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The season is never truly complete until you get some pizza. (Photo courtesy Dante Mitchell)

Consider it a hardwood graduation.

Having wrapped their season Thursday, Coupeville Middle School 8th grade boys basketball players have finished one level of their hoops journey.

After this, hopefully, all nine Wolves who suited up this year will make the jump to join the high school program.

Having coached many of these players for both of their seasons in middle school, CMS 8th grade coach Dante Mitchell is like a proud father, sending his children onward and upward.

Friday, he made sure his players knew how much he appreciated them by holding an impromptu pizza party.

Gathered were Dominic Coffman, Jesse Wooten, Ty Hamilton, Alex Murdy, Josh Upchurch, Alex Wasik, Mitchell Hall, Kevin Partida, and Levi Pulliam.

“Pizza not for show, but because of the hard work and dedication,” Mitchell said. “I send my best wishes as these players move on to high school and bigger and better things.

“I’m so proud and grateful and blessed to have been able to get the opportunity to give back and coach such wonderful kids.”

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Ty Hamilton leads off a final collection of CMS boys basketball portraits. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Nick Guay

Alex Murdy

Ryan Blouin

Chris Villarreal

Kevin Partida

Logan Downes

Nathan Ginnings

Alex Clark

Andrew Williams

It’s a wrap.

The Coupeville Middle School boys basketball season reached its conclusion Thursday, and now we’re here to tie up all the loose ends.

We have a final collection of portraits, which means everyone who was present on picture day has finally had their mug slapped on the internet.

And here’s the final varsity scoring totals, as best as I could track:

 

7th grade:

Logan Downes – 114
Cole White – 40
Ryan Blouin – 30
Nick Guay – 22
Zane Oldenstadt – 19
William Davidson – 16
Quinten Pilgrim – 5
Mikey Robinett – 3

 

8th grade:

Alex Murdy – 61
Dominic Coffman – 36
Mitchell Hall – 36
Ty Hamilton – 35
Alex Wasik – 28
Kevin Partida – 17
Levi Pulliam – 13
Josh Upchurch – 3

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Nick Guay sizes up a free throw Thursday during the CMS boys hoops season finale. (Morgan White photos)

Andrew Williams gets ready to rocket a pass cross-court.

Noted ball-hawk Cole White lunges for the steal.

You always want to end the season on a positive.

Regardless of your final record, if you can exit on a high note – be it a big win, a highly-competitive loss or just overall improved play, it has a strong chance to carry over to future seasons.

So consider Thursday night a roaring success for the three Coupeville Middle School boys hoops teams, which all closed with a bang against visiting Granite Falls.

How it played out:

 

7th grade varsity:

The most successful Wolf team provided the biggest finale moment, using a 19-7 run in the fourth quarter to smash open a nail-biter and run away with a 43-28 win.

The victory, the second-straight for Coupeville’s young guns, lifts their final record to 4-6.

The game was a tightly-played, and low-scoring, affair through the first two quarters, with the visitors clinging to a 10-9 lead at the half.

Things took a change after the break, however, as the Wolves started to knock down shots from behind the arc, picked up the pace, and threw the Tigers back on their heels.

A 15-11 surge in the third quarter, fueled by a pair of three-balls from Ryan Blouin, plus treys off the fingertips of Cole White and Nick Guay, changed the entire flow of the game.

Once it had the lead, CMS didn’t let up, pouring on the offense in a torrid fourth quarter.

The Wolves got all their points in the final frame from three players – Logan Downes, who banked in eight, Guay, who popped for seven, and Blouin, who kicked in four.

The buckets were set up by Coupeville’s stingy defense, with White making off with three straight steals and Zane Oldenstadt dominating his rival big men in the paint.

“Boys played well tonight!,” said Wolf coach Greg White. “It was a tight game until the fourth.

Zane played great defense on their giant post – it was a true team effort tonight,” he added. “It was a fun one to end on!”

Downes paced the Wolves with 14 points, while Blouin and Guay had season-highs, swishing home 13 and 10, respectively.

White and William Davidson added three apiece, while Oldenstadt and Mikey Robinett were rock-solid on defense.

 

7th grade JV:

Coupeville’s least-experienced squad didn’t get the game win, but they did score several moral victories.

First, after falling behind 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Wolves rallied to win a 4-3 battle in the second, and final, frame.

Also, Alex Clark netted his first bucket of the season, a big moment for both the player, and his coach.

Alex had a huge smile!,” Greg White said. “Justin (Wilkinson) and Andrew (Williams) also played really tough defense.

“Even though our scoring was limited, I thought it was a much better showing for our JV squad.”

Robinett tossed in Coupeville’s other basket, while Quinten Pilgrim, Timothy Nitta and Chris Villarreal all saw floor time.

 

8th grade varsity:

Playing their final middle school game, the Wolves came dangerously close to nabbing a season-closing win.

But, in the end, Granite Falls escaped with a 24-23 triumph, leaving Coupeville to finish 1-9 on the season.

The Wolves had one of their strongest performances of the season at the free-throw line, with four players combining to net eight shots at the charity stripe.

Alex Wasik, who showed tremendous growth as a player from game one to game 10, led the Wolves with seven points, notching at least a point in every quarter.

Ty Hamilton was hot on his heels, pouring in six, while Alex Murdy flicked in five, Dominic Coffman and Mitchell Hall swished two apiece and Josh Upchurch sank a free throw.

Rounding out the roster were Kevin Partida, Levi Pulliam and Jesse Wooten.

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TJ Rickner lets a shot fly straight and true. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Round-ball sage Randy King (left), still hanging out at the gym where he led the Wolf basketball program for two successful decades.

Senior captain Dane Lucero tosses a free throw towards the rim.

JV coach Chris Smith (gray jacket, left) plots strategy, while varsity head man Brad Sherman (far right) eavesdrops.

Wolf big man Ulrik Wells rolls to the hoop.

Cheerleader Ashleigh Battaglia gets the crowd rockin’.

Logan Martin, who was lights out Tuesday, scoring 19 points, rains down the pain on Sultan.

Freshman Hawthorne Wolfe is off to a hot start, leading Coupeville’s varsity in scoring.

Ball goes up, camera clicks.

As he wanders the byways and highways of America, photographer John Fisken is drawn to the lights and sounds emanating from gyms across the land.

His latest stop came in Coupeville Tuesday, when he was on hand to snap away as the Wolves faced off with Sultan in their North Sound Conference opener.

To see everything Fisken shot (and maybe buy Grandma a Christmas present), pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Basketball-2018-2019-boys-and-girls/BBB-2018-12-11-vs-Sultan/

And, remember, a percentage of all purchases goes to fund scholarships for CHS senior student/athletes.

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Coupeville’s Mason Grove connected on a trio of three-balls Tuesday, but Sultan answered with 12 treys of its own in a 65-47 Turk win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sometimes all you can do is shake your head and mutter “Dang…”

When your team plays strongly, has an early lead and then gets buried under an avalanche of three-balls, the kind of avalanche where six different rival players hit from behind the arc, there’s not much else left to do.

It was that kind of night Tuesday for the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball team, as visiting Sultan nailed 12 treys en route to a 65-47 win.

The loss, coming in the North Sound Conference opener, drops the Wolves to 0-1 in league play, 0-6 overall.

Even while losing, CHS did not play badly.

The Wolves shot out to an 8-1 lead after freshman Hawthorne Wolfe banged home back-to-back three-balls of his own.

One came during a coast-to-coast jaunt by the fab frosh, who leads his team in scoring this season, while the second was a rainbow set up by a beautifully-timed kick-out pass from deep in the paint by Ulrik Wells.

With Wells and Gavin Knoblich each slapping home a bucket of their own, and Mason Grove exploding off the bench to caress the net with his own three-ball, Coupeville led by as many as five points in the first quarter.

But what seemed like a minor slow-down, with Sultan scoring the final two buckets of the opening frame on inside moves, became something far, far worse.

The free-flowing Wolf offense on display in the game’s early moments sputtered and wheezed for a bit, as the Turks ran off the first 12 points of the second quarter.

The 16-0 surge, which crossed quarters but never slowed down, turned a five-point deficit into an 11-point lead for the visitors, and they would never relinquish the advantage.

Coupeville finally broke the dry spell on a long jumper from Jered Brown, and the Wolves scraped back to within six, but then a disturbing trend starting rearing its head.

Sultan, once it started shooting from behind the arc, rarely missed, and the Turks, time and again, used an artfully-shot three-ball to blunt every single Wolf run for the remainder of the game.

Cameron Gunderson was the primary culprit, swishing six treys as he rolled up a game-high 22 points, but nearly every one of his Turk teammates was locked-in, as well.

The third quarter was a prime example.

CHS cuts the lead to 12 off of an offensive rebound and put-back by Sean Toomey-Stout?

Bam. Bam. Back-to-back Turk three-balls.

The Wolves rebound to cut a 20-point margin back to 13 right before the end of the third quarter?

Bam. Bam. Bam. Sultan hits two treys to close the quarter and a third to open the final frame.

Coupeville’s best sustained play of the night came right after the Turks drained that three-ball to open the fourth quarter.

A 10-0 run, helped out by four free throws, Wolfe making a dash coast-to-coast for a layup and Knoblich slapping home a basket off of a steal and dish by Toomey-Stout, made things interesting.

And then, one last time … bam, bam, as the Turk three-ball express made its final stops.

“Give Sultan credit where it’s due,” said Coupeville coach Brad Sherman. “They shot the ball extremely well tonight. Extremely well.”

While CHS couldn’t match Sultan’s long-range launching (the Wolves hit six treys of their own, with Grove netting three), Coupeville held its own in other areas.

The Wolves won the turnover battle, a special point of pride for Sherman, and a young team in transition continues to grow. The 47 points were a season-high.

“We moved the ball well on offense and got good looks; I’m happy with that,” Sherman said. “I thought our offensive movement continues to improve.

“Also, as a coaching staff, we continue to be impressed with the effort and work being put in by our guys,” he added. “They’ll be here tomorrow, heads up and ready to work, and that’s huge.”

Coupeville will have some time to fine-tune things before its next league game.

The Wolves travel to Concrete Friday for a non-conference clash, then have trips to Port Townsend and Nooksack Valley ahead on the schedule.

CHS doesn’t return to league play until Jan. 4, when it travels to King’s to kick off the final nine games of the 10-game conference season.

Tuesday night the Wolves spread out their offensive load, with eight of the nine players who saw floor time scoring,

Brown singed the nets for a team-high 11 points, with Wolfe and Grove chipping in with nine apiece.

Wells (6), Toomey-Stout (5), Knoblich (4), Koa Davison (2), and Jacobi Pilgrim (1) also scored, while Dane Lucero hit the boards with intensity.

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