The Turnbull Gym was packed and the excitement from the crowd was palpable on Tuesday, Jan. 10, when both the boys and girls basketball teams from Friday Harbor faced traditional division 2B rivals the Orcas Island Vikings.
“It was a pretty good high school basketball game,” said Rod Turnbull, boys head basketball coach. “A lot of lead changes, a lot of good stuff.”
From the first jump ball, one could sense the tension and rivalry in this interisland matchup. First up were the boys, and the Wolverines came out strong and took control. The lead changed hands back and forth throughout the first and second quarters. The Wolverines’ strong defensive playing and clutch shot making were firing on all five cylinders. With just three minutes left in the half, senior John Gustafson hit a clutch three-point jump shot and Joe Stewart muscled his way to the basket and hit a two-point layup to put the Wolverines ahead 31-28. The strong finish to the half gave them their largest lead of the game.
In the second half, the Wolverines kept up the momentum and defensive pressure. Gustafson put up an all-net three-pointer to keep the team up by two late in the third, but Orcas hit their own three-point shot to eke out a one-point lead 47-46 going into the final quarter. Junior Rio Black got into the action with a nice layup to keep the team ahead well into the fourth quarter. The lead continued to change hands in a very close game with Stewart sinking two clutch free throws to put Friday Harbor up by four points with just three minutes left, but with just two minutes left on the clock, Orcas hit a three-point shot to go ahead. Stewart played hard in the waning minutes and forced his way in for a layup with 10 seconds to go, but Orcas held on to the lead and won the game 65-61.
“We had some possessions, where we just didn’t quite execute as well as we could have, particularly at the end of the game, that caused the outcome,” said Turnbull. “Overall consistency and defensive work ethic are what we are working on for the upcoming games. We have been trying to find our consistency. Sometimes we suffer from breakdowns both physical and mental; just things we have to work on. We have some room to grow. ”