DRIVING FORCE – La Conner’s Josh Jolly rose to the occasion in league basketball action with Friday Harbor Saturday afternoon. Jolly scored a game-high 18 points and was clutch down the stretch to help lead the Braves to a 56-52 upset win at Landy James Gym. La Conner squared its conference ledger at 4-4 and knocked the Wolverines out of a first place tie with Orcas Island.                        – Photo by Bill Reynolds
DRIVING FORCE – La Conner’s Josh Jolly rose to the occasion in league basketball action with Friday Harbor Saturday afternoon. Jolly scored a game-high 18 points and was clutch down the stretch to help lead the Braves to a 56-52 upset win at Landy James Gym. La Conner squared its conference ledger at 4-4 and knocked the Wolverines out of a first place tie with Orcas Island. – Photo by Bill Reynolds

The La Conner Braves enjoyed a Jolly good time when they hosted co-league leader Friday Harbor in NW2B boys’ basketball action Saturday afternoon. 

Senior wing Josh Jolly scored a game-high 18 points, all but two coming in the second half, to lead La Conner to a 56-52 upset win at Landy James Gym. 

Jolly scored seven straight points over a two-minute stretch of the final period to lift the Braves on top of an ebb-and-flow affair from the outset. 

With the win, La Conner avenged an earlier road loss to Friday Harbor and squared its conference mark at 4-4 and improved to 4-5 overall. 

The Wolverines fell to 5-3 in NW2B standings and out of a first place tie with Orcas Island. 

Jolly was one of several players who turned in strong performances, Braves head coach Todd Hinderman said afterward. 

“We got contributions from everybody,” he said. “It was a great team effort.” 

La Conner bolted to an early 14-1 lead behind the perimeter shooting of Charles Baker and Andre Knudson, each of whom hit treys in the opening period. 

Elijah Porter, Josh Denton, Miles Sidzyik and Jolly also scored for La Conner in the first quarter. 

The Braves likewise benefitted from turnovers and transition baskets created by their trapping full-court press. 

Gradually, though, the Wolverines inched back into the contest. Julian Rich capped a 22-13 second quarter Friday Harbor run with a three-pointer from the deep corner that knotted the score 29-29 at halftime. 

La Conner regained momentum in the third period, thanks in large measure to Jolly, who buried a pair of fadeaway jumpers and hit a key drive in the paint. 

Still, the Braves trailed 40-37 until Porter delivered a long three-pointer following a steal by Knudson late in the quarter. 

The two teams traded leads from that point, with the Wolverines pulling ahead 51-46 on two free throws by Satchel Pieples with 3:47 remaining in the final stanza. 

Jolly then took control of the game. He drove the lane for one bucket, trimming the Friday Harbor edge to 51-48 and deadlocked matters with a clutch three-pointer at the 1:36 mark. 

Coming out of a timeout, Jolly drained a jumper for a 53-51 La Conner lead that the Braves would not relinquish. 

Baker extended the La Conner margin to 55-51 on two charity tosses with 15 seconds left. 

Jolly and Friday Harbor’s Dylan Roberson traded foul shots to round out the scoring. 

Baker joined Jolly in double digits, finishing with 10 points. Roberson paced Friday Harbor with 15 points, including four treys. 

The Braves resumed their league schedule this week with trips to Concrete on Monday and Darrington late Tuesday. 

La Conner returns home June 14 opposite non-league foe South Whidbey in a 7 p.m. clash. The Braves visit conference rival Mount Vernon Christian June 15 at 7:30 p.m.