Playing big and fast, the Lakewood Cougars girls basketball team took an early lead and never let go against South Whidbey on the Falcons’ home court Friday night.
The Cougars took a 4-2 lead within the first two minutes and went on to win 47-31, relying on an inside-outside offense. Lakewood scored layups with sophomore Marissa Blair and sophomore Reille Jones, and from beyond the three-point arc with guard tandem sophomore Hayley Senyitko and freshman Natalie Neer.
South Whidbey’s young squad tried to keep pace through the first half. The Falcons found some success early in the game, with senior Madi Boyd and freshman Megan Drake driving to the rim.
But the persistent problem of getting the ball up the floor returned and cost South Whidbey four possessions in the first half.
Lakewood took its first double-digit lead on a three-pointer by Neer early in the second quarter. Drake cut the lead to 23-14 with a three-pointer, her second of the first half.
South Whidbey’s defense tried pressuring Lakewood and came up with a few steals of its own. But it seemed as though the Falcons would no sooner take the ball then they would lose it, as one sequence following Drake’s three illustrated. Lakewood missed a shot, followed by a missed Abby Hodson jump shot. Boyd stole the ball, only to have it taken back by Senyitko. Lakewood’s Cassidy Dvorak was fouled, missed both shots, but the Cougars rebounded the miss. Drake stole the ball following another missed shot, but turned it over with a travel call.
Fortunately for South Whidbey, Lakewood failed to score on most of the first-half turnovers. Unfortunately, losing the ball meant the Falcons had an empty possession.
By halftime, Lakewood held a 27-17 lead.
The Falcons tried to creep back into the game in the third quarter. Kinsey Eager, a Falcon freshman, split a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 27-18. The Cougars, however, returned to a double-digit advantage off a Senyitko steal and a Dvorak layup.
Later in the third period, South Whidbey found some pep following a Boyd three-pointer. The Falcons stole the ensuing possession from the Cougars, recovered a missed shot and sent junior Kristen Schuster to the free-throw line where she split a pair. It wasn’t enough, however, as Lakewood held to its 38-23 lead, keeping South Whidbey at a distance it could not recover from.
The Falcons (1-10 Cascade Conference, 2-15 overall) have two games left in the season, with the team’s senior night to honor Boyd on Friday, Feb. 7 at South Whidbey High School.