Stifling Bellevue Christian defense locks down South Whidbey girls hoops

Bellevue Christian junior Emily VandenBrink spins into the waiting defense of Falcon sophomore Kinsey Eager (14) and sophomore Megan Drake

Bellevue Christian’s full-court press proved to be too much for the South Whidbey girls basketball team Thursday night.

The Falcons lost their fourth game in a row, this time in Langley, 43-24 to the Vikings (9-3 overall). The loss to Bellevue Christian was also the fourth time this season South Whidbey fell by more than 19 points.

From the start, Bellevue Christian’s harrowing defense stymied South Whidbey’s offense. The Falcons opened the game with a lane violation on the tip off, lost their first possession on a travel call and turned over the ball on their next possession.

Where the Falcons’ offense was stalled, its defense tried to make up for it in the first quarter. The Falcons recovered their share of turnovers as the Vikings stumbled through the opening eight minutes as well.

Trailing 8-5 in the second quarter, Falcon senior Abby Hodson stole the ball which led to a quick layup attempt by sophomore Kinsey Eager through a pair of defenders, but her shot missed. The following play resulted in a three pointer for Bellevue Christian, and South Whidbey never came that close to the lead again.

Bellevue Christian rattled off a 16-point run and nearly held South Whidbey scoreless in the second quarter if not for a late jump shot by junior Marina Alber.

At halftime, the Vikings held a 24-7 lead they would extend to a 19-point advantage.

South Whidbey regained some momentum in the second half, sparked by a commitment to pass into the paint for layups and short-range shots. The Falcons had plenty of looks, most of them challenged by Viking defenders, but could not finish enough of the attempts near the rim. Eager scored the first points of the third quarter on a layup, but after that play the Viking defense recovered and stole several Falcon passes into the paint.

The Vikings kept pace with a torrent of shots, many from the perimeter and to great effect. Bellevue Christian made five three-pointers, including three from leading scorer Rachel Berg, a sophomore who finished with 20 points in three quarters of play.

In the fourth quarter, the Vikings’ defense continued to harass the Falcons, who didn’t score until 4:44 remained in the game. In the waning minutes, Falcon sophomore Kacie Hanson made South Whidbey’s only three-point shot to lift her to five points, tied for a team-high with sophomore Emily Turpin.

The Falcons had little time to dwell on their loss, however, as they hosted Cedarcrest (1-3 Cascade Conference, 3-6 overall) on Friday after The Record went to press.