Turnovers by the Falcon girls basketball team were overcome by stingy defense against the visiting Cedar Park Christian Eagles in a 52-43 win Friday night.
Playing as Cascade Conference foes for the first time, the Eagles and Falcons opened the game with seven turnovers in the first four minutes. But South Whidbey minimized its mistakes with a hard-to-penetrate zone defense and harassing defenders on the perimeter.
South Whidbey took a 10-9 lead on a Megan Drake layup and never lost the advantage. The Falcons built their lead to six points by halftime and opened the second half on a tear, hitting back-to-back baskets.
The game may have significance later in the season because both teams are 1A, and only the top three 1A teams from the league advance to the postseason.
Free throws provided a boost for the Falcons. The percentage left something to be desired, however, as South Whidbey’s players went 12-for-22.
Cedar Park Christian fared worse. The Eagles hit 14 of their 28 free-throw shots.
Early on, the Eagles showed a willingness to shoot three-pointers. The strategy may have backfired, as Cedar Park only connected on one three-point shot.
South Whidbey relied on its offensive sets, moving the ball along the perimeter against Cedar Park’s defense. The Falcons also only scored a three-pointer, a second-chance basket after Drake missed a shot, recovered her own miss and was able to kick out to sophomore Kacie Hanson.
Hodson gave South Whidbey its first double-digit lead of the night on a short jump shot.
She and junior Emily Turpin tied for the game’s scoring lead with 13 points a piece. Eagle junior Sasha Korolenko also scored 13 points.
The Falcons went on a 10-0 run to open the third quarter, including four points from sophomore Kinsey Eager, who finished with nine points.
Cedar Park, however, came within striking distance midway through the fourth quarter. But several turnovers stalled the Eagles’ rally as the closest the score reached was a 43-42 Falcon lead.
Poor free-throw shooting cost Cedar Park dearly in the final period. The Eagles missed seven on 12 attempts in the fourth quarter.
In the final three minutes, the Falcons pulled away on the shoulders of Turpin, Eager and Drake.