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Archive for the ‘Boys Basketball’ Category

Coupeville celebrates its first boys basketball district title since 1970. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They found joy in despair and made the night rock once again.

Not that many years back, the Coupeville High School boys basketball program endured a winless season-plus.

The number of fans in the stands dwindled, excitement ebbed, and that was before a worldwide pandemic crushed the life out of just about everyone.

But the Wolves endured and they rebounded.

Brad Sherman, one of the best to ever make the nets flip in the CHS gym, accepted his prairie destiny and returned to build a program which honored those who came before while looking to craft a bright future.

Brad and Abbey Sherman and their future All-Conference hoops stars. (Deb Sherman photo)

As Sherman and his fellow Wolf coaches worked tirelessly, they drew on a core of players from the Class of 2022.

Three ball-happy sniper Hawthorne Wolfe was the first to reach the varsity, a starter from day one of his 9th grade season, and he was soon followed by Xavier Murdy, the glue.

Later, Logan Martin and Grady Rickner would join, with Miles Davidson contributing while battling through extensive injuries.

Two were missing, with Bennett Boyles battling valiantly against brain cancer in middle school, and Caleb Meyer having moved to the big city before his freshman campaign.

But Bennett, even after his premature passing, remains with his friends in spirit, with Wolfe writing his name on his sneakers, and the team saving a chair on the bench for their youthful companion.

Then, as the world struggled to rise from the pandemic, with masks still required, and frequent Covid tests making it a struggle to keep a roster whole, the last touchstone of my Videoville days returned.

He’s taller now, stronger now, with a lot more of the curly locks he rocked even as a lil’ kid, but Caleb Meyer’s smile still lights up the gym, and his reentry into Wolf Nation was like a lock clicking into place.

Suddenly the Wolves who ran together in middle school were back together, and, backed by a strong group of underclassmen, they were ready to rock the world.

It began with the ultimate smack upside the head, with Coupeville, a 2B school, drop-kicking 3A Oak Harbor — the Wolves proving they wouldn’t crack under pressure, wouldn’t back down against their big-city neighbors, showing a new age had arrived.

Meyer, repeatedly hit in the arms and body by feisty Wildcat defenders as he brought the ball up court, just smiled and never flinched, the ball zinging into the waiting hands of teammates.

Caleb Meyer brings the heat. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Things ended with CHS students storming the court while Wolfe flexed and popped his uniform.

Revenge for an overtime loss to OHHS as a freshman when refs swallowed their whistles as he was brutally thrashed on the final play in regulation?

Possibly, or maybe just an acknowledgment that things were going to be different this time around.

And man, were they ever.

Covid hung over everything — with Sherman often forced to juggle his lineup hours before tipoff as players were sidelined — and it didn’t matter.

Every night a different Wolf seemed to go off, and the hot hand was always fed.

Look, it’s high school ball and, down deep, every player wants to be the guy racking up points, but the 2021-2022 CHS squad did a better job than most at sharing the load — and looking happy about doing it.

They made the pass to the open guy.

They scrambled for every rebound and loose ball.

They sacrificed personal glory for the good of the whole.

A butt hit the floor and four other Wolves ran to pick up the fifth guy.

They were one of the most cohesive teams I’ve seen in my time writing about prep sports, and it paid off.

Win after win, whether it be a rout, or the occasional stunning come-from-behind victory, carried them to a promised land not seen by the boys hoops program in decades.

Team, above all else. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The first league title since 2002, when Sherman himself was still dropping three-balls from the parking lot.

The first district title since 1970, thanks to a win over eternal bogeyman La Conner on Coupeville’s home court in a gym as loud as any I have personally witnessed.

The first trip to the state championships since 1988, back when then head coach Ron Bagby was still rockin’ the ‘stache and the short shorts.

Coupeville was 16-0 when the big dance began — the only unbeaten team left in 2B — and, while the Wolves fell to established powers Kalama and Lake Roosevelt, they pushed both teams hard.

They won praise from rival coaches, media types, and state tourney broadcasters, for their defense, for their hustle, and for the way they meshed.

“Get yourself a hype man like Hawthorne Wolfe!” screamed one giddy play-by-play man, after Hawk danced in celebration when sophomore Logan Downes splashed home a long-range bomb.

It was a theme which continued as the Maraudin’ Murdy boys — Xavier and Alex — relentlessly harassed rival ballhandlers, and Meyer grabbed Rickner and Martin in bearhugs after big plays.

Xavier Murdy cuts down a memory. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Heading into the state tourney, it was obvious few outsiders had any respect for CHS basketball.

If they even knew where Whidbey Island was, they certainly had never seen the Wolf boys play at a high level in a really long time, and we were an afterthought, even at 16-0.

That changed, and now, when Coupeville next steps on a big stage, the conversation will start from a different place.

This is how you build a program, and this team, which overcame deep personal loss and troubling times, will live on as the guys who started the rebirth.

Their accomplishments will sit proudly on the Wall of Fame in the CHS gym, and, after this, they will also be a part of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

Pop up to the top of the blog, under the Legends tab, and you’ll find them sitting side-by-side with some of the most-successful teams in school history.

But, most of all, the ’21-’22 varsity hoops team will live on in the memories of those who saw them play, those who were on the floor, and those who will follow them.

All the young boys and girls who crowded into the CHS gym game after game, the ones who whooped and hollered and high-fived Hawk and X and Co.?

They will take the next step, hit the next bucket, spread the story of Wolf basketball.

Honor the past, embrace the present, strive for the best in the future.

This is the way, the way they were taught by a team for the ages.

 

Inducted as a team:

 

The 2021-2022 CHS boys varsity basketball team:

 

Coaches:

Randy Bottorff
Arik Garthwaite
Brad Sherman
Hunter Smith
Greg White

 

Players:

Hunter Bronec
Dominic Coffman
Logan Downes
Nick Guay
Logan Martin
Caleb Meyer
Alex Murdy
Xavier Murdy
Zane Oldenstadt
Grady Rickner
Jonathan Valenzuela
Cole White
Hawthorne Wolfe

 

Managers:

Miles Davidson
David Somes

 

Team Mom:

Courtney Simpson-Pilgrim

 

In Memory:

Bennett Boyles

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The present and future of Coupeville basketball hang out together, as Brady Sherman cheers on Xavier Murdy at the All-State game. (Deb Sherman photo)

Murdy (the #3 who’s fourth from the left) takes his place in the 2B all-star lineup. (Michele Murdy photo)

He played with the best and held his own.

Coupeville High School senior Xavier Murdy became the first Wolf boy in at least a decade-and-a-half to appear in the All-State basketball game Saturday.

While on the floor at Curtis High School, he pumped in 10 points, helping the 2B All-Stars thrash their 1B foes to the tune of 115-95.

It was the only game Saturday where the team repping the bigger classification won.

In later contests, the 1A all-stars beat the 2A team 109-99 and the 3A’s upended the 4A’s best 105-102.

The games, put on by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association, featured many of the best seniors in the state.

This year the WIBCA also held a “futures” game Friday, starring selected juniors from big-city schools.

Murdy is the only player at any of the six levels to hail from this region and is the first Wolf to make an All-State basketball squad since Makana Stone was selected to the 1A girls team in 2016.

Having been tabbed as the Northwest 2B/1B League MVP after helping lead Coupeville to its most-successful season in decades, X-Man shared the court Saturday with standouts like Liberty’s Tayshawn Colvin and 2B state player of the year John Lustig of Colfax.

Murdy got his points in the all-star game in much the same way he did for the Wolves — by outworking others.

He opened with a short jumper in the paint, having corralled a loose ball in mid-air.

After draining a pair of free throws — set up by snatching an offensive rebound — Murdy put another rebound back up and in.

A jumper on the move and a bucket where he slashed to the glass, switching hands in mid-move to score with his left hand, capped his offensive outburst.

Murdy, who made his varsity hoops debut as a freshman, finished his CHS career with 482 points.

This season, capping his run with fellow seniors Logan Martin, Hawthorne Wolfe, Grady Rickner, and Caleb Meyer, X-Man helped the Wolves win their first league title since 2002.

The CHS boys also claimed their first district crown since 1970 and advanced to the state tourney for the first time since 1988.

Murdy scored 24 points against top-seeded Kalama and 10 against Lake Roosevelt as the Wolves pushed both teams to the final moments in their state matchups.

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Coupeville senior Xavier Murdy capped his prep hoops career by being tabbed the Northwest 2B/1B League MVP. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Brad Sherman, who led the CHS boys to state for the first time since ’88, was named Coach of the Year by his peers.

Dominate the season, dominate the awards.

The Coupeville High School boys basketball team swept to a Northwest 2B/1B League title this winter, finishing 11-0 against conference rivals.

Now, the Wolves have been rewarded for their play, sweeping both MVP and Coach of the Year, in addition to seeing four other players earn honors.

Senior Xavier Murdy, who paced Coupeville in virtually every stat category, was picked by NWL coaches as the best player in the league for the 2021-2022 season.

His own mentor, Brad Sherman, who led CHS to a 16-2 record, a league title, a Bi-District crown, and a trip to state, earned Coach of the Year honors.

Wolf seniors Hawthorne Wolfe and Caleb Meyer were tabbed as First-Team All-League players, with junior Alex Murdy landing Second-Team status.

Sophomore Logan Downes, who came off the bench to become Coupeville’s #3 scorer this season, was an Honorable Mention selection.

 

Complete All-League awards:

 

MVP:

Xavier Murdy — Senior — Coupeville

 

Coach of the Year:

Brad Sherman — Coupeville

 

Sportsmanship:

Concrete

 

First-Team All-League:

Diego Lago — Junior — Orcas Island
Caleb Meyer — Senior — Coupeville
Dylan Roberson — Senior — Friday Harbor
Hawthorne Wolfe — Senior — Coupeville
Nick Wyatt — Junior — Mount Vernon Christian

 

Second-Team All-League:

Owen Aamot — Junior — Concrete
Billy DeJong — Junior — Mount Vernon Christian
Alex Murdy — Junior — Coupeville
Julian Pedrosa — Senior — Mount Vernon Christian
Isaiah Price — Junior — La Conner

 

Honorable Mention:

Logan Downes — Sophomore — Coupeville
Ben Rozema — Junior — Mount Vernon Christian
Miles Sidzyik — Senior — La Conner
Sam Sutton — Sophomore — Orcas Island
Phoenix Tillequots — Senior — Darrington

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Senior Grady Rickner won the Hard Hat Player of the Year award Monday as Coupeville High School boys basketball capped its best season in decades. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

First the hard work, now the hardware.

Coupeville High School basketball players and coaches capped off the program’s most-successful season in decades Monday, handing out letters and awards at a team banquet.

Dodging frequent Covid tests, and adapting to an ever-changing schedule, the Wolves soared.

Coupeville’s varsity finished 16-2, won its first league title since 2002, claimed a district crown for the first time since 1970, and advanced to state for the first time since 1988.

While the JV didn’t reach those same win totals, the Wolf young guns showed considerable promise and were competitive every time out.

Xavier Murdy headlined the awards banquet, taking home team MVP honors, while Caleb Meyer and Alex Murdy were honored as Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively.

Grady Rickner closed out his prep hoops career by taking home the Hard Hat Player of the Year award.

That honor goes to a Wolf who “embodies the hard hat mentality,” said CHS head coach Brad Sherman. “Hard work, dedication to the little things, commitment to being a great teammate every day.”

Hawthorne Wolfe, a four-year varsity starter who finished with 800 career points, received “Mr. Basketball 2018-2022” honors.

“This recognition goes to an individual who showed an exceptional commitment to the Coupeville basketball program throughout their basketball career,” Sherman said.

“This is a person who is Coupeville basketball through and through.”

Hawthorne Wolfe finishes as the #14 scorer in the 105-year history of Coupeville boys basketball.

Xavier Murdy and Rickner were also honored for their work as varsity captains, while the duo joined Logan Martin, Miles Davidson, and Wolfe as four-year players.

At the JV level, Zane Oldenstadt (Hard Hat), Ryan Blouin (Offensive Player), and Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim (Defensive Player) were honored.

Oldenstadt and Nick Guay were noted for their work as JV captains, while David Somes was recognized for everything he did as team manager.

Zane Oldenstadt is a star today, and likely a star tomorrow.

Rounding out the awards, Sherman and assistant coaches Greg White, Hunter Smith, Randy Bottorff, and Arik Garthwaite also hailed a trio of behind-the-scenes stars.

Courtney Pilgrim for her continued commitment and hard work for the team year in and year out,” Sherman said.

Dan Verduzco, our custodian, for always making sure we have the best facilities anywhere and for the constant support and encouragement he gives to our athletes, and Phil Jump, our bus driver, for taking us to every corner of the state this season.”

 

Varsity letter winners:

Dominic Coffman
Logan Downes
Logan Martin
Caleb Meyer
Alex Murdy
Xavier Murdy
Grady Rickner
Jonathan Valenzuela
Cole White
Hawthorne Wolfe

 

Varsity participation certificates:

Hunter Bronec
Nick Guay
Zane Oldenstadt

 

JV participation certificates:

Ryan Blouin
Hunter Bronec
Hurlee Bronec
William Davidson
Carson Field
Nick Guay
Zane Oldenstadt
Jack Porter
Johnny Porter
Landon Roberts
Mikey Robinett
Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim

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Coupeville’s Xavier Murdy will play one more high school basketball game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

He’s not done just yet.

Basketball gear has been turned in, and he’s moved on to the baseball diamond, but the hardwood still calls to Xavier Murdy.

The Coupeville High School senior has been tabbed to play in the WIBCA All-State game this Saturday, Mar. 19.

The event, put together by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association, goes down at Curtis High School in University Place.

There are three games, with each bout — 4A vs. 3A, 2A vs. 1A, and 2B vs. 1B — featuring a collection of the best senior hoops stars in Washington state.

Murdy is slated to appear in the 2B/1B game.

He’ll by joined on the 11-man 2B roster by players such as Jackson Esary of Kalama, Gary Dotson of Morton-White Pass, and John Lustig of Colfax.

During his senior season, Murdy┬áled Coupeville in scoring and rebounding, helping fuel the program’s best performance in decades.

The Wolves finished 16-2, winning their first league title since 2002, capturing their first district crown since 1970, and advancing to the state tourney for the first time since 1988.

Murdy tallied a game-high 24 points against Kalama in Coupeville’s state opener, then tossed in 10 more against Lake Roosevelt in game two.

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