. 18.
The game also served as the annual Coaches versus Cancer game, ratcheting up the emotions already piqued by the island rivalry.
The Falcons honored Langley High School grad Rick Simmons and Judy Bertolin-Huber, aunt of Falcon freshman girls basketball player Ali Johnson, before the game.
South Whidbey came into the contest with a 10-5 record; Coupeville was just 2-10. Although South Whidbey won as expected, the 21-point victory was no walk in the park.
The pesky Wolves would not fold. They trailed by only 9, 49-40, early in the fourth quarter before South Whidbey finally pulled away.
The Falcons led by just 2, 12-10, late in the first period and then upped the gap to 5 when Kody Newman completed a 3-point play in the final seconds of the quarter.
Kole Nelson scored off an offensive rebound to start the second quarter, then Newman tallied 4 points to finish a 9-point run and the Falcons led 21-10.
From that point, the lead would hover around 10 as the Wolves hung on until the end.
South Whidbey took a 32-20 lead into the break thanks to a pair of three-pointers by Dexter Jokinen and 7 points from Newman in the second period.
Newman drained a pair of threes and scored 9 points in the third quarter, Levi Buck added 4 points and the Falcon’s lead remained 12, 49-37, going into the fourth.
Coupeville’s Jered Brown started the final quarter with a three-ball, making it 49-40, before the Falcons finally secured the win.
Newman scored twice, including a three-point play, to ignite the big fourth quarter. After Coupeville scored, the Falcons’ Levi Buck hit back-to-back hoops, the second on a nice feed from Newman, and South Whidbey was finally able to cruise.
“There was a spirit in the air,” coach Mike Washington said about the atmosphere for the rivalry game and special occasion. “It was a very competitive game – they made a shot, we made a shot.
“I though Coupeville improved a lot; they got after it.”
“Overall, this is one of the best games we have played,” he added.
“Overall” would be a good term to describe Newman’s effort. He finished with 33 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Jokinen scored 9 points, all off three-balls, Buck had 8, Wyatt De Mers 5, Nelson 3, Jacob Ng 2, Nick Young 2 and Sterling Patton 2.
Buck and Nelson, who started in place of an injured Carson Wrightson, each grabbed 10 rebounds. Nelson, along with Nick Young, also had two assists.
The win lifted the Falcons (4-2, 11-5) into a second-place tie with Sultan (4-2, 5-10). The two teams play in Sultan at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22.