January 14, 2002
Morales comes off bench to help Falcons win road game
by Russ Paris
Special to the Weekly
I received tickets to a professional basketball game as a Christmas gift. The price on those tickets was 10 times the amount charged for a high school game. This game between WHS and Roosevelt kept me on the edge of my seat, whereas the professional game put me to sleep.
The Woodinville Falcons overcame a tenacious Roughrider offense last Tuesday to defeat Roosevelt High School 61-58. The Teddies, playing at home, showed a tough style of play that kept them in the game with the more athletic Falcons.
Woodinville has improved their record to 7-3. Prior to beginning league play the Birds had a 5-2 record in December which included a successful Holiday Tournament in San Rafael, Calif. where they placed third after losing to the team which won the round-robin action.
The Falcon's early success was a pleasant surprise as they returned only two starters: Ian Warner, a 5'9" junior guard and Zack McVey a 6'7" senior center. Sophomore Jeff Lombard, a 6'2" forward and five more players from last year's junior varsity team make up the nucleus of this year's squad.
In the Roosevelt game, the Falcons started slowly, allowing the Roughriders to score the first 8 points.
Head Coach Steve Johnson went to his bench early, and 6'1" junior guard Kaelan Morales was brought in because of his quickness to match Roosevelt's speed.
Morales scored the next six points and brought the Birds back to 10-6. At the 2-minute, 55-second mark of the first period, the Falcons, behind McVey's rebounding controlled the offensive boards. His tip-in put the Birds down by just one, and Lombard's jump shot from the right side of the key put the Falcons ahead 11-10.
Roosevelt, on a last second buzzer-beater, tied it 14-14 at the end of the first period.
Both teams played a hard- running game in the second period, and the lead changed hands five times ending with the Birds down by one, 35-34.
Woodinville's slow start and turnovers hurt them in the first half.
"I talked about it before the start of the game ‹ that Roosevelt is a good team that always comes out swinging," said Johnson. "I hope we learned from our slow start. Also, at half time I told the kids we needed to play better defensively and offensively and make crisper passes."
The second half started with Roosevelt applying a trapping zone defense and roughriding to a 46-38 lead. Again it was Morales who led the Falcon charge back with a 20-foot 3-pointer that hit nothing but net.
The teams traded baskets until the end of the third period at which time the Falcons had pulled to within 2.
The fourth period started with a Falcon fastbreak which featured Jense Flaherty's rebound and outlet pass to Kurt Meckling who dished inside to Vytas Dargis-Robinson to tie the score at 50.
McVey played tremendous defense which was highlighted when he blocked a shot by Roosevelt's leading scorer Marcus Williams (13 points for the night).
Josh Berg's 3-pointer from the top of the key put Woodinville up 55-52 with just four minutes left.
Roosevelt, playing physical ball down the stretch, worked back to a 56-55 lead. With 2 minutes, 56 seconds left, Meckling went high to grab a rebound, passed long to Morales who hit a 3-pointer to give the Falcons the lead 56-58.
With just 2 minutes left, Johnson called time out and told the team, "Play to win the last 2 minutes; watch our decisions; no cross-court passes."
With just 40 ticks of the clock left and the Birds up by 1, Roosevelt double-teamed Morales, but the man-of-the-hour drove to the right side of the lane and was fouled with just 3 seconds left.
With the game on the line, Morales, shooting to win, coolly sank both free throws giving Woodinville a 61-58 win after Roosevelt's final shot missed.
Coming off the bench, Morales had a career big-play- night with 19 points.
"I'm so proud of him. He worked hard over the summer lifting weights and conditioning himself," said Coach Johnson of Morales. "It showed tonight; it was a great team effort, but we really counted on him."
Woodinville hit 67 percent of their foul shots, with Roosevelt hitting 46 percent from the foul line.
In other Kingco action Bothell beat Lake Washington 63-47 behind Ryan Rourke's 25 points.
Inglemoor defeated Redmond 47-41 as Danny Nwaelele had a double digit points (14) and rebounds (11).
Cedarcrest High School
In wrestling action, Cedarcrest High School defeated Mercer Island 47-14 last Tuesday, Jan. 8, in a battle of 3A undefeated teams. Aaron Pedeferri, at 119 pounds, defeated Rusty Carlson in a feature match in front of a boisterous, standing-room-only crowd. Joining Pedeferri as a state qualifier are Darren DeBoer (CHS) who defeated Andrew Cahoon (M.I.) and Robby Westermann (CHS) who defeated Grant Guidinger (M.I.) The Cedarcrest team is coached by Jeff Newcomer and former Seahawk Art Kuehn.