Archive for the ‘Boys Basketball’ Category

Liam Lawson and his CMS basketball teammates had an eventful trip to Granite Falls. (Kassie O’Neil photo)

Strange things happen on the road.

Monday’s trip to the wilds of Granite Falls offered a bit of everything for the Coupeville Middle School boys basketball teams.

Up to, and including, a freakin’ TIE, which should be illegal on the hardwood.

This isn’t soccer, and Cascade League rules makers need to pull their heads out of their collective tushes, but more on that later in this story.

How the day played out for the Wolves:


Level 1:

Coupeville scored big early, then lost its shooting touch and fell 37-34 in a thriller which came down to the final moments.

Jayden McManus was rock-solid for the Wolves, banging away for a game-high 16 points, with half of that coming during the opening quarter.

Speedy point guard Chayse Van Velkinburgh added seven for CMS, including rippling the net on a three-ball from the parking lot, while Riley Lawless (5), Davin Houston (4), and Dylan Robinett (2) also scored.

Joshua Stockdale, Mahkai Myles, and Carson Grove also saw floor time for the Wolves, with Myles making his season debut.


Level 2:

Things start to go wonky here.

Unable to overcome a withering press, Coupeville put up some points but couldn’t keep up with Granite in a 39-17 loss.

Who scored for the Wolves?

We’ll probably never know, as the scorebook remains a work of mystery, with no scoring totals recorded for the game.

Which means every player in the game can go home and tell their parents they shot the lights out, and mom and pops can only nod as they slowly back out of the room.

“Sure honey, whatever you say.”

Anyways, we do know Hunter Atteberry, Liam Lawson, Nathan Niewald, Roger Merino-Martinez, Cyrus Sparacio, Charles Hart, Robinett, Kenneth Jacobsen, Jacob Barajas, and Sage Arends were listed on the roster.

So, that’s a start.


Level 3:

“The shocker of the night!”

CMS coach Jon Roberts had to sit down and collect his thoughts after Roger Merino-Martinez, in his second game of the season, decided to morph into Damian Lillard.

Raining down shots from every part of the gym, the Wolf 7th grader scorched the nets for 21 points in a 27-27 tie.

“Whether he was stealing the ball and making a layup or taking a confident 12-footer, Roger was the man!” Roberts said.

“Plus, Cyrus did a good job of feeding him and creating shots himself.”

Sparacio chipped in with four points, while Kenneth Jacobsen knocked down a bucket.

Zach Blitch, Jacob Meadors, Johnathan Jacobsen, Barajas, and Khanor Jump also saw floor time for the Wolves, who, against all conventional wisdom, never got to play overtime.

That’s because Cascade League rules allow extra periods only for Level 1 basketball games and say any ties in Level 2 and 3 games should be decided with a rousing moment of rock, paper, scissors.

Seriously. I’m not making that part up.

No, seriously…

Somewhere, retired NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo is shaking his finger at the camera, saying “No, no, no!!!” the way he used to do after blocking a shot and ripping his foe’s very soul from their chest.


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Chase Anderson tastes the air up there. (Morgan White photo)

Lakewood flipped a switch.

Saturday’s JV boys’ basketball game was a one-basket affair eight minutes in, then the Cougars upped the ante.

Ripping off a 17-7 run in the second quarter, before tacking on a 19-5 surge in the fourth, the visitors steadily pulled away from Coupeville, handing the Wolf young guns a 63-33 loss.

The non-conference defeat, coming against a 2A school, drops CHS to 1-1 on the still-young season.

The Wolves, even missing several players, came out strongly in their home opener, and trailed just 11-9 at the first break.

Five different Coupeville players scored in the opening frame, but the basket turned fairly unforgiving after that.

The Wolves still hit a couple of big shots down the stretch, including freshman Malachi Somes netting a three-ball for his first points as a high school player.

But it wasn’t enough, as Lakewood was relentless and enjoying a love affair with the rim, which let shots drop from every angle.

Jack Porter paced the Wolves with a team-high 10 points, while Mikey Robinett fought in the paint to knock down six in support.

Hunter Bronec (5), Aiden O’Neill (4), Somes (3), Hurlee Bronec (3), and Chase Anderson (2) also scored for Coupeville, with Yohannon Sandles and Carson Field rounding out the active roster.

The JV boys get back at it next Saturday, Dec. 10, when they host Sultan. Tip is 3:00 PM.

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Cole White kick-starts the offense. (Morgan White photo)

The first surge, they overcame. The second was a crippler.

Playing with fiery intensity Saturday night, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball squad pushed visiting Lakewood hard.

But while the Wolves survived a 12-0 Cougar run early, they couldn’t overcome a hail of three-balls in the third quarter, which turned a four-point game into a 16-point deficit.

The result?

A 77-61 non-conference loss to a 2A school, but a defeat which could pay huge benefits down the road.

The Wolves, now 0-2 on the young season, open with a tough non-league schedule.

The goal is to help shape a new-look team under fire, to get them ready to defend their title once Northwest 2B/1B League play starts in January.

The early games, which continue next week with a road trip to Tacoma to play Concordia Christian Academy, followed by a home game with Sultan, is the gauntlet set up to build a strong Wolf team.

And that strong team is already here, at least in parts, as Coupeville played Lakewood to a virtual standstill if you toss out the third quarter.

Having fought back from a 14-point deficit, the Wolves went to the half on the high of a 14-4 run.

It was fueled by seven points off the bench from junior Nick Guay, with the final bucket a three-ball which tickled the twines a millisecond ahead of the buzzer.

The Wolves had whipped the ball around the arc, keeping the leather moving and away from Lakewood defenders, before Guay stepped up and made all the fans scream.

Coming on the heels of another trey, this one from Ryan Blouin, and a short jumper from Cole White off a feed from rumbling big man William Davidson, Guay’s buzzer-beater cut the margin to 32-28.

Coupeville, which got a huge spark on both ends of the floor from Jonathan Valenzuela, looked ready to go toe-to-toe, and shot-for-shot, with Lakewood.

Until the Cougars started dropping daggers.

Led by Benjamin Rucker, who popped five three-balls as part of a game-high 23-point performance, Lakewood suddenly couldn’t miss from long distance as the second half began.

Valenzuela slapped home a pair of buckets, before Logan Downes went off for Coupeville’s next nine points, but the Cougars were collecting two baskets for every one the Wolves scored.

In a game in which the two teams tallied the same exact number of points in the second and fourth quarter, and Lakewood was narrowly ahead 18-14 at the end of the first frame, the third quarter was fatal.

The Cougars finished the eight-minute span with a 25-13 advantage, and the die was cast.

Coupeville still fought impressively in the fourth quarter, from Downes getting back on defense to deliver a resounding blocked shot, to Alex Murdy converting a pair of steals into breakaway buckets.

Three Wolves — Chase Anderson, Jermiah Copeland, and Davidson — notched their first varsity points as well, but CHS ultimately couldn’t get its deficit back down to single digits.

While Rucker finished with 23, Downes almost matched him, tossing in 16 of his team-high 22 points in the second half.

Many of his buckets came on bold rampages through the paint, as the junior crashed hard to the hoop again and again, often with the refs ignoring the multitude of defender arms hitting him in the face.

Valenzuela, who snatched rebounds off the glass and prowled like a panther unleashed, finished with 10 points for CHS, with White (8), Guay (7), and Murdy (6) also coming strong.

Blouin (3), Anderson (2), Copeland (2), and Davidson (1) rounded out the offense, while Dominic Coffman and Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim provided a defensive spark.

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Trent Diamanti (top) and Mike Duke have a story to tell.

This is NOT a story about a landmark moment in Coupeville High School basketball history.

No, it’s better than that.

This is one of those side stories about shenanigans and kismet, a tale told by those involved, and told in their own words.

It’s winter, sometime during the 2004-2005 boys’ hoops season, and our heroes are Mike Duke and Trent Diamanti, who have both gone on to become coaches and semi-responsible adults.

Featuring a wordless cameo from longtime Coupeville hoops coach Randy King, who will undoubtedly believe I made the whole thing up.

The locale? South Whidbey High School.

The time? After a game between the Wolves and Falcons.

And scene.


Trent Diamanti:

Well, we had an away game in South Whidbey and at some point, Mike and I went to wander around and talk – it really was that innocent.

And we lost track of time and ended up in a courtyard and suddenly realized it was past the time when the buses would be leaving.


Mike Duke:

Locked in a court with some sort of event going on in the South Whidbey commons.

It took way too long to realize we were locked outside and right when we did … off in the distance we see the bus leaving campus.

This was all obviously before fancy phones and text messaging available to everyone.

I believe it was the South Whidbey JV coach that gave us a ride to the Greenbank store.

Where we were going to call one of our parents to come get us, but the girls’ team was coming back from a game at King’s or something on the ferry side and we got a ride home with them.


Trent Diamanti:

Mr. King — bless his heart — either didn’t do a head count or forgot the number it was supposed to be.

I had a cell phone but no service.

There was some event going on in the high school and we started BANGING on the door for this old guy to let us in and he sauntered over as casual as could be.


Mike Duke:

If we are throwing people under the bus, I believe it was Blake Day who told coach that we went home with Trent’s dad.


Trent Diamanti:

Really took his time. So when he finally opened the door we sprinted past and saw the buses had left.


Mike Duke:

Sauntered is the perfect word. He reacted as though we were the first zombies in a George Romero movie.


Trent Diamanti:

So, the JV coach gave us a ride and somehow, we caught up with the girl’s bus.

Turned out the boy’s bus figured out we weren’t there and didn’t catch a ride about halfway.

I think the girl’s bus driver radioed the boy’s one to let them know they had us.

The funny part was we were afraid of being in trouble (at least I was, partly cause this was such a typical Trent thing, to lose track of time and get lost) but it was Mr. King who was super embarrassed.


Mike Duke:

The girl’s bus has no idea. They just stopped at the store to do the like south side kiddo drop off that they did for players that lived in that area.


Trent Diamanti:

Yeah, it was super lucky.


Mike Duke:

Oh yeah FOR SURE thought we were going to have to run all the suicides. 😆


Trent Diamanti:

I still don’t get service on my phone at South Whidbey High School…

Turns out it’s VERY IMPORTANT for coaches/teachers to keep track of all the kids under their charge. Something Coach Duke has NO IDEA ABOUT.  😆


Mike Duke:

It’s not that difficult.

I don’t like to brag or toot my own horn, but I’ve coached now 12 seasons of soccer between boys and girls at the varsity level … and I AINT NEVER LOST A KID hahaha 😆


Trent Diamanti:

I’ve lost kids but they weren’t my offspring, so it wasn’t a big deal … joking!


Mike Duke:



And this postscript, from the CHS girls’ basketball coach at the time.


Greg Oldham:

In my recollection, Coach King left at least one player behind every season.

“If they live, they live.”

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Riley Lawless powers through the paint. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

No fear.

King’s has supreme name value in the basketball world, but the Coupeville Middle School boys didn’t back down at all Thursday afternoon.

While the Wolves lost all three games on their home court, they hung tough in two of the bouts, and had flashes of strong play in the other.

How the day played out:


Level 1:

Coupeville fought King’s virtually even in the second half, but a couple of first-half breakdowns ultimately doomed the Wolves in a 48-29 loss.

CMS came out with a nice intensity, jumping to a 5-2 lead after a three-point play the hard way from Jayden McManus and a basket in the paint off the fingertips of Riley Lawless.

The Knights responded by employing a full-court press, and flustered the Wolves a bit, however.

With most of its buckets coming on plays in which it was out and running, converting turnovers into breakaways, King’s closed the first quarter on a 13-2 run.

Coupeville responded with a three-ball from Carson Grove to open the second frame, cutting its deficit back to 15-10.

Then, the baskets dried up for a bit, as the Wolves failed to hit another field goal over the final six minutes-plus of the half.

A pair of free throws in the waning moments — one each from Nic Laska and Lawless — broke the cold spell, but CMS found itself down 28-12 at the break.

King’s stretched its lead to 35-14 midway through the third quarter, before the Wolves responded with an 11-0 surge of their own.

Chayse Van Velkinburgh hit a sweet runner in the paint, lobbing the ball high up and over a defender’s outstretched arms, then McManus knocked down three straight buckets to end the third quarter.

One came on a smooth move in the paint, another off of a steal, and the third on an offensive rebound put back up and in under extreme pressure.

Toss in a three-ball from Van Velkinburgh to open the final frame, and things were getting considerably more interesting for Wolf fans.

It wasn’t to be, though, as the Knights proved to be strong closers, capping things with a 13-4 rally which included a trio of three-balls and a couple of put-backs off of rebounds.

While King’s played platoon ball — subbing in a fresh five players at a time — Coupeville got by with just seven warriors, with its starters playing most of the minutes.

McManus, back on the floor after missing a game with illness, paced the Wolves with 13 points, while Lawless (7), Van Velkinburgh (5), Grove (3), and Laska (1) also scored.

Joshua Stockdale gave CMS a burst of energy off the bench, with Davin Houston hitting the boards with savage intensity.


Level 2:

The roughest game of the day for the Wolves, as they absorbed a 46-8 loss.

King’s threw down the first 28 points of the contest, before Nathan Niewald broke free for an end-to-end run which resulted in a crowd-pleasing layup.

Coupeville’s remaining points came courtesy of three-balls from sharpshooters Roger Merino-Martinez and Liam Lawson.

Making his season debut, Merino-Martinez was a fireball on both ends of the floor, also picking up a blocked shot on a play in which he chased down a rival shooter who thought he was free to rumble.

Spoiler: he was not.

Dylan Robinett, Hunter Atteberry, Cyrus Sparacio, Jacob Barajas, Kenneth Jacobsen, and Charles Hart rounded out the rotation for the Wolves, who fought hard and remained scrappy until the final buzzer.


Level 3:

Take away the first quarter, and this was a brawl.

The visitors used a 10-1 surge in the opening frame, then hung on for a 31-15 victory in a game that got more competitive the further it went.

Coupeville put together its best seven-minute stretch in the third quarter, with Sparacio and Merino-Martinez splashing three-balls on back-to-back trips down the floor.

The Wolves spread out their offense between four players, with Merino-Martinez rattling the rims for five points, while Johnathan Jacobsen (4), Barajas (3), and Sparacio (3) flipped the net.

Khanor Jump, Zach Blitch, Atteberry, Dillin Kastner, Kenneth Jacobsen, and Jacob Meadors also saw floor time for Coupeville, which plays its next two games on the road.

CMS heads to Granite Falls Dec. 5, then visits Northshore Christian Dec. 7.

Zach Blitch keeps a watchful eye on his man in a recent game.

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