The big men carried the load as the Wolverines erased a 5-point deficit in the final period and gained momentum in the race for post-season position with a 45-36 victory at home, Saturday, over regional 1A rival Meridian.
Junior Collin Williamson and sophomore Otis Cooper-West together scored 11 of Friday Harbor’s first 13 points of the fourth period, sparking a rally in the final eight minutes of play that sealed the win. Williamson tallied a game-high 18 points and Cooper-West tossed in 10. The Wolverines outscored Meridian 18-4 in the final period.
Sophomore C.J. Woods, who contributed nine points, knocked down just enough free throws with under a minute left in regulation — hitting on 5-of-10 attempts at the line — to keep a turnover-prone Trojans squad at arms-length and to put the victory on ice.
“It’s great that we can rely on people like Collin and Otis, who went out of the game (ankle injury) and came back in,” Woods said. “Those guys scored most of our points in the fourth quarter.”
With the victory, Friday Harbor raised its record to 9-2 overall and, combined with an earlier victory over Nooksack Valley, pocketed win No. 2 in head-to-head matchups against its three post-season Whatcom County rivals. (Top seed in the first round of the regional 1A playoffs will be up for grabs when the Wolverines square off against Lynden Christian (9-1) on the road Jan. 14).
By taming the Trojans, who fell to 4-7 overall, the Wolverines also soothed the sting of their first loss in league play, a 63-55 defeat at home, Friday, by Cedar Park Christian, in overtime, and with less than 24 hours to regroup.
The Lions (4-2 league, 9-3 overall) erased a 5-point deficit in the final 18 seconds to send the game into overtime and then outscored the Wolverines 10-2 in the extra period to claim the upset.
“Our guys are finding out that it’s not always easy,” Coach Rod Turnbull said following the loss to the Lions. “We talked about that ‘what makes young men into men’ is how you handle adversity. We’ll come back tomorrow and find out what we can do.”
With the game on the line, against Meridian, this time they got it done.
“They always rock us in football,” said junior Donald Galt, who had six points, two steals and two assists in 31 minutes of play. “It feels good to get them back.”
The Wolverines host La Conner Tuesday, tip off is 4 p.m. in Turnbull Gym. They travel to Concrete Friday, and to Lynden Christian Saturday; tip off against the Lyncs is at 1:30 p.m.