The Skyhawks rally from a five-point deficit in the third quarter to win 77-75
by: MILES VANCE, UP AND IN — Southridge senior Travis Madison drives to the basket for two of his 10 points during the Skyhawks’ 77-75 victory at Prairie High in Vancouver, Wash., on Friday.

BRUSH PRAIRIE, Wash. - Southridge's boys basketball team was coming off one of its worst performances of the 2007-08 non-league schedule and wanted nothing more than to put its Tuesday loss to Evergreen behind it.

Prairie had different ideas on Friday, however, and gave the Skyhawks fits throughout the first half of their road game. But when push came to shove, Southridge turned on the jets, left the Falcons behind in the second half and pulled away to win 77-75. The victory lifted the Skyhawks' record to 12-2.

'The first half resembled the game against Evergreen a lot, but then the second half, we just relaxed and weren't so tense about it,' said senior wing Jace Green, who scored all 13 of his points in the second half against Prairie. 'It wasn't so much 'Have to win' as 'Want to win' and we were just sharing the ball and running and it was free and that's how we have to play.'

'In the first half, we struggled and we weren't moving the ball around,' added senior wing Travis Madison, who had 10 points in the win. 'The second half, coach got us together and our seniors and some of our bench players, they sparked us. You play great defense and then you play great offense.'

'It is a nice win, especially since we struggled in the first half and it looked like we were still struggling from our last

game when we just didn't play very well,' added Southridge coach Phil Vesel.

It was Prairie that held the upper hand early, though. The taller Falcons knocked down 8-of-14 shots in the first quarter, got six points from Michael Hamberg and a late three-pointer from Kevan West to lead 17-14. The Skyhawks, meanwhile, stayed close thanks to Madison's five first-quarter points and four from junior post Kevin Sullivan, who led all scorers with 25 after hitting 11-of-18 shots from the floor.

Prairie did its best to ditch the Skyhawks in the second quarter, limiting Southridge to 28 percent shooting (5-of-18) and forcing five turnovers while getting six points each from Jeff Dorman and Hamberg and five from West.

But the Skyhawks came alive in the third quarter, defended better, rebounded better and absolutely shot the lights out. Southridge knocked down 11-of-13 shots from the floor (including five three-pointers) in the third period, and used an 8-0 run powered by Sullivan's inside hoop and 'threes' by Travis Kinane and Green, with Green's bomb providing the Skyhawks' first lead of the game at 39-38 with 4 minutes, 28 seconds left in the quarter.

The Falcons pushed back ahead 46-41 thanks to a Hamberg 'three' and a Dorman three-point play with 2:50 left in the third, but the Hawks closed the frame leading 53-50 with an 11-4 run that included three-pointers by Kinane, Madison and Aaron Buster.

Prairie fell behind by as much as 67-59 on Sullivan's baseline shot with 3:25 left in the game, but rallied behind Hamberg and West to cut Southridge's lead to 73-72 on West's 'three' with 22 seconds to go. But Kinane hit two foul shots with 21 seconds left and Sullivan added one with 10 seconds left to put the win on ice.

'I think we started out a little too intimidated and we can't do that - we've just got to come out and play our game. Play Southridge basketball and that's what we did the second half,' Green said.

'It was fun. It was also great to see a couple bench guys come in and spark us,' Vesel added. 'It was a good character win. Any time you win on the road you've got to feel good about it.'

In addition to Sullivan's 25 points, Green's 13 and Madison's 10, Kinane added 13 in the win. As a team, Southridge hit 29-of-53 shots (including 11 three-pointers) from the field and 8-of-12 foul shots while committing 16 turnovers.

For Prairie, Hamberg finished with 23 points, West 18 and Dorman 13. The Falcons hit 31-of-61 from the field (with eight 'threes'), made 5-of-11 free throws and turned the ball over 18 times.

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