Archive for the ‘Boys Basketball’ Category

Cole White hops into action. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

No more free throws or rebounds, just praise.

The Coupeville High School boys’ basketball teams capped their seasons Tuesday with an awards banquet, honoring players and managers after successful seasons.

The Wolf varsity went 14-9 and won the two-day Cascade Hoops Classic in Leavenworth during the holidays, while the JV squad closed on a 10-game winning streak during an 11-3 campaign.

Two varsity players — junior Logan Downes and senior Alex Murdy — were previously honored with selections to the Northwest 2B/1B League All-Conference team.

Downes, who torched the nets for 554 points, second-best in the 107-year history of Wolf basketball, was a First-Team selection, while Murdy, a two-way star, landed Second-Team honors.

CHS head coach Brad Sherman and assistants Greg White, Hunter Smith, and Randy Bottorff handed out the following awards:


Varsity awards:

Ryan Blouin – Hard Hat Award
Dominic Coffman – Four Year Award
Logan Downes – Offensive Player of the Year; Varsity Captain
Jonathan Valenzuela – Shot of the Year
Cole White – Defensive Player of the Year; Varsity Captain

Jonathan Valenzuela banked in a buzzer-beating three-ball to beat La Conner on the road, even with one eye partially closed. (Morgan White photo)


JV awards:

Hunter Bronec – Defensive Player of the Year
Aiden O’Neill – Hard Hat Award
Jack Porter – Offensive Player of the Year
David Somes – Exceptional Service Award
Thomas Studer – Exceptional Service Award


Varsity letter winners:

Chase Anderson
Ryan Blouin
Dominic Coffman
Jermiah Copeland
William Davidson
Logan Downes
Nick Guay
Alex Murdy
Zane Oldenstadt
Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim
Jonathan Valenzuela
Cole White


Hunter Bronec has places to be. (Chloe Marzocca photo)


Participation certificates:

Hunter Bronec
Hurlee Bronec
Carson Field
Camden Glover
Aiden O’Neill
Jack Porter
Johnny Porter
Landon Roberts
Yohannon Sandles
David Somes (Manager)
Malachi Somes
Thomas Studer (Manager)

Read Full Post »

Logan Downes lines up a shot. (Andrew Williams photo)

They earned the respect of rival hoops gurus.

Coming off a strong 14-9 season, two Coupeville High School boys’ basketball players were named to the All-Conference team by Northwest 2B/1B League coaches.

Junior Logan Downes, who averaged 23.2 points a night across 10 league contests, with a high of 40 against Orcas Island, was tabbed as a First-Team pick.

The Wolf gunner scored in double digits in every NWL game this season, tossing in 26+ five times against league foes.

Overall, Downes put together the second-best individual season in the 107-year history of CHS basketball, torching the nets for 554 points on his way to averaging 24.1 a game.

After twice scoring 40 in a game as a junior, he’s #15 on the Wolf boys career scoring chart, having splashed home 778 points.

Downes was joined on the 2022-2023 All-League team by senior Alex Murdy, who was tabbed as a Second-Team pick.

Alex Murdy slices up the defense. (Andrew Williams photo)

Closing his stellar prep career with a bang, Coupeville’s most aggressive defensive player averaged 10.7 points a night in league play, with a high of 17 against La Conner.

Capable of changing the flow of the game on both ends of the floor, Murdy scored 448 points during his time in a Wolf uniform.

Senior Diego Lago, who led Orcas Island to a 6th place finish at the 1B state tourney, was league MVP, while Vikings head man Ed Lago was named Coach of the Year.

Concrete won the Sportsmanship Award.


First-Team All-League:

Billy DeJong – Senior – Mount Vernon Christian
Logan Downes – Junior – Coupeville
Liam Millenaar – Senior – Mount Vernon Christian
Aidan Murray – Senior – Orcas Island
Braden Thomas – Senior – La Conner


Second-Team All-League:

Tommy Anderson-Cleveland – Senior – Orcas Island
Chris Gustafson – Junior – Friday Harbor
Alex Murdy – Senior – Coupeville
Isaiah Price – Senior – La Conner
Ben Rozema – Senior – Mount Vernon Christian


Honorable Mention:

Hunter Anderson – Freshman – Darrington
Adam Culver – Junior – Concrete
Colby Faber – Senior – Mount Vernon Christian

Read Full Post »

Logan Downes is chasing history, a point at a time. (Andrew Williams photo)

Next season could be history-making.

Nothing is ever set in stone — just ask the players who lost chunks of games to a pandemic — but when the 2023-2024 high school basketball season rolls around, we could see one of Coupeville’s biggest records fall.

After throwing down 554 points in 23 games as a junior — the second-best single-season performance in school history — Logan Downes has racked up 778 points in a Wolf uniform.

That puts him #15 all-time for a program launched in 1917, with a former teammate (Hawthorne Wolfe) and two of his coaches (Brad Sherman and Hunter Smith) among those still ahead of him.

Of course, there’s still Tom Sahli, sitting at #21 with the 719 points he compiled across his junior and senior seasons.

If we ever find stats for his sophomore campaign in 1951-1952, he likely jumps somewhere up around the top 10.

But while we continue to stalk the past, we also celebrate what we know for sure.

Toss in 360 points as a senior, and Downes tops Jeff Stone and Mike Bagby, who jointly hold the CHS boys career scoring title.

Now, to break the school scoring record — 1,549 by Brianne KingDownes would have to nearly double his current output.

But it’s not impossible.

Make a full run at the state tourney, play 26 games, average a hair under 30 points a night, and all the records fall.

No pressure.

Only time will tell, but that’s the allure of monitoring the scoring chart, watching players rise, writing new chapters in the tale of Wolf basketball.

There are nine active CHS players who have scored in a varsity game, and Downes is not the only one chasing history.

Cole White, droppin’ daggers. (Andrew Williams photo)

Cole White splashed home a three-ball to cap his junior season, giving him a crisp 200 career points, while a player to watch is Chase Anderson.

The fab frosh got increasingly more playing time as the season unfolded and finished with 55 points.

Two years ago, Downes — during a pandemic-shortened season — tallied 52 points as a freshman.

The scoring chart — it’s a living, breathing, ever-changing thing.

This is where it sits mid-day Feb. 20, 2023.


CHS boys’ basketball career scoring

BOLD = active player


Jeff Stone – 1137
Mike Bagby – 1137
Randy Keefe – 1088
Mike Criscoula – 1031
Jeff Rhubottom – 1012
Bill Riley – 934
Pete Petrov – 917
Brad Sherman – 874
Denny Clark – 869
Arik Garthwaite – 867

Bill Jarrell – 855
Hunter Smith – 847
Corey Cross – 811
Hawthorne Wolfe – 800
Logan Downes – 778
Jack Elzinga – 770
Barry Brown – 769
Hunter Hammer – 755
Steve Whitney – 730
Dan Nieder – 729

Tom Sahli – 719 (**MISSING SEASON**)
Chris Good – 688
Gavin Keohane – 677
Virgil Roehl – 674
Foster Faris – 668
Pat Bennett – 659
Wade Ellsworth – 659
Jason McFadyen – 654
Rich Morris – 637
Kramer O’Keefe – 636

Wiley Hesselgrave – 632
John O’Grady – 611
Greg White – 604
Denny Zylstra – 602
Joe Whitney – 601
Brian Miller – 597
Mike Syreen – 594
Gabe McMurray – 592
Pat Clark – 583
Randy Duggan – 552

Roy Marti – 551
Jim Syreen – 550
Marc Bissett – 549
Gary Hammons – 533
Jerry Zylstra – 527
Brad Miller – 526
Gary Faris – 524
JJ Marti – 520
Cody Peters – 518
David Lortz – 502

Jason Bagby – 499
Xavier Murdy – 482
Pat O’Grady – 472
Harold Buckner – 469
Sean Dillon – 469
Frank Marti – 462
Alex Murdy – 448
Del O’Shell – 440
Tony Ford – 432
Caleb Powell – 421

Mason Grove – 414
Ben Biskovich – 407
Casey Clark – 407
Nick Sellgren – 406
Blaine Ghormley – 393
Tom Logan – 385
James Smith – 382
Don Cook – 377
Chad Gale – 373
Mike Millenbach – 373

JD Wilcox – 373
Ty Blouin – 369
Caesar Kortuem – 369
Ray Harvey – 368
Pat Brown – 355
Dick Smith – 352
Ethan Spark – 352
Glenn Losey – 350
Timm Orsborn – 345
Robin Larson – 342

Byron Fellstrom – 340
Kevin Faris – 339
Michael Vaughan – 337
Jim Yake – 331
Aaron Trumbull – 330
Brad Brown – 328
Charlie Tessaro – 328
Utz Conard – 326
Ian Smith – 324
David Ford – 323

Bob Rea – 320
Chris Marti – 319
Gabe Wynn – 316
Nick Streubel – 314
Ben Hayes – 306
Allen Black – 305
Noah Roehl – 301
Blake Day – 299
Noel Criscoula – 298
John Beasley – 293

Risen Johnson – 291
Brian Fakkema – 290
Matt Frost – 290
Mike Mallo – 282
Keith Jameson – 277
Terry Roberts – 277
Kit Manzanares – 275
Boom Phomvongkoth – 275
Zepher Loesch – 274
Alex Evans – 272

Aaron Curtin – 271
Tyler King – 270
Joe Tessaro – 270
Eric Hopkins – 265
Harvey Wainio – 265
Rick Keefe – 259
Troy Blouin – 256
Sean Callahan – 256
Greg Fellstrom – 248
Richard Hammons – 248

Casey Larson – 247
Don Schreiber – 247
Brandon Huff – 245
Grady Rickner – 245
Brad Haslam – 235
Sean Toomey-Stout – 235
Geoff Hageman – 227
Curt Youderian – 226
Rich Vaughan – 219
Ed Wood – 219

Joel Walstad – 217
Richard Cook – 216
Ryan Keefe – 214
Jordan Ford – 210
Andrew Mouw – 204
Vance Huffman – 203
Tim Quenzer – 202
Cole White – 200
Alan Hancock – 198
Shawn Ryan – 197

Mitch Aparicio – 195
John Engstrom – 195
Trevor Tucker – 194
Roy Mattox – 191
Dale Sherman – 188
Scott Stuurmans – 188
Pat Millenbach – 181
Caleb Meyer – 179
Wayne Hardie – 178
Chris Cox – 177

Evan Tingstad – 177
Jerry VandWerfhorst – 177
Anthony Bergeron – 176
Mike Ankney – 173
Ron Naddy – 172
Dale Libbey – 169
Roger Sherman – 168
Tim Walstad – 168
Randy Blindauer – 166
Mark Bepler – 165

Chad Brookhouse – 163
Jered Brown – 156
Monty Moore – 155
Geoff Wacker – 154
Bill Baas – 153
Ulrik Wells – 152
Jim Faris – 151
Steve Konek – 149
Gavin O’Keefe – 149
Ryan McManigle – 148

Ryan Griggs – 147
Hugh Abell – 145
George Libbey – 142
Nick Guay – 136
Sandy Roberts – 134
Craig Anderson – 132
Scott Franzen – 129
Ben Etzell – 127
Gavin Knoblich – 126
Len Buckner – 125

Brian Shank – 125
Joey Lippo – 121
Jessie Smith – 119
Scott McGraw – 116
Christian Townsdin – 116
Mitch Pelroy – 115
Taylor Ebersole – 114
Eric Taylor – 112
Jim Casey – 111
Jacobi Pilgrim – 111

Jonathan Valenzuela – 110
Brian Barr – 108
Joe Donellon – 101
Jason McManigle – 101
Bryan Hamilton – 99
Brian Knoll – 98
Morgan Payne – 96
Christian Lyness – 95
Koa Davison – 94
Ted Weber – 91

Hunter Downes – 89
James Meek – 89
Dan Miller – 89
Steve Bissett – 87
Andrew Cashen – 87
Carson Risner – 86
John Sinema – 86
Nick Morris – 83
Dominic Coffman – 81
Logan Martin – 81

Roy Armstrong – 80
Cameron Toomey-Stout – 80
Caleb Valko – 78
Ross Buckner – 77
Matt Shank – 77
JJ Johnson – 76
Duane Score – 76
Quinten Farmer – 75
Matt Ortega – 75
Mike Ellsworth – 74

Don Spangler – 72
John Zimmerman – 72
Joe Bruzas – 71
Jason Fisher – 71
Tony Prosser – 70
Les Jacobson – 69
Tom Conard – 68
Dean Grasser – 68
Matt Bepler – 67
Zack Swerdfeger – 66

Ron Lanphere – 65
Sage Downes – 64
Ben Hancock – 63
Randy Stone – 63
Mike Brown – 62
Jason McDavid – 62
Jeremy Staples – 62
Brian Hageman – 61
Erik King – 61
David Davis – 60

Tom Mueller – 59
Brandy Ambrose – 58
Sam Kieth – 58
Steve Smith – 58
Martin Walsh – 58
Matt Helm – 57
Dennis Terrell – 57
Drew Chan – 56
DeAndre Mitchell – 56
Daniel Olson – 56

Ellis Schultz – 56
Dave Stoddard – 56
Chase Anderson – 55
CJ Smith – 54
Larry Zylstra – 54
Asa Owensby – 52
Marc Aparicio – 51
Chris Chan – 51
Joe Kelley – 51
Marvin Darst – 50

Troy Hurlburt – 49
Ryan Blouin – 48
Stanley Bruzas – 48
Dalton Engle – 48
Jerry Helm – 48
Dalton Martin – 47
Eddie Fasolo – 45
Doug Speers – 45
Banky Fisher – 44
Keith Dunnagan – 42

Gaylord Stidham – 41
Erick Harada – 40
James Jorgensen – 40
Nevin Miranda – 40
Jeff Thomas – 40
John Wyatt – 40
John Moskeland – 39
Danny Bonacci – 36
Chuck Ruthford – 36
Charlie Toth – 36

Jim Marti – 35
Zeb Williams – 35
Robert Cushen – 34
Dante Mitchell – 34
Sid Mudgett – 34
Dave Brandt – 33
Ryan Kelley – 33
Brian Roundy – 32
Richard Barber – 31
Joe Libbey – 31

Ray Cook – 29
Tim Leese – 29
Ralph Lindsay – 29
Kyle Rockwell – 29
Rick Marti – 28
Toby Martinez – 28
Daniel McDonald – 28
Joe Rojas – 28
Todd Smith – 28
Scott Sollars – 28

Richard Benson – 27
Mike Duke – 27
John Holmes – 26
Lewis Berry – 25
Mark Short – 25
Tim Youderian – 25
Jared Helmstadter – 24
Trent Diamanti – 23
Trevor Mueller – 22
Dan Schleiffers – 22

Jay Roberts – 21
Dustin Van Velkinburgh – 21
Matt Douglas – 20
Jordan Emerson – 20
Dane Lucero – 20
Dean Strom – 20
Scott Fisher – 19
Scott Losey – 19
Bud Merryman – 19
Matt Petrich – 19

Jason Raymond – 19
Rob Blouin – 18
Rick Keith – 18
Marvin Mitchell – 18
Guy Walker – 18
Gary Boyke – 17
Jim Keith – 17
Jean Lund-Olsen – 17
Cedric McIntosh – 17
TJ Rickner – 17

Rick Frieze – 16
Chad Nixon – 16
Josh Wilsey – 16
Steven Cope – 15
Eric Dyer – 15
Mike Lester – 15
Zane Oldenstadt – 15
Brad Rogers – 15
Henry Edwards – 14
Todd Brown – 13

DJ Kim – 13
LaVerne Arnold – 12
Mike Eaton – 12
Guy George – 12
Kole Kellison – 12
Glen Lanphere – 12
Desmond Bell – 11
Bill Hamilton – 11
Ken Pickard – 11
Jon Roberts – 11

Chris Squires – 11
Ben Winkes – 11
Jermiah Copeland – 10
Ron Edwards – 10
Travis Hooker – 10
Daniel Graham – 9
Kyle King – 9
Bruce Seiger – 9
Jimmy Sullivan – 9
Fred Wyatt – 9

Erik Anderson – 8
Dave Bowers – 8
Rob Fasolo – 8
Kraig Gordon – 8
Cody Roberts – 8
Robert Shafer – 8
Dave Wells – 8
Charlie Cook – 7
William Davidson – 7
Bobby Engle – 7

Brian Folkestad – 7
Wayne Hesselgrave – 7
Ed Cook – 6
Tucker Hall – 6
Chuck Hardee – 6
Kevin King – 6
Robert Kirkwood – 6
George Smith – 6
Nic Anthony – 5
Ariah Bepler – 5

Scott Davidson – 5
JD Myers – 5
Nate Steele – 5
Andrew Bird – 4
Bill Boze – 4
Miles Davidson – 4
Ralph Engle – 4
Jason Legat – 4
Mikey Robinett – 4
Morgan Roehl – 4

Rusty Bailey – 3
Luke Currier – 3
Frank Mueller – 3
Tracy Wilson – 3
Teo Benson – 2
Hunter Bronec – 2
Norm Enders – 2
Chris Locke – 2
Jeremy McCormick – 2
Rich McCormick – 2

Denny Moss – 2
Tony Sherman – 2
Marion Sill – 2
Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim – 2
Stephen Stietenroth – 2
Robbie Wanamaker – 2
Paul Baher – 1
Bill Engle – 1
Robert Engle – 1
Bob Franzen – 1

Meryl Gordon – 1
Oscar Liquidano – 1
Raleigh Sherman – 1

Read Full Post »

The present and the future, as Wolf gunner Logan Downes inspires a young Coupeville hoops star. (Angie Downes photo)

For a brief, shining moment, the unthinkable became possible.

But then it was gone.

Trailing by 18 points entering the fourth quarter Saturday, the Coupeville High School boys’ basketball squad almost pulled off a comeback for the ages.

Ripping off 13 straight points thanks to a ferocious defense, the Wolves made visiting Auburn Adventist Academy flinch, and flinch hard, but the Falcons regrouped and closed out a 64-53 win.

The bi-district playoff victory sends the private school ballers to the 2B state tourney, while Coupeville falls a win shy of making a return trip to the big dance.

The Wolves, who snapped a 34-year state tourney dry spell last season, finish 14-9 and can return eight of the 12 players on this year’s final varsity roster.

Not making state stings, especially since CHS had two cracks at punching their ticket, but also lost to La Conner on a disputed game-ending call two nights ago.

But not returning to Spokane isn’t unusual, as half of last year’s 16-team field, including defending state champ Liberty (Spangle) didn’t earn an invite this season.

Kalama (3rd last season), Colfax (4th), Toutle Lake, Ilwaco, River View, and Mabton also missed out, with Kalama crashing to 2-18 after losing a large group of seniors.

Coupeville also took a hit in graduation, losing six players from the squad which went 16-2 last season, but the Wolves never bottomed out.

After opening with a series of games against 2A and 1A foes, Brad Sherman’s squad won the two-day Cascade Hoops Classic in Leavenworth, bouncing always-tough Kittitas and Manson.

The Wolves hit a smooth groove in the middle of the season, winning 11 of 13 games at one point, including one in which Jonathan Valenzuela banked in a game-winning buzzer-beater three-ball to knife La Conner on its home court.

Saturday’s winner-to-state, loser-out game pitted the two #1 seeds in the District 1/2 tourney, after La Conner shocked the hoops world by upending both Auburn and Coupeville to get back to state for the first time since 2019.

The Wolves and Falcons played a non-conference game Feb. 2 in Auburn, with Coupeville winning 58-52 as Logan Downes scored 32 of his game-high 40 points in the second half.

Like in that first contest, CHS fell behind by 13 points in the first half, though this time the deficit was achieved in a much-quicker, more-shocking manner.

As in the Wolves fell behind 13-0 while having considerable trouble cracking Auburn’s slap-happy full-court press.

Coupeville didn’t put a point on the board until freshman Chase Anderson drained a pair of free throws at the 3:26 mark of the first quarter, enduring being hit in the head as he crashed to the hoop.

Chase Anderson, only a freshman, provided a huge burst of energy and defensive scrappiness for Coupeville this season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wolves first field goal finally found the bottom of the net with less than two minutes to go in the opening frame, with Nick Guay popping a shot off a feed from Anderson.

The fab frosh came right back around with a bucket off of an offensive rebound, followed by baskets from Downes and Valenzuela, and the comeback was seemingly launched.

If someone walked into the gym right as the second quarter started, with Auburn clinging to an 18-12 lead, they would have had little idea of the carnage which came before.

That second frame was a slugfest, often quite literally, as both teams picked up a string of fouls, and things got chippy.

Coupeville got within four, Auburn surged back to a 10-point lead, then the Wolves hit four straight free throws — with two courtesy a technical foul called on the visiting coach — to cut things down to 29-23.

Unfortunately for home fans, the Falcons plunged a dagger in, as an Auburn guard slipped through a crowd of players and splashed home a three-ball which hit the floor right as the halftime buzzer shrieked to life.

That bitter taste on the back of the tongue carried over into the third quarter for the Wolves, as they struggled to put points on the board.

The best moment of the night came on a wild play in which Downes shot cross-court to outrun a rival for a ball after it was poked loose.

Somehow snagging the madly bouncing orb a step away from going out of bounds, the Wolf junior zipped a pass to Cole White in the far right corner while balanced, barely, on one foot.

Flicking the ball skyward, Coupeville’s wiry junior point guard splashed home his shot, the trey giving him exactly 200 career points with a season left to play.

Other than that, though, and William Davidson and White drawing offensive charging fouls on Falcon ballhandlers, the third quarter was a largely barren wasteland for the Wolves.

Outscored 16-7 in the frame, with Auburn knocking down a trio of three-balls, Coupeville headed to the fourth trailing 48-30 and in dire straits.

Cue up the gut-check defensive stand, as Sherman’s pack came out howling for blood.

Forcing numerous turnovers in the backcourt and converting most of them into wham-bam buckets, the Wolves ripped off 13 unanswered points to open the quarter.

Downes and senior Alex Murdy, who has spilled considerable blood, sweat, and tears as Coupeville’s primary defensive stopper, both rattled home six points during the surge.

The packed CHS gym was rockin’, with the road fans making a fair amount of noise in response to the hyped-up Wolf faithful, and LL Cool J seemed about ready to pop up at midcourt, mic in hand.

“Don’t call it a comeback, just call it a win.”

Except, this time around, Auburn didn’t wilt under the pressure.

Unlike in the first meeting, when the Falcons cracked down the stretch, this time they remained tough and resilient.

Auburn’s seventh, and final, three-ball of the night pushed the lead back to eight, and Coupeville was unable to put together back-to-back buckets at any point in the game’s final four minutes.

For a game in which seemingly every player finished with three or four fouls, there actually wasn’t an extraordinary number of free throws shot, though the Falcons did hit the ones they needed at the end.

Coupeville sank more charity shots — 15 of 25 to Auburn’s 13 of 18 — but left a chunk of points on the edge of the rim.

The playoff loss marked the final appearance for Wolf seniors Dominic Coffman, Jermiah Copeland, Valenzuela, and Murdy.

Alex Murdy (left) and Dominic Coffman played key roles in the rebirth of Wolf boys’ basketball. (Chloe Marzocca photo)

Downes paced the Wolves with a game-high 24 points, with Murdy netting all nine of his points in the fourth quarter.

Anderson (8), Guay (4), White (3), Coffman (2), Valenzuela (2), and Davidson (1) also scored, with Ryan Blouin working hard as a press-breaker.

Murdy, a terror on offense and defense during his Wolf career, finishes with 448 points.

Alex and older sibling Xavier, who scored 482 before graduating last spring, are one of just eight pairs of brothers to both top 400 points during the 106-year run of CHS boys’ basketball.

His running mate, Downes, caps one of the most remarkable seasons put together by a Coupeville hoops star.

The youngest of Angie and Ralph’s three sons scorched the nets for 554 points in 23 games — a hair over 24 points a night — while compiling the second-best single-season total by a Wolf player, boy or girl.

Logan’s junior season trails only Jeff Stone, who scored 644 as a senior in 1969-1970.

The previous #2 scorer was Jeff Rhubottom, who knocked down 459 points in 1977-1978.

Career-wise, Downes sits with 778 points, putting him #15 all-time on the CHS boys’ chart.

He passed Hunter Hammer (755), Barry Brown (769), and Jack Elzinga (770) Saturday, and will enter his senior season needing 360 points to catch Stone and Mike Bagby, who are tied at #1 with 1,137 points apiece.

While that duo tops the boys’ chart, Brianne King, who rained down 1,549 points between 1999-2003, is the undisputed school scoring champ.


Final season scoring stats:

Logan Downes – 554
Alex Murdy – 242
Cole White – 161
Nick Guay – 130
Jonathan Valenzuela – 85
Dominic Coffman – 60
Chase Anderson – 55
Ryan Blouin – 48
Zane Oldenstadt – 12
Jermiah Copeland – 10
William Davidson – 7
Mikey Robinett – 4
Hunter Bronec – 2
Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim – 2

Read Full Post »

All three Coupeville vs. La Conner boys’ basketball games this year were tense brawls. (Bailey Thule photo)

All the emotions were on display.

Elation. Despair. And a whole lot of confusion.

Trapped in a packed gym with two rabid cheering sections operating at a full-throated roar for two hours-plus, Coupeville and La Conner waged a magnificent, sometimes confounding boys’ basketball playoff thriller Thursday night.

In the aftermath the Braves, somewhat improbably, claimed the District 1/2 tourney crown and the program’s 43rd trip to state — even though they will carry a losing record to the big dance.

On the other side, the host Wolves, who beat La Conner twice during the regular season, were dazed, but not KO’d.

Brad Sherman’s squad, which fell 63-61 after a gut-punch final few seconds, return to their own gym Saturday to face Auburn Adventist Academy in a 6:45 PM rumble.

Beat the Falcons, who they thunked on the road earlier this season, and the Wolves punch a return ticket to state after breaking a 34-year dry spell last season.

Lose Saturday and they are done.

Coupeville will carry a 14-8 record to the floor Saturday, while La Conner, which is just 11-12, awaits the release of the state brackets Sunday afternoon.

The Braves reached the promised land dropping eight three-balls, coming up with countless key rebounds, and, in the moment, getting two free throws from Braden Thomas with 0:00.4 of a second to play.

After leading for most of the game, but never able to pull away, Coupeville fell behind by six points late in the fourth quarter.

Thanks to La Conner clanking five free throws in the final 25 seconds, while the Wolves netted all four of their charity shots, CHS still had a chance to send the game to overtime on the final possession of the game.

Thundering up-court under heavy pressure, Wolf junior Logan Downes drilled the bottom of the net out with a pull-up jumper, and mass confusion reigned.

With the refs (and fans) in disagreement over whether it was a three-ball (to tie) or a two-point shot fired up from just inside the arc — but action not stopping — La Conner inbounded the ball.

Thomas was fouled a millisecond before the buzzer rang out, by a Wolf defender who likely believed he needed to stop the clock if Downes shot was being counted as a two.

Unlike several of his teammates, who were undone by the screams of the Wolf faithful as they rimmed out their free throws, Thomas never flinched, sliding both of his gift shots through the net.

That left the Wolves with less than a second on the clock and few options, with a baseball-style pass the length of the court sailing up, up, and away as La Conner’s fans went berserk.

While the final seconds provided the final score, the Braves won the game earlier in the fourth quarter.

After trailing from midway through the second quarter until midway through the fourth — but never by more than eight points — La Conner came up huge in crunch time.

The Braves hit four of their eight treys in the final frame, and the real killer was two of those three-balls were set up by offensive rebounds.

Coupeville fought doggedly all night, but La Conner had an uncanny ability to win 50/50 balls at the end, and it stung.

The Braves pulled ahead 47-46 on a jumper from Isaiah Price, taking their first lead since 20-18, then stretched their advantage out to 56-50.

The one thing keeping Coupeville in the game was the play of Cole White, who went off for all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter.

And they weren’t easy buckets, as the wiry junior guard hit three jumpers while surrounded by defenders, converted an offensive board into a bucket, and drained both of his late-game free throws.

White’s charity shots pulled the Wolves to within 58-56, while Downes went the length of the floor, slashing between bodies for a layup to make it 60-58.

Logan Downes finds the bottom of the net. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

When La Conner split a pair of free throws with 10.4 seconds to play, that set up the frantic finale.

The game started intense, and never let up.

Coupeville jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead, only to have the Braves pop a trio of three-balls to get back in the game.

Alex Murdy slapped home nine points in the opening quarter, while Downes rang up five more, but La Conner tied things at 16-16 when Thomas netted three free throws with no time on the clock after being fouled on a three-ball attempt.

After a little back-and-forth to open the second quarter, Coupeville seized the lead at 21-20 when Downes drilled a three-ball, then briefly stretched its advantage out to six points before heading into the half up 31-27.

Murdy was a rampaging two-way warrior in the first half, but the Wolves also got big moments from everyone on the floor.

From Dominic Coffman draining free throws, to freshman Chase Anderson knocking down a breakaway bucket set up by a Murdy steal, to Jonathan Valenzuela pulling off an impressive airborne steal and bucket combo, the highlight reel was full.

The third quarter was the lowest-scoring frame of the night, as the two teams circled each other, punching and counterpunching.

Downes rang up all nine of Coupeville’s points, while Murdy delivered a tooth-rattling block, but La Conner closed on a 6-0 mini-run to pull back within 40-38.

That set up a fourth quarter full of offense, with the team’s combining for 46 points in the final eight minutes.

And, depending on which side of the gym you were sitting on, vastly different emotional states as you exited in search of your car.

For Wolf head coach Brad Sherman, who spent his first moments post-game the way all coaches should — getting hugs from his pack of young sons — there was a trace of disappointment, but much more pride.

“Our boys played their hearts out tonight,” he said.

“Tough loss. But that’s basketball – sometimes it doesn’t go our way.

“I told them to come in tomorrow with heads high, ready to get right back to work,” Sherman added. “And knowing them that’s exactly what they are going to do.

“They have shown resilience at every turn this season and they’ll do it again.”

How close was this brawl? Both big threes combined to score exactly 51 points.

For La Conner, that was Ivory Damien with 19, Thomas with 18, and Price with 14.

For Coupeville, Downes rippled the nets for a game-high 26, with Murdy knocking down 15, and White closing hard with his 10.

Valenzuela (4), Nick Guay (2), Coffman (2), and Anderson (2) rounded out Coupeville’s scoring attack, with William Davidson and Ryan Blouin also seeing floor time.

With his 26 points, Downes rises to 754 and counting for his three-year career, pushing past Dan Nieder (729) and Steve Whitney (730) to move into 18th place all-time for a program launched in 1917.

Heading into Saturday’s game, he is a bucket away from toppling #17 Hunter Hammer (755), with #16 Barry Brown (769) and #15 Jack Elzinga (770) not far off.

Further down the career scoring list, Guay’s first-quarter free throws lifts him to 132 points, pushing him into a tie with Craig Anderson.

That’s notable — for me at least — since Anderson is both an assistant coach for the Wolves and the dad of the aforementioned fab frosh Chase.

106 seasons of Wolf basketball, so many hidden connections.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »