Showing its mental toughness, the South Whidbey High School girls basketball team eked out a pair of close wins over the weekend.
The Falcons came from behind to collect their first North Sound Conference win Friday, Jan. 3, slipping by host Sultan 56-49. They then nipped visiting Orcas Island 49-44 in overtime in a non-league game Saturday, Jan. 4.
“We got three wins this week,” South Whidbey coach Jeff Hanson said. (The Falcons defeated Mariner Monday). “I don’t know the last time that happened.”
The close games are a good experience for his club, Hanson added.
“We need to relax and learn how to play in this type of game,” he said, noting he was pleased on how his team kept its composure in the overtime win over Orcas Island.
South Whidbey (1-1, 5-6) plays Granite Falls (0-1, 2-8) at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, in Langley.
South Whidbey 56, Sultan 49
The Turks (0-2, 3-6) jumped to a 16-10 lead in the first quarter.
In the second period, the Falcons’ Isabelle Wood tallied 6 points and Hadley Eager and Arianna Briggs had 4 each to help South Whidbey bounce back and take a 28-25 lead into the break.
Sultan’s Grace Trichler scored 9 points in the third quarter, but Wood countered with 6 points and Ella Wood and Liz Haines each hit three-point shots as the Falcons built their advantage to 10 points, 44-34, going into the fourth quarter.
Tritchler tried to rally the Turks in the fourth, netting 8 points, including a pair of three-balls, but the Falcons hung on behind 6 points from Ella Wood.
“The Wood girls were outstanding, doing the bulk of the scoring,” Hanson said. “Emma (Hodson) was solid in having to guard Grace Trichler, who is the daughter of Sultan’s boys coach.”
Junior Ella Wood finished with 14 points, one more than freshman Isabelle. Hodson had 6, Kayla Knauer 5, Eager 4, Briggs 4, Haines 3 and Madi Knauer 2.
Trichler led all scorers with 26.
South Whidbey 49, Orcas Island 44
Isabelle Wood scored 6 points in overtime and the Falcons limited the Vikings to only three free throws in the extra period to win the thriller.
The game was close throughout. South Whidbey led 12-11 after the first period, trailed 22-21 at halftime and regained the lead 34-32 after the third quarter.
Five different Falcons scored in the first period, including the Knauer sisters, each hitting a three-pointer.
Madi Knauer added another shot from beyond the arc and Briggs netted 4 points in the second quarter.
Hodson scored 9 of the Falcons’ 13 points in the third period.
South Whidbey led 39-35 with just over two minutes left in regulation. Orcas rallied to tie the game at 39. Isabelle Wood scored off an offensive rebound with 25 seconds remaining, then the Vikings’ Lindsey Simpson tied the game on an inbounds play with 10 seconds left, sending the game to overtime.
Isabelle Wood scored off another offensive board to start the extra session. Orcas hit three of four free throws to go up 44-43, then it was all South Whidbey.
The Falcons came up with a loose ball that led to a fast-break hoop by Isabelle Wood, Kayla Knauer knocked down two free throws and Isabelle Wood scored yet again on an offensive rebound to cement the win.
Isabelle Wood, who scored 10 of her team-high 14 points over the final 12 minutes, led the Falcons in scoring. Hodson added 13, Briggs 8, Madi Knauer 6, Kayla Knauer 5 and Ella Wood 3.
“Emma is playing outstanding,” Hanson said. “She is our rock right now.”
Maia Lewis-Shunk led Orcas Island with 14 points; Simpson had 11.
The Vikings made just 17 of 33 free throws; the Falcons were 6-for-12.