It's never fun to lose, but some loses sting more than others.
Such was the case for the Coupeville High School girls basketball team as it fell 43-36 at South Whidbey Wednesday, Feb. 6, in the consolation bracket of the 1A District 1 tournament.
First, the game ended the Wolves' season. Second, it eliminated Coupeville from the district tournament. Third, it came at the hands of their biggest rivals. Fourth, it was the rubber match between the two teams as each won its home game during the Cascade Conference season. And, finally, it came in a game the Wolves led much of the night.
The Falcons (12-11) stole the come-from-behind win by outscoring Coupeville 19-7 in the final period.
The Wolves (6-16) were as hot at the beginning as they were cold at the end, scooting out of the chute to an 11-2 lead thanks to four points from Hailey Hammer and a three-pointer by Bree Messner.
The Falcons, behind Ellie Green and Annalies Schuster, responded with a 13-4 run that spanned the first two quarters. First they came within five, 13-8, at the end of the first quarter and then knotted the game at 15.
A bucket by Hammer, who scored all of her eight points in the first half, helped Coupeville regain the lead and go into the locker room up 18-15.
Coupeville senior Bessie Walstad dominated the third quarter. She scored nine of her team-high 12 points in the period and pushed her team to a 29-24 lead going into the last eight minutes.
Midway through the third quarter, the Falcons concentrated on getting the ball in Green's hands and into Schuster in the paint. While the South Whidbey pair worked at getting the Falcons back in the game, the Coupeville offense disappeared.
In the fourth quarter, buckets by Lauren Escalle and Amanda Fabrizi helped the Wolves stay ahead 33-30, then the Falcons finished the game on a 13-3 run. Another three-ball by Messner was all the Wolves could muster as Coupeville went in a five-minute scoring drought.
Coach David King said, "Our offense just stalled and we couldn't make any shots."
The Wolves trailed by five with less than two minutes to go and were forced foul. South Whidbey hit seven of 11 free throws in the quarter to wrap up the win.
The Falcons enjoyed a sizable advantage at the line, sinking 15 of 24 for the game; the Wolves were only one of six.
King said, "We had our moments and just couldn't sustain our offense for the 32 minutes."
Messner finished with six points, Escalle four, Fabrizi two, Jai'Lysa Hoskins two and Makana Stone two.
Walstad added seven rebounds, and Stone had six boards and three blocks.
Schuster and Green combined to score 33 of the Falcons' 43 points.