By Scott Rasmussen, Journal editor
With a steady grip on a 5-point lead, the Wolverines headed into the final period with momentum on their side.
But the well went dry. They managed only three points over the final eight minutes of play, dropping their home opener to Seattle’s Bear Creek Grizzlies, 57-45, in a double-digit turnaround, Saturday, in Turnbull Gym.
“I think we may have gotten a little tired in the fourth,” Coach Rod Turnbull winced. “The effort was there. We gave ourselves a chance to win, but you can’t turn the ball over against a quality team like that and not expect to have it cost you.”
The Wolverines (1-2) committed 19 turnovers over the course of the non-league contest. The Grizzlies (3-1) had seven.
Friday Harbor led by five at the half, and again by five at the end of the third, 42-37. But the Grizzlies, a 2B Division perennial post-season powerhouse, drained four three-pointers and outscored the home team 20-3 down the stretch, sparked by back-to-back three-pointers by junior Luke Blankenbeckler to start the period, to run away with the win.
Junior Jacob Benson scored a game-high 20 points before fouling out late in the fourth, and Blankenbeckler and junior Collin Feight each tossed in 11 points for the Grizzlies.
Otis Cooper-West led Friday Harbor with 14 points, Williamson added 13, three of which came on a deep three-pointer at the final buzzer, the Wolverines only points in the fourth.
“They’re a good team with a good track record and they came out firing at the end,” Williamson said of the Seattle-area opponent. “But we weren’t looking inside enough and we just weren’t beating their zone.”
With the loss, Friday Harbor fell under the .500 mark, at 1-2, with a win over regional 1A rival, South Whidbey, and a loss in the season opener to Division 2A Burlington-Edison.
The Wolverines travel to La Conner High School, Friday, to face Tacoma Baptist, at 5 p.m., and again on Saturday, at 3:30 p.m., against Naselle.