‘Yucky’ Falcon hoops game saved by Collins’ shots late

In this photo from the Jan. 13 game against Lakewood

Given the low score of South Whidbey’s 39-34 boys basketball win against Cedar Park Christian on Tuesday, Falcon head coach Michael Washington wanted to credit a stalwart defensive effort. 

That was not the case, however, as he said both teams struggled offensively. Scoring 39 points was the second-lowest total South Whidbey had this season behind 33 in a 39-point loss to King’s earlier this season.

For his own squad, the Falcons’ first-year coach said they lacked energy and focus in Bothell, leading to lots of missed shots throughout the game.

“It was one of those yucky games,” Washington said. “It seemed like one of those games no one wanted to win.”

Despite the struggles, South Whidbey led 18-17 at halftime. Defensively, the Falcons were sparked by sophomore Tyler Dow, who saw extended minutes in the second half, Washington said

In the third quarter, Cedar Park Christian was held to just five points.

When it mattered, South Whidbey got things going thanks in large part to senior Parker Collins’ game-high 18 points. Collins hit a late three-pointer to extend the Falcons’ lead, then hit some free throws in the waning seconds to close out the win and fend off Cedar Park Christian’s 12-point fourth quarter.

Falcon senior Chandler Sutton chipped in 10 points for the Falcons, including a pair of three-pointers.

Beating Cedar Park Christian, a fellow 1A school in the Cascade Conference, carried implications for South Whidbey’s shot at the postseason. To make the 1A District 1 tournament, South Whidbey has to finish in the top three among four 1A schools in its conference. The Falcons were swept by the Sultan Turks, lost to King’s once, and swept the Cedar Park Christian Cougars. That means South Whidbey is sitting in third place and hoping it can keep pace ahead of Cedar Park (0-8 conference, 5-9 overall) the rest of the season.

“That win put us in a good position,” Washington said.

After the win, South Whidbey had lots to work on, according to the coach. Washington said the Falcons are focusing on defensive intensity, breaking press defenses, limiting turnovers, getting rebounds and patience on offense. Even before the Falcons hit the court again after their win, they hit the books in the high school’s library for a practice spent studying ahead of midterm exams.

“If we make the playoffs and they’re not able to play, what good is it?” asked Washington, referring to the grade checks that qualify students to participate in extracurricular activities for South Whidbey High School.