In the game’s aftermath, the somber tone of Woodinville’s locker room revealed a team struggling to forge a winning identity.
"Everyone is just disappointed," Falcon forward Zach Oates said. "We feel like this has happened to us a couple times this season. We always make a run and we’re always able to stay in the game, we’ve just got to finish."
Finish was what the Inglemoor Vikings did last Friday night. Trailing Woodinville by two with less than a minute left in the game, Chandler Edlin drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key, to propel the Vikings to victory over Woodinville, 55-54.
"It was a big time shot," Falcons coach Mark Folsom said.
The evening actually started out wonderfully for Woodinville (1-5, 4-8). The Falcons soared to an early 12-4 lead, powered by quick 3-pointers by Tony Miller and Zach Oates, and blocked shots by Miller and Ryan Gregor. The home crowd was energized and things looked promising.
But turnover problems began plaguing Woodinville. Four separate traveling violations in the first half killed scoring opportunities.
"It was guys just going too quick," Folsom said. "Not keeping their foot planted. Trying to play too fast."
The Vikings seized advantage, taking a 3-point lead into halftime, and staking a 46-39 lead heading into the final quarter.
But that Woodinville fight showed itself again. Zach Oates put the team on his shoulders and shined bright, nailing a jumper with 4:17 left to tie the game at 49, before burying a dramatic 3-pointer with 1:35 left to give the Falcons the lead. Oates would finish the night with 23 points.
But Inglemoor’s Chandler Edlin would have final say. His long-range bomb from the top of the key silenced the Woodinville crowd, and sealed the victory for the Vikings
In the final seconds, Woodinville’s Payton Tirrell drove the paint looking for a shot, but was knocked to the floor and saw the ball skitter away. As the buzzer sounded, visiting students from Inglemoor rushed the court to celebrate with their team, as Falcon players trudged off the court.
Woodinville coach Mark Folsom gave his take on that last possession.
"We didn’t need a three, so we just wanted to get the best look that we could," he said. "We wanted our guys to try to get to the basket. Payton thought he had the opportunity and took it, and I can’t fault him for that. Our kids, we encourage them to stay aggressive and not play tentative. Like I told them afterward, I thought that tonight was one of the first games where all five guys played together all the time on the floor.
"I thought that at both ends, we communicated well and didn’t play selfishly, and we were one shot away from winning that game and one stop away from winning that game, and shoot – that guy knocked it down. It was a big time shot."