(Clipping courtesy Keith Jameson)

   On this very day, 37 years ago, Coupeville shocked King’s and their all-world freshman to win the Cascade League hoops title. (Clipping courtesy Keith Jameson)

You know those championship banners that DON’T hang in Coupeville High School’s gym?

One of them was literally won on this very day.

Yep, 37 years ago, on Feb. 9, 1979, Steve Whitney hit a soft 16-foot jumper, off a pass from Keith Jameson, to lift the CHS boys hoops squad to a 55-53 win over King’s Garden.

The victory over the private school power — these days known simply as King’s — and their all-world freshman Joe Buchanan, clinched the Cascade League title for Coupeville.

It also kicked off a wild postseason that saw the Wolves advance all the way to the state tourney, where they beat Montesano 62-51 in the middle of three games.

That win matched the 1975-1976 Wolves and remains one of only two times that a Coupeville boys hoops squad has won a game at the big dance.

But first they had to get past their biggest nemesis, King’s.

They did so by surviving Buchanan, a legendary prep athlete who played two years at King’s and two at O’Dea, before suiting up in college at Notre Dame.

When he chose the Fighting Irish, he passed up on college scholarships from Syracuse and Duke, who had just hired a new coach named Mike Krzyzewski, who badly wanted the guy they called Jo-Jo.

Coach K survived the snub, giving Buchanan’s intended scholarship to future NBA star Johnny Dawkins and setting off on a career that has seen five NCAA titles, two Olympic gold medals and the college record for wins by a D-1 coach.

Buchanan, on the other hand, had a rougher time after high school.

Injuries and illness (a mysterious spinal virus) hampered his high school career and ended his hoops career prematurely, just shy of the NBA glory that once seemed to be his birthright.

That night against Coupeville, though, he was electrifying, according to all accounts, scoring 18 and putting King’s in position to win.

But, he was also a freshman, and the Wolves were a veteran, wily bunch ready to take advantage of any mistakes he made.

Trailing 51-49 with 2:15 to play (at a time when there was no shot clock in high school ball), Coupeville opted not to foul, but to wait for King’s freshman ball-hander to crack under the strain of trying to run the clock out.

And he did, throwing away a pass that Whitney snatched out of the air and took end-to-end for a game-tying layup.

Buchanan answered by roaring right back down-court, only to see his jumper catch rim and bounce off into the hands of Whitney, who was everywhere as usual.

Coupeville, unlike King’s, proved very adept at milking the clock, running 60 of the game’s remaining 68 seconds off the clock before Whitney whirled and tickled the twines with a shot that caught nothing but net.

The Knights had one final chance, but Roy Marti knocked the ball away and teammate Joe Whitney pulled the loose ball in and cradled it for dear life.

The come-from-behind win featured five Wolves scoring, with Steve Whitney (18), Wade Ellsworth (17) and Marti (14) hitting for double figures.

Jameson, who wheeled and dealed setting up the Wolf offense and rebounding ace Joe Whitney each banged home a bucket, while Coupeville out-rebounded King’s 39-20.

Also on that squad? Current Coupeville School Board big wig Chris Chan.

Ellsworth, who didn’t know at the time he would one day have two daughters (April and Ashley) who would follow in his footsteps as Wolf athletic stars, was also involved in a small, but very important moment.

With King’s up 38-37 going into the fourth, King’s coach Larry Skogstad got whistled for a technical during the break between quarters.

Ellsworth, who himself picked up three technical fouls in a game against Concrete earlier that season, nailed both ensuing free-throws, points which turned out to be huge later on.

37 years later, to the day, no championship banner hangs in the CHS gym (yet…), but let’s take a moment to remember a night when the Wolves stood on top of the basketball world.

Football (Photos courtesy Shelli Trumbull)

   Wolf football players didn’t need face masks in the ’50s. They might have liked them … but they didn’t need them. (Photos courtesy Shelli Trumbull)


   To everyone who thought the guys wore short shorts in the ’80s, I give you the “I can’t breath” fashion line.


   Ah, when baseball players showed off their socks, instead of today’s style of pulling your pants all the way down so you look like you’re wearing pajamas.


Farm boys with wooden rackets. Let the butt-whuppin’ commence, city boys.

It was a different time.

Coupeville High School sports in the early 1950s featured no face masks in football, really short shorts in basketball and wooden rackets in tennis, among other things.

Plus, not a single female athlete to be seen in those days.

While some of the changes in the last 65-70 years have been positive, I still miss the days when baseball players hiked up their pants and looked like baseball players, not guys in pajamas at a sleep-over.

The photos above, which capture an early generation of Wolf heroes — a lot of Sherman, Libbey and Engle sprinkled throughout — come to us courtesy of CHS grad Shelli (Huff) Trumbull.

While her own family represents one of the strong tendrils shooting off from the Wolf Nation tree, she married into another robust one, as well.

Father-in-law Bill Trumbull (seen in these pics) was Class of ’55, while husband Brad (’88) and son Aaron (’15) have all starred while pulling on the red and white.

“60 years of Trumbull men playing varsity sports at CHS. Some of my favorite men!,” she said with a huge smile.

Destination: Yakima!!

David King lays down some wisdom to his high-flying Wolf girls squad. (John Fisken photos)

   David King lays down some wisdom to his high-flying Wolf girls squad. (John Fisken photos)

JJ Johnson

JJ Johnson (far left) and his teammates plot strategy.

The path is there. You just have to follow it.

With the regular season officially in the books, the Coupeville High School basketball squads stand on the precipice of the postseason, the road to the Yakima SunDome and the state tourney stretching out in front of them.

The Wolf girls (15-4), having won their second consecutive 1A Olympic League title, sit a fair bit closer than the CHS boys (9-10), but both squads have their fates in their own hands.

For the girls, it will take two wins in three games to get to state, while the boys will need four victories, and have little margin for error in the early going.

As the #3 Olympic League seed, the boys will have to win back-to-back loser-out games to get to the double-elimination portion of districts.

First up is a home playoff rumble Thursday (7 PM tip) with Bellevue Christian (8-10), a squad they beat 53-50 on the road in the first weeks of the regular season.

Win again and they travel to Cascade Christian (9-8) Saturday.

Put together back-to-back victories and they’ll still need at least one win in two road games between Feb. 16-20 to advance to regionals, which is a loser-out game — with the victor punching their ticket to the eight-team state tourney.

The girls, having earned the #1 seed, already sit in the double-elimination portion of the districts brackets and are guaranteed at least two playoff games.

Coupeville’s first opponent will be one of three teams — Charles Wright (13-5), Port Townsend (7-12) or Vashon Island (7-13) — and that game will be at a neutral site (Sumner High School) Feb. 17.

Win and they’re regional-bound, with a spot in the district championship game Feb. 20 at Foss High School first, for seeding purposes mainly.

Lose their opener, and the Wolf girls return to Sumner Feb. 19 for a loser-out 3rd place game.

Advance to regionals through either route and the girls will get a winner-take-all game for the program’s first trip to state since the 2005-2006 season.

The Wolf boys last went to state in 1987-1988.

Time to make some new history.

To see the district brackets (and check my math), pop over to:

Girls: http://www.cascadeathletics.com/tournament.php?act=view&league=2&page=1&school=0&sport=12&tournament_id=1767

Boys: http://www.cascadeathletics.com/tournament.php?act=view&league=2&page=1&school=0&sport=3&tournament_id=1814

Coupeville is chomping through the 1A Olympic League the same way Luke Merriman eats hot dogs -- in big bites. (John Fisken photo)

   Coupeville is chomping through the 1A Olympic League the same way Luke Merriman eats hot dogs — in big bites. (John Fisken photo)

We are Darth Vader. At least for the moment.

Sparked by a top-drawer basketball season, Coupeville High School has slid past Klahowya to become the true rulers of the 1A Olympic League.

How is this possible? Let me break it down for you.

With the regular season done for basketball, when you look at the six varsity sports in which Coupeville has competed in so far during the 2015-2016 school year (four in the fall, two in the winter), the Wolves have won more games against league opponents than their rivals.

Now, we’re only counting official “league” games, and not the weird “non-league” volleyball and soccer matches played against league foes to fill out schedules in the fall.

Those games didn’t count in the official league standings, so they don’t count here.

So, with spring still ahead of us, and four more team sports to decide (baseball, softball, boys soccer and girls tennis), here’s where the league win tallies stand right now:

Coupeville (25)
Klahowya (23)
Port Townsend (18)
Chimacum (13)

The Wolves are also tied with Klahowya with two league titles, having retained their girls basketball top dog status while stealing boys tennis away from the Eagles.

For the sixth-smallest 1A school to be up on the second-biggest is an accomplishment, and Coupeville has done it so far by being spectacular in one sport, solid in almost every one, and, during their one weak season, not taking a zero.

The Wolves are the only school not to have a win-less league season in at least one sport this year.

Broken down by sports, the wins:

Coupeville — girls basketball (9), boys tennis (4), boys basketball (4), girls soccer (4), volleyball (3), football (1)
Klahowya — VB (6), girls soccer (6), girls BB (4), FB (4), boys tennis (3), boys BB (0)
Port Townsend — boys BB (7), FB (6), girls BB (4), girls soccer (1), VB (0), boys tennis (0)
Chimacum — boys BB (7), VB (3), FB (1), girls soccer (1), girls BB (1), boys tennis (0)

Last year, in the first go-round for the four-team league, Klahowya finished with 52 wins to Coupeville’s 40, while Chimacum (23) and Port Townsend (20) brought up the rear.

The Eagles won five titles in 2014-2015, to two each for Coupeville and Chimacum and one for the RedHawks.

With five of the six league champs having repeated so far, thanks to Chimacum’s miracle finish in boys’ basketball, where they were a basket away from losing their title, only to rally for four straight wins, that would seem to indicate a possible late surge ahead for Klahowya.

The Eagles are the defending champs in baseball and boys soccer.

But I wouldn’t count out Coupeville.

The Wolves are the defending league champs in girls tennis, and should return almost their entire squad.

And, in softball, where Chimacum slid in to snatch a title a year ago, the Wolves will be reuniting the squad which stormed to an undefeated season and a trip to state at the little league level two seasons ago.

With big bopper freshmen Veronica Crownover and Sarah Wright (and new CHS coach Kevin McGranahan) once again teaming with Hope Lodell, Lauren Rose, Katrina McGranahan and Co., the Wolf softball squad could be the surprise team of the spring.

As the next three months play out, the mythical league win title is very much up for grabs.

For the moment, though, if you want to know where the power resides, look no further than Cow Town.

Jordan Ford (John Fisken photos)

Jordan Ford (5) is tied for the team lead in scoring. (John Fisken photos)

Lauren Rose knocked down her first varsity bucket Saturday.

Lauren “Mouse” Rose knocked down her first varsity bucket Saturday.

Defense wins titles. Offense gets page hits.

Plus, while I don’t have any stat sheets listing all the rebounds, steals and blocked shots for the Coupeville High School varsity squads, I have kept a fairly-complete tally of points.

So, as we head into the district tourney, with the Wolf girls (15-4) a #1 seed and the boys (9-10) a #3 seed, here are the regular season scoring totals.


Makana Stone — 368
Mia Littlejohn — 124
Kailey Kellner — 119
Tiffany Briscoe — 57
Lindsey Roberts — 50
Lauren Grove — 51
Kyla Briscoe — 17
Allison Wenzel — 12
Skyler Lawrence — 6
Lauren Rose — 2

And, before we get to the Wolf boys, a quick look at where Stone’s current output places her in CHS girls basketball single-season scoring history.

1) Brianne King (2000-2001) 446 points/24 games/18.6 avg
2) King (2002-2003) 442/28/15.8
3) King (2001-2002) 386/28/13.8
4) Zenovia Barron (1996-1997) 378/23/16.4
5) Barron (1997-1998) 376/22/17.1
6) Makana Stone (2015-2016) 368/19/19.4

And on to the guys, where a three-man battle for the top continues.


Jordan Ford — 208
Wiley Hesselgrave — 208
Risen Johnson — 200
Hunter Smith — 116
Gabe Wynn — 80
JJ Johnson — 68
DeAndre Mitchell — 54
Ryan Griggs — 50
Dante Mitchell — 32
Jared Helmstadter — 20
Desmond Bell — 11


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