First loss of season for Wolverine boys; Friday Harbor outscored in final period in 41-34 loss to La Conner

Any hope of a perfect run through league came to a screeching halt Friday as La Conner took advantage of a fourth-quarter collapse to deal the Wolverines a 41-34 loss on the road.

Friday Harbor, up by a single point at the end of the third period, managed just six points in the final eight minutes of regulation while the Braves, spurred on by a partisan home crowd, tallied 14 of their own to clinch a come-from-behind victory.

It’s the lowest scoring output of this season for the Wolverines and the first time in a dozen games they failed to notch 40 points or more.

Head Coach Rod Turnbull credits La Conner for staying sharp, focused and intense for a full 32 minutes. He said that the Wolverines, in comparison, struggled to match that intensity and were even further out of synch in the pivotal final period with the game on the line.

“It was a tough night all the way through for us,” Turnbull said. “They wanted the game more than we did and, bottom line, their effort was better than ours.”

Senior guard Austin Scheffer tossed in 15 points for Friday Harbor to lead all scorers. But he had little help from his teammates on the offensive end.

La Conner’s Jeremy Vander lei tallied 11 points in leading a balanced offensive attack, in which four other Braves scored six or more points. La Conner improved to 4-2 in Northwest 1A/2B League competition and 7-6 overall.

The Wolverines, at 5-1, (7-5 overall), remain atop the league standings but could face their toughest test of the season on the road this Friday at Darrington. The Loggers, at 5-2, are a half-game behind in the standings and toppled La Conner last week by seven points at home. The Loggers, with guard Cory Hoveskeland and wingman Mike Parris in the lineup, boast two the league's most explosive and prolific scorers.

With the second half of the season just under way, Turnbull said the loss at La Conner could prove to be a timely wake-up call. The Wolverines, he said, will need to raise their level of play, both individually and collectively, as the competition in the home-stretch of the regular season grows more intense and, more importantly, in the post-season as well.

“We’re a little stagnant right now,” Turnbull said. “The important thing I think is what kind of response we’re going to have.”

Next: The Wolverines are on the road Friday for a showdown against league runner-up Darrington.

The Wolverines return home Saturday to host 1A rival Lynden Christian. Tipoff is 6 p.m.

Friday Harbor hosts Orcas on Tuesday. Tipoff is 5:45 p.m.

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