Tony Miller scores 26 points, 16 of them at the line, to pace the Falcons to a 72-67 victory over Issaquah
WOODINVILLE — Something is happening in Woodinville.
The Falcons’ boys basketball team has found its stride as the calendar turned to 2016.
Woodinville beat Kingco 4A-leading Issaquah for the first time in the regular season since this senior class arrived at the school, 72-67 Tuesday night, to make it a race going down the stretch for the league title.
The Falcons (10-3, 8-2 KingCo), No. 10 in The Times’ 4A rankings, now trail No. 5 Issaquah (11-3, 9-1) by just a game in the standings.
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“These kids were really focused tonight,” Woodinville coach Mark Folsom said. “There’s been a real change in the way we are approaching things. South Dakota was good for us.”
South Dakota was where the Falcons went for their winter-break tournament. While there, Woodinville played — and lost to — De La Salle out of Concord, Calif.
But that experience had a positive effect.
“It was a wake-up call for us,” said senior Tony Miller. “We’re a more focused team. And there are goals we all think we can accomplish.”
Among those goals … defending their KingCo tournament crown and advancing in the postseason. Tuesday, at least until the final 3½ minutes or so, Woodinville looked like a team destined to do some big things.
Though the Falcons trailed 18-15 after one quarter, thanks to a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Trevon Ary-Turner for Issaquah, by the half Woodinville had taken a 34-30 lead.
The Falcons did it at the free-throw line, where they made 14 of 15 shots in the first half.
Miller, who had a game-high 26 points, went 9 for 9 at the line in the first half and finished 16 for 18.
“They are an aggressive team,” Miller said of the Eagles. “I go to the line some against them.”
Actually, a lot of Falcons hit the line. Woodinville shot 40 free throws, making 33.
Ary-Turner made two three-pointers in a game-ending surge that closed the Eagles’ deficit from 16 points to just three, 70-67, on Jason Crandall’s rebound and putback with 4.5 seconds left.
But Miller then made two free throws to put the game away.