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Kalia Littlejohn

Kalia Littlejohn

The only thing little about Kalia Littlejohn is her last name.

The Coupeville Middle School hoops sensation, one half of the Shake ‘n Bake Sisters with CHS freshman Mia Littlejohn, Kalia brings it big everywhere else.

Big game, on and off the court.

I’m not going to tell you the CMS 8th grader, who celebrates a birthday today, is guaranteed to be an all-star at the high school level or beyond.

Judging middle school athletes is a tricky business, at best, and a lot can happen over the ensuing years.

Growth spurts, changing priorities and on and on.

Some talented youngsters end up deep on the bench as they get older, while some scrubs suddenly morph into super stars in their teen years.

Based on Mia, who has already lettered twice in her freshman year, I think Kalia is probably as sure a shot as we will find.

But, you never know and I don’t want to put too much pressure on her.

Either way, though, I will guarantee you this — Kalia will be one of the most entertaining athletes we’re likely to see in Cow Town over the next few years.

She plays all her sports — volleyball, soccer, track, but, most of all, basketball — at a frantic pace.

Like her sister and their brother, Zepher Loesch, before them, Kalia delivers a jolt of electricity every time she steps up to compete.

What puts her further out in front of the crowd is her personality, which is one part sunny, one part mischievous.

Kalia has yet to meet a camera she can’t pose for, and she and fellow young guns like Lindsey Roberts and Sarah Wright seem primed to claim the throne of lens-lovin’ Wolf legends like Kacie Kiel, Julia Myers and McKayla Bailey.

So, on this, her big day, all my best to the littlest Littlejohn.

I look forward to seeing what you can accomplish in the coming years, Kalia.

Daniel Olson

Daniel Olson poured in eight in his team’s win Saturday. (Olivia Kelley photos)

Proud moms

Proud moms do time in the stands.

Tired? No. On fire? Yes.

With a chunk of its roster having played a soccer game earlier in the day Saturday, the Coupeville 6th grade boys’ SWISH basketball squad wasn’t rested, but it didn’t need to be.

Overcoming a rough-and-tumble Burlington-Edison squad that had two players foul out and its coach and a player earn technicals for profanity, the Wolves romped to a 38-26 win.

The victory capped the regular season, and Coupeville (6-3) will open the playoffs against the same squad next Saturday, Mar. 7 at Skagit Valley College (11:15 AM tip-off).

The Wolves are clicking as the season progresses, and have played their best ball down the stretch.

“Very, very proud of these young men,” said Coupeville coach Pat Kelley. “A pleasure to coach and watch!!!”

Coming on strong after a morning on the soccer pitch, Jake Mitten and Matthew Kelley combined for 25 points and 31 rebounds.

They were matched by Sage Downes and Daniel Olson, who “tore the Tigers open with speed, forcing B-E into a running game to catch up.”

“The Four Horsemen (Downes, Mitten, Olson and Kelley) are something to watch when they are clicking,” Pat Kelley said.

Those four players accounted for all of Coupeville’s scoring, with Kelley banging home three long-range treys on his way to a team-high 14.

Mitten pounded down low for 11, Olson hit for eight and Downes netted five.

Cleaning up the boards with a vengeance, the Wolves snatched 43, including 14 on the offensive end.

Kelley had 17, followed by Mitten (14), Michael Laska (3), Downes (3), Erik Webster (2), Olson (2), Alex Jimenez (1) and Raimee Anderson (1).

Downes made off with a team-high six steals, while Kelley dished out a pair of assists.

Jake

Jake Mitten (far right) and teammates smile for the camera. (Pat Kelley photos)

Aram

Aram Leyva (17) charges up-field.

Coupeville set the table and Oak Harbor responded.

With two of its three goals coming on assists from Coupeville Middle School players, the BU13 North Whidbey Islanders FC01 soccer squad rolled to a 3-1 win over Kent Black Saturday.

Aram Leyva and Matthew Kelley each notched assists, while Leyva hit pay-dirt on a first-half goal only to have it waved off on an off-sides call.

The Wolf duo were joined by Sage Downes, Jake Mitten and Michael Laska, all of whom had shots on goal.

North Whidbey rained down shots from all sides, with a frazzled Kent defense inadvertently heading one shot into its own goal.

With a fired-up Leyva controlling both ends of the field, the Islanders ran wild on a team they had tied 0-0 the last time they played.

It was the start of a busy day for the Wolf players, with four of them (all except Leyva) moving on to play a basketball game in the afternoon.

After a shave and haircut, soccer coach Sean LeVine was discovered hiding underneath.

After a shave and haircut, soccer coach Sean LeVine emerges a new man.

Sean LeVine’s family thanks you all. Their great national tragedy is over.

With his GU19 Whidbey Islanders soccer squad pulling off a 1-0 victory over the Northshore Evolution Saturday, LeVine finally went in for a shave and haircut, emerging as the silky-smooth coach his wife and three daughters sorta, kinda remembered from the past.

LeVine had vowed to let the locks and grizzle grow until the Islanders broke a recent losing streak, and reports of Sasquatch being seen on Whidbey had followed him during his day job as a paramedic.

No longer, and Lydia Peplinski gets the assist.

Well, actually, it was Gillian Crossley who got the assist, setting Peplinski up for the game’s lone score, but you get the point.

Crossley nabbed the ball early in the second half, snatching the ball out of the air then redirecting it to Peplinski, who banged home the goal from 18 yards out.

Her shot exploded like a firecracker, hitting the turf and taking a wicked curve that caused the Northshore goaltender to bobble it, then watch in silent horror as the loose ball skipped merrily into the back of the net.

The Evolution fought hard to try and get a tying goal, but Whidbey’s defense held strong. Despite playing with just one sub, the superbly-conditioned Islanders held up under fire.

“It was quite a battle and our players had to weather an early onslaught, but they held firm and kept them from having any meaningful shots on goal,” LeVine said. “Our stellar conditioning really won this game today.”

Whidbey came dangerously close to blowing the game wide open, with Crossley, Peplinski and Vivien Valles raining down shots from all sides.

Valles notched her second consecutive Player of the Game honors, showcasing hustle from opening whistle to closing whistle.

“That girl is just going 100%, doing what we ask of her, and the extra effort saved a goal for us today when a player broke through our back line and was caught by the speedy Valles, saving our keeper from having a one-on-one,” LeVine said. “She was also in on several opportunities on the offensive side of the pitch.

“I’m really proud of how well she is contributing right now.”

The Islanders will kick off one of its busiest months with a match Saturday, Mar. 7 (3:45 kickoff) at Wildcat Stadium in Oak Harbor.

Whidbey closes out the regular season and starts state cup tournament play at the end of the month.

Bronze, baby!!

(Kristi Etzell photo)

   Whidbey’s warriors claimed bronze at the state tourney. (Photos courtesy Kristi Etzell)

hoop

Lucas Etzell draines a shot.

Coaches David Bishop (left) and Mike Etzell with sons

Coaches David Bishop (left) and Mike Etzell with their sons.

Whidbey to Wenatchee and back, medals in hand.

That’s the trip a group of Special Olympics basketball players from The Rock made this week, as the six-player South Whidbey Wind squad captured bronze at the state tournament.

The Junior/Senior team (for players 21 and under) included Talia Petosa, Andrew Bishop, Zoe Thompson, Lucas Etzell, Amira Jackson and Dylan Matros.

The squad, which draws players from South, Central and North Whidbey, had previously won gold at regionals.

They are coached by Mike Etzell and David Bishop.

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