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Ryanne Knoblich, seen with big bro Gavin, tossed in four points Thursday as Coupeville battled King’s. (Photo by Mariah Knoblich)

So, there’s two ways to look at what went down Thursday in the Coupeville Middle School gym.

In one scenario, we spend a lot of time chastising King’s for being, well, King’s.

A school which claimed it couldn’t field an 8th grade team this season, likely because a number of its players chose AAU or travel ball over school hoops, deliberately dodged Coupeville’s most-seasoned team.

So, while the Wolf 8th grade varsity sat idle, King’s sent one squad against the Wolf 7th graders, and then sent “the rest of its players” out to smack around Coupeville’s JV.

The Knights coach claimed her second team had few players with previous playing experience.

At which point, the off-screen narrator can solemnly be heard to intone … “She lied.”

While there might not have been any AAU-seasoned supernovas present, a surprising number of King’s “second squad” (we’ll say 97.9%) proved able to dribble with both hands, set screens, thread passes between defenders, and demonstrate polished shooting techniques.

All things most of Coupeville’s JV team, which features only one player with SWISH experience, is still trying to master.

So, rah-rah, King’s, take your 46-4 win in which you were still flinging up three-balls and aggressively going for steals in the final minute, and put it in your trophy case.

And next time, step up and play the team you should have been playing, the Wolf varsity squad that was eyeballing you from the stands.

Of course that won’t happen this season, as King’s refusal to play a real 8th grade schedule means the league’s planning went out the door in the week leading up to the season.

With a new master schedule in place, the Wolves and Knights only face once now, and not twice, and frankly, everyone is the better for it.

Coupeville’s 8th grade varsity, denied the chance to challenge private school power King’s, will instead play two games against Sultan, Granite Falls, and Lakewood, and three against South Whidbey.

All public schools willing to play straight-up and not hide behind fibs and roster shuffling.

Give credit to the Wolves JV, which played hard, to a woman, all the way, even while being wildly over-matched.

Ryanne Knoblich, a varsity/JV hybrid who was the only CMS player on the floor with non-school playing experience, scored all four of Coupeville’s points, and all on hard-earned free throws.

Adrian Burrows, Jessenia Camarena, Claire Mayne, Cristina McGrath, Melanie Navarro, Abigail Ramirez, Jessica Ross-McMahon, and Jordyn Rogers played with guts, and should be hailed for their effort.

Camarena and Rogers, in particular, spent much of their time diving and fighting for loose balls, while Burrows yanked down more than her share of rebounds.

The opening game of the day was much closer, as Coupeville came within a final shot of forcing overtime in a 21-19 loss.

The Wolves got contributions from everyone on the floor, but special attention has to be paid to the one-woman wrecking crew that goes by the name Brionna Blouin.

A night after scoring 14 in a season-opening win against Langley, Blouin splashed home all of Coupeville’s points, hitting a trio of three-balls, including a miracle buzzer-beater, before putting on a fourth-quarter show for the ages.

Staying on the court for the entire 28 minutes, while also bringing the ball up on virtually every play with her point guard on vacation, she even earned a nod of approval from take-no-guff lead ref Jim Shulock.

Behind their on-fire gunner, the Wolves twice came back from double-digit deficits.

After falling behind 10-0 to start the game, Blouin netted back-to-back three-balls to end the first quarter and send a surge through the CMS fans.

The first trey was your standard-issue pull-up shot fired on the move, and by standard, I mean standard for an NBA guard, maybe, but not for the other 99% of 7th graders out there.

Blouin, for a young player, already demonstrates an often uncanny ability to create a few inches between herself and her defender in a split second, then loft a high, arching shot.

Not that she needed to create space on the second shot, as King’s defenders were backpedaling as Coupeville raced the clock in a bid to get up court.

One eye monitoring the seconds tick away, the other looking to see if the CHS varsity players working the scorekeeper’s table were watching, Blouin got spectacular.

Pulling off not one, but two pump fakes, she slid under a King’s player, then calmly flicked the ball skyward.

At which point time stopped in the known universe, allowing all gathered to trace the flight of the ball as it rode the rainbow, skipped off the top of the glass, then settled through the net with a happy little sigh.

After that King’s started shadowing Blouin with more than one defender, which paid off with a 9-2 surge over the next two quarters.

Coupeville’s defense, led by strong work on the boards from Reese Wilkinson and Kayla Arnold, and hustle for loose balls by Allison Nastali and Skylar Parker, kept the Knights from getting red-hot, but a 19-8 deficit looked imposing heading into the fourth quarter.

Well, until Blouin went to work.

She pulled off a stop-n-pop jumper, slashed in for a layup, netted a sideline jumper, threw down a turnaround jumper in the paint, then nailed her final three-ball from the top of the arc.

King’s only answer to Blouin’s 11-point eruption was one single, solitary put-back off of an offensive rebound, but it stung for two reasons.

One, it came not on the first rebound, but on what felt like the 437th (reality says it was rebound #5 off the same offensive possession).

Secondly, it gave the Knights the two-point advantage they would need to hang on to the win.

With King’s relentlessly pressuring Blouin, Coupeville went to Parker for a game-tying shot, and she came very close to making it a reality.

Unfortunately, the basket turned unforgiving, letting the ball skid around the rim, before finally spitting it back out.

When King’s players went down the “good game, good game” line at the end of this one, they were saying the words with a fair amount of relief in their voices.

While Blouin captured a lot of attention, and rightfully so, her teammates worked extremely hard to help her get to where she was going.

Erica McGrath pulled down several rebounds and came close to knocking down her own three-ball, while Ava Mitten, Kaitlyn Leavell, and Desi Ramirez buzzed around, creating havoc on defense.

Coupeville’s Nezi Keiper (with ball) battles down low with Langley’s Morgan Batchelor, while getting mugged from behind. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Carolyn Lhamon denies a Langley shot.

Gwen Gustafson remains calm in the eye of the storm, waiting for the play to develop.

Wolf fans come to a consensus. “The snow is melting! The snow is melting!!”

If you can’t see Maddie Georges’ eyes, you have no way of knowing which way she’s about to pass.

Ema Smith lays down the law. “The clock starts when I say it starts, Skippy.”

Helene Lhamon implores the Wolves to make a defensive stop. Spoiler alert: they did.

Ryanne Knoblich fires a pass into the key during Coupeville’s come-from-behind win.

Finally a break in the snow and ice.

That gave the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams a chance to play Wednesday, while also allowing paparazzi John Fisken to check and see if his cameras had unfrozen.

They had, and the pics above, which capture action from the 8th grade varsity game, are courtesy him.

To see everything Fisken shot, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Basketball-2018-2019-boys-and-girls/MSGBB-2019-02-13-vs-South-Whidbey/

And, when you go, remember any purchases help fund scholarships for CHS senior student/athletes.

“Get that money!!” Lincoln Kelley badly wants you to collect that sweet, sweet cash. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Through three different leagues, John Fisken has been handing financial aid to hard-working Coupeville High School seniors.

The photo whiz kid is offering cash to two graduating student/athletes for a sixth year, so, if you qualify, don’t forget to apply by the April 8 cutoff.

Applications are available in the CHS counseling office.

Requirements for the scholarships:

*Must have participated in at least two sports for all four years of high school.

Cheer counts as a sport, but just one sport. Doing fall and winter cheer doesn’t give you two sports – you would need a second sport to go along with cheer.

*Must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.

*Must NOT be getting any type of athletic scholarship from any college.

*Must submit a 500-word essay, “How Sports Made Me A Better Person.

And a final PS – transfer students who meet the basic requirements, but did not spend all four years at CHS, are eligible.

“Mad Dog” on the prowl. Maddie Georges, seen here last season, scored nine of her 14 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday as the CMS 8th graders roared back to stun visiting Langley. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

For teams which hadn’t been in a gym for awhile, they played pretty darn good.

Finally hosting their season openers Wednesday, after snow and ice caused numerous cancelled games and practices, both Coupeville Middle School varsity girls basketball teams rallied to overcome deficits and KO visiting Langley.

How the afternoon played out:

 

8th grade varsity:

If you left early, the final score might surprise you.

Down by 15 points in the second quarter, and still trailing by eight midway through the fourth, Coupeville closed the game on a 15-1 run to stun Langley 35-29.

Call it good coaching by Alex Evans, or a stubborn desire to win ingrained in battle-hardened players like his lil’ sister, Maddie Georges, who scored nine of her 14 points in the final eight minutes.

Either way, a message was sent – we will beat you, today, tomorrow, any day, any way.

In the early moments of the game, however, it might have seemed like a long shot, as the visitors came out ramped up.

Back-to-back three-balls, paired up with two nice put-backs off of offensive rebounds by Morgan Batchelor sent Langley on a 14-0 run in the first quarter.

That erased an early 3-2 Wolf advantage, keyed by Alita Blouin feeding Nezi Keiper for a bang-bang bucket, and sent a shiver through Wolf fans jammed into a sweaty gym.

Keiper finally broke the run, rolling hard to the hoop for a bucket, this time on a pass from Hayley Fiedler, but the damage was done.

It momentarily got worse in the second quarter, as the Cougars stretched their lead all the way out to 20-5.

It was then the Wolves began to clamp down on defense, forcing miss after miss, and slowly, ever so surely, crawling their way back into the game.

Two buckets from Carolyn Lhamon, packaged around the low-to-the-ground Blouin sneaking through the big trees to slap home a layup, pulled CMS back within 20-11 at the half.

Switching gears, the Wolves, who had hit just a single free throw in the first half, suddenly started forcing play, driving repeatedly at the hoop and daring the Cougars to whack them.

It worked, and how, as Coupeville repeatedly stopped the clock, thanks to suddenly-consistent referee whistles, then drained their freebies – hitting 14 charity shots down the stretch.

But while they got as close as five points early in the fourth, the Wolves couldn’t seem to get over the hump.

Langley notched a freebie of its own, then converted another offensive rebound into a bucket, and seemed to be set, up 28-20.

To which “Mad Dog” said, “Not in my gym.”

A Georges free throw, followed by big buckets in the paint from Keiper and Lhamon, started the game-changing 15-1 run, and, once it started, there was nowhere to hide for the Cougars.

Langley couldn’t hit a single field goal over the final six minutes-plus of the game, as its ball-handlers were hounded relentlessly by Georges, Blouin, and Gwen Gustafson.

If anything got past the pesky trio, Wolf enforcers Lhamon and Keiper promptly blew it right back out of the paint, making Evans do a happy dance in his coach’s box.

A steal and breakaway bucket by Georges was huge, then the Wolves clinched the game at the line, scoring the final eight points on charity shots.

Georges drained five of those, while Gustafson rippled the net for two, and Keiper capped things by splashing home a final heave.

Coupeville spread its offense out, getting points from six of nine players.

With Georges going off for 14, Keiper (9) and Lhamon (7) combined for 16.

Blouin (2), Gustafson (2), and Ryanne Knoblich (1) rounded out the attack, with Fiedler, Jordyn Rogers, and Jill Prince also seeing key floor time.

 

7th/8th JV:

Coupeville’s lone loss on opening day came down to the wire, with Langley slipping home the tying and winning buckets in the final moments to claim a 16-14 win.

A game which saw 16 points scored in the opening quarter, including a bucket which dropped through at the buzzer, later turned into a defensive war of attrition.

Adrian Burrows had the hot hand early for the Wolves, banking home a pair of jumpers, including one immediately after snatching the ball off a successful opening tip by Jessenia Camarena.

Toss in a power move down low for a bucket by the deceptively-strong Ryanne Knoblich and a sideline jumper from Camarena, and CMS was in control in the first eight minutes.

The play of the quarter, and maybe the game, came when an inbound pass from under the Wolf basket went long, way long, forcing Trinity McGee to race almost the length of the court to corral the wayward missile.

Saving the runaway ball a few steps from going out of bounds at the other end of the court, she spun, charged back up the right side, then slashed through the backpedaling defenders.

McGee’s hand shot skyward, the ball slapped glass and then happily plunked through the net, silencing the Langley cheering section in a flash.

The Cougar faithful did find something to cheer for however, as one of their guards desperation-heaved the ball skywards while rolling under her bucket, beating the odds and the buzzer.

That cut the margin back to 10-6, and Langley eventually knotted things up at 12-12 by the time the two squads headed to the halftime locker room.

While the first half featured some sterling baskets and a fair amount of offense, neither team could hit much of anything after the break.

McGee slapped home the only bucket of the third quarter, on a rolling run at the basket, but the Wolves went scoreless in the fourth.

Langley couldn’t do much better, failing to score for the first 13 minutes of the 16-minute second half.

But, when it mattered, the Cougars threw up a pair of prayers to the basketball gods, and had them answered.

The first one tied the game up with three minutes to play, and the second one a minute later turned out to be the game-winner.

Burrows and McGee paced the Wolf attack with four points apiece, while Knoblich, Jordyn Rogers, and Camarena added a bucket each.

Jill Prince, Claire Mayne, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Abigail Ramirez, Melanie Navarro, Jesse Ross-McMahon and Cristina McGrath rounded out the roster, with Mayne doing especially well as a plucky point guard.

 

7th grade varsity:

Brionna Blouin came to play.

Making her middle school debut, the SWISH-seasoned hoops gunner rattled the rim for 14 points, including seven in a decisive fourth quarter, as Coupeville rallied for an 18-16 win.

Blouin carried the Wolf offense in the first half, raining down a three-ball en route to outscoring Langley 7-6 by herself.

A big blocked shot from Kayla Arnold in the late moments of the half kept the visitors on their heels, but Langley re-found its groove in the third quarter.

Three straight buckets to open the second half staked the Cougars to their biggest lead of the night at 12-7, but then Blouin’s teammates came up big time.

Reese Wilkinson, who was a force on the boards all game, knocked down a beautiful bank shot from the top of the key to start things.

Hot on her heels came Arnold, who pulled in a nice pass from Wilkinson, which split a pair of defenders, then lofted in a short jumper in the paint.

Langley, desperate for some good news, hit a pull-up jumper to stretch the lead back out to 14-11 heading into the fourth, but then it was Blouin time.

She pulled off the same move on back-to-back trips down court, faking her defender out of her shoes before spinning around the corner for a high, arching layup.

Then, with the Wolves back in the lead, Blouin rained down her second three-ball of the game, but this time she banked the ball off the glass while shooting from a seemingly impossible angle.

That crushed Langley’s spirit enough that, even after netting a late bucket to cut the lead to two, the Cougars failed to foul Blouin as the final seconds of the clock ticked away and she dribbled in place.

Along with the three Wolves who scored, Allison Nastali, Desi Ramirez, Ava Mitten, Jackie Contreras, Skylar Parker, and Erica McGrath rounded out the opening day roster for coach Megan Smith.

Tim Quenzer (30) is the only player in CHS basketball history to score varsity points while repping a last name that starts with Q.

Kari Iverson stands alone.

There have been 147 seasons of basketball played at Coupeville High School – 102 by the boys and 45 by the girls, at least in the post-Title IX world – and, in that time, only one player with a last name starting with “I” has scored a point at the varsity level.

Iverson tossed in eight points across two seasons, scoring four in each of her two varsity seasons (1990-91 and 1991-92), to claim the honor.

She would have likely had more, but missed her senior season in 92-93 after a bad car accident.

That tidbit is just one of many I found as I wiled away some of my Snowmageddon time by going through basketball scoring records in a bid to discover who were the highest scoring players by last name.

Now, I will admit, my record-collecting isn’t finished … yet.

I have virtually complete scoring totals for 44 of the 45 seasons of girls basketball. The one to elude me, so far, is the debut team in 1974-1975.

The Whidbey News-Times of the day (shamefully) had nothing to say about that season, and the school’s yearbook has photos, but no scoring totals.

But I do have a roster, and there’s no “I” players to be found.

With boys basketball, I can claim to be on fairly solid ground with 69 of 102 seasons. And with the way records have generally been allowed to blow free in the breeze at CHS, that’s saying something.

As I piece things together, I have individual scoring totals for every season from 1954-1955 to today, but pre-’50s scoring marks have been tough to uncover.

Now, I can tell you Roy Armstrong topped Coupeville with 80 points during the 1924-1925 season, and Banky Fisher edged out Gaylord Stidham 44-41 for the 1939-1940 scoring title.

But, other than success with scattered seasons — the Bruzas brothers, Joe (71) and Stanley (48) combined to tally 119 of 186 points scored in 1926-1927, in case you were wondering — uncovering the early years of Wolf basketball remains my Raiders of the Lost Ark-style adventure.

If there’s a holy grail, it’s the 1953-1954 boys season.

The yearbook had a roster, but no scoring totals, preventing me from cementing the status of Jack Elzinga and Tom Sahli.

With Sahli, I know he scored 310 points in 1952-1953, but am missing his totals for 1951-1952 and 1953-1954.

Elzinga is even more tantalizing, as I know he rattled the rims for 337 in 1954-1955 and another 309 in 1955-1956.

That two-year total of 646 points puts “The Zinger” in 25th place on the all-time Wolf boys scoring chart, and yet, how high is he really?

Did he score 100 points in what I presume was his sophomore season? If so, he catapults up to #16. Or, if he notched 222 or more, he’s cracked the top 10.

Of course, being his first season on varsity, Elzinga’s scoring total might be much lower than his other two years. Even so, it’s frustrating to not be able to firmly place him in the pantheon.

But, for now, we go with what we have.

And what we have says there’s never been a CHS player, girls or boy, who scored at the varsity level while repping a last name starting with U or X.

There’s been one guy upholding the honor of Q, as Tim Quenzer scorched the nets for 202 points during the 1969-1970 campaign, but no Q girls.

Top it off with the odd twist of no boy with a last name starting with I, and no girl with one starting with N or Z.

The biggest surprise for me is N, but, maybe it shouldn’t have been, as only five boys — Ron Naddy, Frank Nelson, Dan Nieder, Bill Nienhuis, and Chad Nixon — check in on that side of the ledger.

Maybe N isn’t as common as I thought.

At the least, N, on the boys side, comes in ahead of Z (John Zimmerman and Denny, Jerry, and Larry Zylstra) and Y (Jim YakeCurt and Tim Youderian).

Other factoids I found:

E and O are the only letters where the leading scorers are related.

O offers up the sister/brother combo of Kendra and Kramer O’Keefe (uncle Randy, who played when the family still went by Keefe, leads the K boys) while E gives us Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby and dad Wade Ellsworth.

Wade’s spot is hanging by a thread, though, as he’s a mere 13 points up on Elzinga (659-646), with “The Zinger’s” missing season still lurking out there somewhere in the mists of time.

Megan Smith and Bill Riley are the highest-scoring players who are NOT also the highest-scoring players with a last name starting with their letter.

Riley is #6 on the boys all-time chart with 934 points, but #4 Jeff Rhubottom (1012) edges him out for R bragging rights.

Smith (1042) sits even higher, at #4 for the girls program, but #3 Makana Stone (1158) is a rung above her, while also carrying an S last name.

Best letter to start your last name with if you want to be a top-10 career scorer? S.

Smith, Makana Stone, Jeff Stone (tied for #1), and Brad Sherman (#8) pull their initial highest, edging out B, which is brought to the dance by Mike Bagby (tied for #1), Zenovia Barron (#2), and Lexie Black (#8).

The most productive letter? K.

Brianne King (1549) and Randy Keefe (1088) combine for 2,637 points, topping the 2,407 flung up by B (Zenovia Barron – 1270 and Mike Bagby – 1137) and the 2295 offered by S (Makana Stone – 1158 and Jeff Stone – 1137).

And, last but certainly not least, is the tightest race, which played out among boys whose last names start with T.

Eight have broken 100, three have topped 200, but the title came down between a duo who hit for 300+.

Charlie Tessaro tossed in 93 points in 1984-1985, then led his squad with 235 the next season, finishing with 328 for his career.

Which I thought would be tops, but it wasn’t.

Aaron Trumbull never reached the heights Tessaro did in 85-86, but he benefited from being a rock-solid four-year varsity vet from 2011-2012 to 2014-2015.

The kind of player who did everything – rebound, defend, set screens for the big gunners – he also proved to be a solid backup scoring option.

From six points as a freshman, Trumbull jumped to 106 as a sophomore (#3 on the team), 70 as a junior, then 148 (#2 on the team) during his senior season.

His final basket gave him 330 points, edging Tessaro in the closest race I could find.

 

CHS career scoring leaders by last name:

 

A – Amanda Allmer (331), Mitch Aparicio (195)

B – Zenovia Barron (1270), Mike Bagby (1137)

C – Jen Canfield (497), Mike Criscuola (979)

D – Vanessa Davis (448), Randy Duggan (552)

E – Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby (892), Wade Ellsworth (659)

F – Amanda Fabrizi (299), Foster Faris (668)

G – Marlene Grasser (574), Arik Garthwaite (867)

H – Kristan Hurlburt (598), Hunter Hammer (755)

I – Kari Iverson (8), (no boy)

J – Annette Jameson (223), Bill Jarrell (855)

K – Brianne King (1549), Randy Keefe (1088)

L – Tina Lyness (594), David Lortz (502)

M – Judy Marti (545), Jason McFadyen (654)

N – (no girl), Dan Nieder (729)

O – Kendra O’Keefe (244), Kramer O’Keefe (636)

P – Ann Pettit (932), Pete Petrov (917)

Q – (no girl), Tim Quenzer (202)

R – Lindsey Roberts (448), Jeff Rhubottom (1012)

S – Makana Stone (1158), Jeff Stone (1137)

T – Tracy Taylor (350), Aaron Trumbull (330)

U – (no girl or boy)

V – Emily Vracin (467), Michael Vaughan (337)

W – Maureen Wetmore (438), Steve Whitney (730)

X – (no girl or boy)

Y – Emily Young (149), Jim Yake (331)

Z – (no girl), Denny Zylstra (538)