Another game slipped through the fingers of the South Whidbey boys basketball team on Dec. 21.
The Falcons lost to Oak Harbor 40-35 on Dec. 21 at South Whidbey High School, marking the second consecutive game the Falcons have lost by a margin of less than six points; South Whidbey fell to Port Townsend 62-60 on Dec. 19.
The loss dropped South Whidbey to 3-5 overall.
Though seven different Falcons scored against the Wildcats, none reached double-digits. Junior Lewis Pope and senior Maxfield Friedman led the Falcons with seven points apiece, while Falcon sophomore Kody Newman was second in scoring with six points. Seniors Kellen Boyd, Tyler Heggenes and Anton Klein each contributed four points.
Boyd said struggles on offense and defense were catalysts in the defeat. The Falcons scored only five points in the first quarter and were outscored 19-13 in the second quarter.
Things turned around for the Falcons in the second half when they held Oak Harbor to just one point in the third quarter while scoring 10.
Trailing 29-28 entering the fourth quarter, the Falcons were poised to duke it out down the final stretch. But, it wasn’t to be, as South Whidbey was outscored 11-7 in the fourth quarter.
“We had good shots and good movement, but shots weren’t going in,” Boyd said.
Friedman said the Falcons were caught off-guard when the Wildcats employed a box-and-one zone defense, a man-to-man strategy which is typically used when a team has one dominant scoring threat. In South Whidbey’s case, that threat is Pope.
Pope was held to his lowest scoring output of the season, while his teammates squandered their scoring opportunities. South Whidbey converted only 16 of its 40 field goals and were 1-11 from three-point range.
“They were forcing other people to make shots and we just weren’t connecting on them,” Friedman said.
“We weren’t expecting that at the beginning of the game,” Boyd added.
The Falcons also turned the ball over 10 times, while Oak Harbor had six turnovers.
South Whidbey coach Mike Washington, who coached Oak Harbor’s boys basketball team for eight seasons before taking over the Falcon program in 2014, said he is optimistic heading into the second half of the season despite the Falcons’ losing record. South Whidbey has played just two league games and showed strength against Archbishop Murphy in a 70-61 loss.
“I honestly feel like eventually it’s going to just start clicking,” Washington said. “We click in certain areas, but then there’s certain times in a game where we break down and it’s cost us.”