while Dante Mitchell looks the other way.

   Dante Mitchell threw down a 20-point, eight-rebound performance Friday at Orcas Island. (John Fisken photos)

Joey Lippo

Joey Lippo had six points and four rebounds in a 53-44 win.

Dante Mitchell had a very good trip.

When the Coupeville High School basketball teams went to Orcas Island Friday, it made for an all-day and all-night adventure.

But, with four wins in four games, the Wolves were rewarded for spending huge chunks of time traveling to the middle of nowhere.

And while nearly all the CHS players put up solid performances once they were on the tiny Island, few could match Mitchell.

Throwing down 20 points, snatching eight rebounds and handing out three assists, the Wolf junior paced the JV boys’ to their second win of the season, a start-to-finish 53-44 romp.

Now 2-5 on the season heading into the Christmas break, the young Wolves are starting to jell.

“They played pretty inspired,” said Coupeville coach Dustin Van Velkinburgh. “Had the lead the whole game. Got good minutes off the bench.

“We’re starting to come together.”

Freshman Hunter Smith tallied 10 points in support of Mitchell’s offensive explosion, while DeAndre Mitchell (9), Joey Lippo (6), Desmond Bell (4) and Brian Shank (2) rounded out the attack.

DeAndre Mitchell hauled in six boards, with Lippo, Bell and Shank each collecting four.

Smith added three boards and a team-high four assists.

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The big bounce-back!!

Julia Myers (Hohn Fisken photo)

   Julia Myers, eyeballin’ fools whose shots she will have to block. It’s what Judy does. (John Fisken photo)

Wynter Thorne had a season-high nine in Friday's road win.

Wynter Thorne had a season-high nine in Friday’s road win.

They found their shooting touch quickly.

One game after struggling to put up 19 in an entire game, the Coupeville High School girls’ basketball squad poured in 17 in the first quarter Friday at Orcas Island and never let up, romping to a 59-49 non-conference win.

“Our offense got back on track in a hurry from our previous game,” said a relieved Wolf coach David King.

The victory was the third in the last four games for CHS, and sent it into the Christmas break at 5-3 overall, 1-0 and tied for first in 1A Olympic League play.

Coupeville will be off for 10 days, not returning to the court until it hosts Vashon Island Dec. 29.

Shrugging off the long trip to Orcas, and the loss of two starters who fouled out in the fourth quarter, the Wolves rode the hot hand of Makana Stone, who poured in a season-high 22.

CHS needed all those points, as Stone’s total combined with Julia Myer’s 11 produced a dead-heat with Orcas’ best player, Hannah Brunner-Gaydos, who torched the Wolves for 33.

With the Viking sharp-shooter dropping in 22 of those points in the second half, Orcas was able to stay close.

The Wolves then lost Hailey Hammer to fouls with 5:18 to play, before Myers joined her three-and-a-half minutes later.

With starter Madeline Strasburg still out with an injury, Coupeville has just eight varsity players, making it less than desirable to lose two.

“We need to improve our defense,” King said. “We now have a little over a week to re-dedicate our defensive effort before we play Vashon.

“We are taking too many chances and not beating the offensive player to a spot. We are either a step too late on going for a steal or jumping at fakes and getting out of position,” he added. “This is putting the other four players on the court in a tough spot and giving the offense opportunities to score easy baskets or get to the free throw line.”

Coupeville finished the night with 22 fouls, with Stone one whistle away from joining Hammer and Myers on the bench.

Playing smart, though, she stayed out of trouble and came up big in crunch time.

“All game Orcas was in a diamond and one defense, putting a much shorter player on Makana defensively,” King said. “Makana was able to post these players up at times to score inside.

“An adjustment Orcas made was to double team her in the post,” he added. “She was able to knock down a 15-foot jump shot to combat the double team in the post; this is something she has been working hard to improve.”

Once Coupeville got the lead to 10, it kept its foot on the pedal, maintaining an 8 to 12-point spread for the rest of the game.

The Wolves meshed well, recording 15 assists (Kacie Kiel led with seven) on 27 field goals. The 59-point total was a season-best.

Wynter Thorne poured in nine to back up Stone and Myers, while Kiel (8), Hammer (5) and Mia Littlejohn (4) rounded out the scoring attack.

While it wasn’t a flawless game, it was a well-constructed victory.

“It wasn’t a clean or pretty game at times,” King said. “But we kept fighting and players stepped up, either knocking down a shot when needed or making a defensive stop when needed.”

He took a moment to call out two players, freshman Littlejohn and senior Myers, for their contributions.

Mia is showing flashes of what she can bring to this team, especially as a point guard,” King said. “She is able to penetrate into the key and she has a good runner she can make. Or she is able to see an open teammate and make the correct pass.”

Myers, a defensive stalwart who has never met an opponent she can’t rock on their heels, delivered the night’s most impressive play.

“Her last block on the night was of the highlight reel variety,” King said. “An Orcas player had the ball in the short corner on the baseline, Julia was playing off a little; when the player went to shoot, Julia exploded and swatted it out of bounds.

“The Coupeville cheering section went crazy. A really nice momentum swing in our favor,” he added. “It reminded me of Dikembe Mutombo and his many blocks. The only thing missing was the finger wag.”

Aaron Curtin

   Senior Aaron Curtin has been a leader by example this season. (John Fisken photos)

Risen Johnson scored five, snatched four boards and pocketed four steals Friday.

Risen Johnson scored five, snatched four boards and pocketed four steals Friday.

Wiley Hesselgrave went off.

Raining down buckets from the opening tip Friday, the Coupeville High school junior threw up 17 points in limited minutes — foul trouble kept him glued to the bench for nearly two quarters — sparking the Wolves to a big 69-42 non-conference win at Orcas Island.

The victory snapped a three-game skid for CHS and improved it to 2-5 on the season.

The Wolves will now be off until Dec. 30, when they travel to Concrete.

Despite the long trip to Orcas, Coupeville came out with fresh legs and took the game right at the Vikings.

Orcas boasts a six-foot-eight sophomore, but the Wolves bedeviled him and his teammates by running right at them.

“We jumped on them in the beginning. They thought they had a chance to beat us, and we changed their minds,” said Coupeville coach Anthony Smith. “It was a great team effort, a good, solid win.”

The Wolves played fast, a bit loose and super-aggressive, changing up defenses on the fly, and it flustered the Vikings.

They also came out strongly in the third quarter, breaking a bad trend of slow starts after halftime.

“We had a good third,” Smith said. “That has been our nemesis, but guys really stepped up.

Ryan (Griggs) played some big minutes for us, (Aaron) Curtin anchored us the way he always does — it doesn’t always show up in the stats, but he’s our guy who leads by example — and then Wiley checked back in in the fourth and we hammered them.”

Aaron Trumbull stepped up with a big 16 to back Hesselgrave, while Griggs pounded inside for 12.

CJ Smith (6), Risen Johnson (5), Joel Walstad (4), Curtin (4), Matt Shank (3) and Gabe Wynn (2) rounded out the scorers.

The team-wide display of hustle and intensity showed up in the defensive stats, as well, with Curtin (6), Hesselgrave (4), Johnson (4) and Griggs (4) leading the charge on the boards.

Hesselgrave and Johnson had four steals apiece.

JV wins too: The young guns also romped to their second win of the season, bouncing Orcas 53-44.

“The JV is really coming along,” Smith said. “We can go seven or eight deep with little drop-off, and that’s great for a JV team. Our future looks bright.”

No scoring stats were available.

Tiffany Briscoe snatched six boards, helping spur a defensive-orientated win Friday. (John Fisken photo)

Tiffany Briscoe snatched six boards, helping spur a defensive-orientated win Friday. (John Fisken photo)

Orcas had the height. Coupeville had the heart.

Overcoming a size disadvantage and a very productive swing player who banged away in the paint, the Coupeville High School JV girls’ basketball team bounced host Orcas Island 36-23 Friday.

The win lifted the young Wolves to 5-3 on the season heading into the Christmas break.

CHS has 10 days between games, not returning to the court until Dec. 29, when it hosts Vashon.

After making the long trip to Orcas, Coupeville came out a bit slowly, but then found a different gear.

Down 6-4 after one quarter, the Wolves went on a 14-4 tear in the second quarter to blow things open.

The points came from everywhere, with five different players tallying buckets in the quarter.

Even with leading scorer Kailey Kellner on the bench with foul trouble, the Wolves were able to use a big advantage on the boards to spur the scoring frenzy.

Orcas rallied briefly in the third behind their top gun, Jessie Nicholls, who returned from a first-half ankle injury to pour in 11 of her game-high 13 points in the quarter.

Using the same shot over and over, she was fairly unstoppable.

Until the speedy duo of Lauren Rose and Lauren Grove clamped down on the Orcas ball-handlers, preventing them from getting the rock to Nicholls.

Making off with frequent steals, the duo frustrated the Vikings and Coupeville put the game away with a solid final quarter.

“I was very proud of the way they all played,” said Coupeville coach Amy King. “This game they really all came together and moved the ball well. It’s a nice way to go into the winter break.”

While the Laurens spurred the defensive attack, all of the Wolves chipped in with stellar effort.

Kyla (Briscoe) was strong on defense and Allison (Wenzel) and Brisa (Herrera) both had a good defensive night,” King said. “We really did a good job of anticipating the passes.

Tiffany (Briscoe) played tough as always and Skyler (Lawrence) always proves why she belongs on the court, three very strong rebounds and a steal. She made it hard for Orcas to drive like they had hopes to.”

Kellner paced the Wolves with a team-high 12 points, while Rose banged away for eight. Kyla Briscoe (6), Lawrence (4), Grove (4) and Tiffany Briscoe (2) rounded out the scoring attack.

The battlin’ Briscoes combined to pull down 11 boards, led by Tiffany’s six, while Wenzel snatched five caroms and Grove hauled in four rebounds.

Rose pick-pocketed six steals.

Mad Dog puts up stats!!

Madelien Roberts (center) during her senior softball season at CHS. (John Fisken photo)

   Madeline Roberts (center) during her senior softball season at CHS. (John Fisken photo)

Madeline Roberts side venture is going pretty well.

The Coupeville High School grad went to Shoreline Community College to play softball as a scholarship player, but took a slight detour while waiting for spring and joined the womens’ basketball team.

That was a bit of a surprise, as Roberts didn’t play hoops in high school after her freshman year.

But she’s holding her own with the Dolphins, one of five players to see action in all seven of her team’s games.

Roberts is averaging 2.6 points per game (on 7-of-30 shooting), with a high of six against Green River and Everett.

Her best rebounding effort came against Everett, when she hauled down four boards, while she made off with a season-high three steals against both Everett and Olympic.


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