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Coupeville’s Makana Stone scored 11 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter Saturday. (Photo property Loughborough University)

Two wins from a title.

With their American assassin coming up big in the fourth quarter Saturday, Loughborough University held off plucky Reading 72-63 in the quarterfinals of England’s Women’s National Basketball League playoffs.

Coupeville grad Makana Stone erupted for 11 of her 19 points in the final frame, spurring the Riders from a seven-point deficit.

With the win, Loughborough, which entered the eight-team, single-elimination WNBL playoffs as the #3 seed, gets to 13-5 on the season.

The victory avenges a regular season loss to Reading in April, and sends the Riders on to a semifinal clash with #2 seed CoLA Southwark next Saturday, May 22.

Regular-season champ Ipswich faces off with #5 Nottingham Trent in the other final-four matchup.

In the buildup to the playoffs, Reading and Loughborough split a pair of regular season games, and through three quarters Saturday the Rockets looked primed to pull off a postseason upset.

A game which had been knotted 12-12 after one, then 32-30 in favor of the Riders at the half, took a disastrous turn in the third frame.

Reading jumped on Loughborough, ripping off a 15-6 run to carry a 45-38 advantage into the fourth.

But Stone and her British teammates never flinched, calmly fighting back while closing the game on a torrid 24-8 tear.

Coupeville’s progeny kicked things off by making off with a steal, then slapping home a breakaway bucket to open the period, and the fuse was lit.

Loughborough got all the way back to 45-45, then claimed the lead for good at 48-47 when Katie Januszewska rippled the net on a three-ball with a tick over seven minutes to play.

Reading hung around for a bit more, staying within 52-51 at the five-minute mark, but Stone promptly sliced and diced the Rockets defense for another layup to blunt the rally.

The former Wolf, who also snatched nine rebounds and pilfered three steals, held her team together even as they shot just 28% from the floor, hitting just 21 of 74 attempts.

Stone hit 50% of her field goal tries (6-12), and was a dead-eye 7-9 at the free-throw line, on a day when none of her teammates topped 33% from the floor.

Januszewska did match Stone’s 19-point effort, with Molly James tossing in 10.

On the season, Stone, who is nominated for the WNBL’s Player of the Year, Team of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year honors, has 259 points in 16 games.

She also has 224 rebounds, 33 assists, 57 steals, and eight blocked shots.

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Coupeville’s Makana Stone continues to tear up the British hardwood. (Photo property Loughborough University)

It’s an honor just to be nominated.

Or so says everyone as they wait with bated breath, hoping to be a winner.

Coupeville basketball fans have a stake in England’s Women’s National Basketball League awards season, which begins May 24.

That’s because Wolf grad Makana Stone is a nominee for Player of the Year, Team of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year.

The Loughborough University whirlwind has the third-best adjusted efficiency rating (43.9) of the 26 players up for Player of the Year.

She trails just Gonzaga signee Esther Little (55.5) and Harriet Welham (46.7), both of league champ Ipswich.

The top five vote getters in Player of the Year balloting will make up the WNBL Team of the Year.

Stone is also up for Defensive Player of the Year, one of 16 nominees in that category.

The former Wolf is also ranked #3 in that field, with her blocked shots plus steals (4.4 per game) trailing just Reading’s Sitota Gines Espinosa (5.9) and Little (5.6).

Loughbrough, which is 12-5 on the season, 12-3 with Stone in the lineup, faces off with Reading Saturday in the WNBL quarterfinals.

Other awards, none of which Stone is eligible for, include the British Team of the Year, the Young (U19) Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Best Streaming.

The daughter of Josh and Eileen Stone, and lil’ sister of Andre, Makana is a graduate of Whitman College, where she put together one of the best runs in the school’s distinguished history of women’s basketball.

Heading into the playoffs, she has 240 points, 215 rebounds, 32 assists, 54 steals, and eight blocks in a Loughborough uniform.

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Makana Stone nets another honor. (Photo property FocusHoops).

She’s bona fide.

Coupeville grad Makana Stone was named to the National Basketball League Team of the Week Tuesday, the ninth time she’s received the honor this season.

The former Wolf, who’s playing for Loughborough University in England, was honored for her play Saturday in the regular-season finale, when she went for 20 points, 14 rebounds, and three assists in a 75-73 win over Nottingham Trent.

Stone netted three free throws in the final 12 seconds to lift the Riders to the come-from-behind win.

Loughborough, which is 12-5 overall, 12-3 with their American assassin in the lineup, open the single-elimination, eight-team NBL playoffs with a home clash against Reading May 15.

On the season, Stone sits with 240 points, 215 rebounds, 32 assists, 54 steals, and eight blocked shots.

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Makana Stone went for 20 points and 14 rebounds Saturday, icing a win with four free throws in the final seconds. (Photo property Loughborough University)

Ice water in those veins.

Coupeville’s Makana Stone drained three free throws in the final 12 seconds Saturday in England, lifting the Loughborough University women’s basketball team to a thrilling 75-73 win over Nottingham Trent.

Trailing by a point, the Riders forced a turnover down low as the clock ticked down, with their American assassin fouled in the ensuing scrum.

Stone calmly drained both ends of the one-and-one to put Loughborough up 74-73, then came back around to hit another freebie after a technical foul on Nottingham’s coaching staff with just 2.8 seconds to play.

Nottingham gunner Mady Burdett, who played alongside Stone for four spectacular seasons at Whitman College, had a three-ball from the corner to win the game at the buzzer, but the ball refused to stay in the basket.

With the win, Loughborough finishes the regular season at 12-5 overall, 12-3 with Stone in the lineup, and clinches a top-three finish in the 10-team National Basketball League.

The Riders will be the league’s #2 seed headed into the playoffs, unless CoLA Southwark sweeps a pair of games this weekend.

The top eight squads, led by league champs Ipswich, begin the single-elimination playoffs next Saturday, May 15.

The battle against Nottingham Trent was a furious one, with neither squad able to pull away.

Loughborough, riding an eight-point opening quarter from Stone, led 20-15 at the first break, but was clinging to just a 34-33 advantage when halftime rolled around.

The Riders stretched their lead out, but just slightly, at 53-51 headed into the fourth quarter, and things got dicey from there.

With Stone strapped to the bench due to foul trouble, Nottingham claimed the lead at 61-60 with five-and-a-half minutes to play, and there were six lead changes over the next five minutes.

Coupeville’s progeny bounded back into the game, slapping home a layup to stake Loughborough to a 68-67 lead at the 2:30 mark.

But her former Whitman running mate was on fire, as Burdett drained a pair of three-balls to push Nottingham up 73-68.

Loughborough’s defense proved to be its biggest weapon down the stretch, with the Riders holding Nottingham scoreless over the game’s final 77 seconds.

Robyn Ainge singed the nets for a long trey to get the Riders back within a bucket, before Stone scored the game’s final four points at the charity stripe.

The former Wolf finished with a team-high 20 points (Burdett rattled the rim for 21) and snagged a game-best 14 rebounds to go with three assists and a steal.

Katie Januszewska dropped in 16 points for the Riders, while Ainge finished with 13.

On the season Stone sits with 240 points, 215 rebounds, 32 assists, 54 steals, and eight blocked shots.

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It’s been a really long school year. Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith (left) is not here for your shenanigans. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Basketball, the best high school sport of them all, is almost here.

Practice begins this coming Monday, May 10, with Coupeville’s girls and boys teams starting pandemic-shortened 12-game seasons May 18.

But, with the arrival of hoops, comes the strictest set of Age of Coronavirus guidelines for fans this school year.

Northwest 2B/1B League Athletic Directors have decided no away fans will be allowed at any games, with no exceptions.

Further, the only way for home fans to see games will be if they have an in with a current player.

In order to assure the number of people in the gym meets Washington State Department of Health guidelines, each Wolf player will receive four tickets per home game to distribute to family and friends.

This will apply to five of six home games — Concrete (May 25), La Conner (May 27), Mount Vernon Christian (June 3), Friday Harbor (June 8), and Senior Night against Darrington (June 17).

Coupeville’s home game May 20 against Orcas Island is not open to fans of any kind, as the Vikings have requested that concession from all other NWL schools.

Tickets will be distributed the day prior to a game, and NO FAN will be admitted without a ticket.

Once inside, fans are required to follow all protocols and guidelines as defined by the Coupeville School District, Island County Health, Washington State Health Department, and the Washington State Interscholastic Athletic Association.

They are as follows:

**No outside food; water in a bottle/container is allowed.

**Masks must be worn AT ALL TIMES (other when taking a drink).

**Family groups may sit together, but must maintain a minimum of six-feet of distance from other groups/fans.

**Sitting areas in the gyms will be marked by tape/cones and MUST be followed.

If a row has a cone/X on it, that row is NOT to be sat in.

Tape also shows six-feet of distance throughout the stands.

**Any arguing, harassing, or non-compliance by a spectator towards CHS workers/coaches will result in the immediate discontinuation of ALL fans to attend, and the school will move to streaming games only.

 

Links to stream games:

Concrete — Concrete School District – YouTube

Coupeville — Coupeville High School – Coupeville, WA (nfhsnetwork.com)

Darrington — Justgame Web Services (justagamelive.com)

Friday Harbor — Friday Harbor Tiny Radio | Facebook

La Conner — La Conner Athletics Alpha Channel – YouTube

MVC — Mount Vernon Christian School – Mount Vernon, WA (nfhsnetwork.com)

Orcas Island — Orcas Island Booster Club | Facebook

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