For the road-weary Woodinville Falcons, comebacks are becoming a way of life.
Playing in their 7th road game of the season, the Falcons (4-6) trailed Snohomish 37-20 at halftime, before closing the gap but only to lose at the end, 65-61.
"It’s a situation where we don’t come out and play four quarters of basketball," Woodinville coach Mark Folsom said. "And the first half shows that."
Taken aback by Snohomish’s full-court press to start the game, the Falcons fell behind 10-0 before the sparse holiday crowd had fully settled into their seats.
By halftime, the deficit had ballooned to 17, and as the Woodinville players slowly jogged to the locker room, the night teetered on the brink of total disaster.
But in the second half, a different Woodinville team emerged.
They secured the ball better and played tighter defense. They won the third quarter 21-8 and only trailed by 4 heading into the fourth quarter.
When Zack Oates drained a 3-pointer with 1:45 left, the Snohomish lead was trimmed to 55-54.
But that was as close as it would get. When Falcon forward Tony Miller was stripped of the ball on a drive with 30 seconds left, that was all she wrote.
The final score read SNOHOMISH 65, WOODINVILLE 61.
Miller led all scorers with 23 points, and teammate Noble Cooper provided a spark with 16 points off the bench.
"We never gave up," Cooper said. "Down by 17 in the second half. We came back, got within 2. We’ve just got to finish next time."
Playing effectively for the Falcons after returning from a back injury was guard Mitchell Jones.
His presence is very much needed. The team is attempting to fill the shoes of guard Tommy Wick, who fractured his leg in a December 20th game vs. Bothell and is gone for the year.
"I’m not trying to do the things Tommy would do because we don’t have the same style," Jones said. "He’s more of a shooter, and I’m trying to push the ball up the floor. And when I have a chance to drive, I kick it out to my shooters, instead of shooting it like Tommy would have."
Coach Folsom assessed the big picture.
"We’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to fill Tommy’s shoes, and how those pieces fit in," he said. "Mitch hasn’t played in nine months, and tonight was his first opportunity to show us what he’s capable of. He’s healthy and he’s ready to go.
"Youth is showing. Guys don’t know how to play hard for 32 minutes. They know how to play hard for 8 minutes and 16 minutes and 4 minutes. But to put it all together they don’t know how critical every single possession is.
"If we can build on it and learn from the situation going forward we should be okay. As I’ve said, this is a resilient group. I like the fight — but tonight the fight came too late."
Photo by Ashvin Coomar
Woodinville’s Mitchell Jones looks to pass during a game at Snohomish on January 3rd. The junior point guard is now healthy and his young Falcon team will be looking to him for leadership for the rest of this season.