The Friday Harbor Wolverines Girls and Boys basketball teams hosted league rival La Conner Braves last Thursday.
The lady Wolverines started first and came out strong within the first few minutes, with Sophomore Leah Black scoring a clean jump shot, and Ciera Bailey with a strong rebound and layup at the three-minute mark to put the Wolverines up 6-4.
Two, three-point shots by La Conner put them up 12-6 and the Braves never looked back.
Although the Wolverine girls started out playing aggressive defense, they let up the pressure late in the first quarter and the Braves took full advantage. Strong rebounding and crisp shot-making by the Braves and a bevy of missed shots by the Wolverines extended the Braves lead to 20-13 at the half despite a good hustle by the Wolverine girls and a clutch outside jump shot by senior Ciera Bailey with 1 minute to go.
The second half saw the Braves pull even further ahead with accurate passing and high percentage shot making.
The Wolverines were outscored in the third quarter 17-2. In the fourth quarter, the Wolverines missed passes and didn’t sink shots despite playing hard and making opportunities.
The game ended with a final score of 48-24 in favor of the Braves.
The boys’ team came out to warm up in the second game of the evening looking relaxed and fluid as they went through their pre-game warm-up ritual. Visibly the Wolverines had a size advantage at almost every position on the court.
The lack of size didn’t deter the Braves at first. They scored quickly on the first few attempts and went up 5-0. The Braves quick, crisp passes around the perimeter to try and find open shots was clearly going to be their strategy and rightfully so. Penetration under the basket was nullified by Friday Harbor’s strong defense and reach.
It was clear that the Braves would have to have high percentage shot making from the outside if they were going to be at all successful, which they were well into the first quarter. Wolverine senior guard Jake Lowe hit a clean three-point shot late in the quarter to keep the Wolverines up by just two points as the quarter ended.
In the latter period of the first half, the Wolverines dialed up the pressure and senior Eli Cooper-West with two almost consecutive steals and layups seemed to awaken the sleeping giant and engage the crowd. The Wolverines came out of the locker room for the second half and picked up where they left off.
Accurate shot making and a strong defense forced turnovers that the Wolverines were able to capitalize on. Although the offense was on fire — senior John Gustafson nailed a trio of inside shots and a three-pointer to put Friday Harbor up 35-16 well into the third quarter.
The final quarter of the game saw some players from the bench replace the regular starters for Friday Harbor, but they still kept the Braves away from the basket, forcing them to shoot low-percentage shots from the outside.
Although being in the lead by over 30 points Friday Harbor played hard and junior Isaac Mayer had two very strong moves to the inside to score, rousing the Wolverine players who looked to be really enjoying playing this game. The final score was 56-25 in favor Friday Harbor.
The next games for the Wolverine boys and girls teams will be this Saturday, away at Shoreline Christian. The next home games are scheduled at 4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 20 at Friday Harbor High School.