Archive for the ‘Boys Basketball’ Category

Gavin Knoblich knocked down six points Friday as Coupeville basketball returned to the floor after a 12-day holiday break. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The “Showdown in Shoreline” was decidedly one-sided.

None of the Coupeville High School basketball teams have played in 12 days, and their welcome-back present Friday was a road match-up with powerhouse King’s.

It did not go especially well on the scoreboard.

By the time things were done and the bus was headed back to Whidbey, the Wolves had absorbed five losses in as many games.

But, every game is a lesson and tomorrow is another day, as they say.

How things played out:


Girls varsity:

The game was a showdown for sole possession of first-place in the North Sound Conference, but one team was a little more oiled-up.

King’s, a tall, athletic team led by all-universe freshman Jada Wynn, was coming off four wins in four games at a holiday tournament in California, and the Knights jumped out to a 15-0 lead Friday en route to a 50-17 win.

With the loss, the Wolves (2-1 in league play, 4-6 overall) slip into a second-place tie with Cedar Park Christian (2-1, 5-5), a game back of King’s (3-0, 8-3).

Coupeville travels to Bothell Tuesday, giving it a prime shot to bounce back and knock CPC down a rung.

While the final score was lopsided, CHS coach David King liked chunks of what he witnessed.

“We came into the game ready to compete,” he said. “Our defensive effort was present all game; in the second quarter we caused a 30-second violation and Lindsey (Roberts) also had a highlight-reel block.

“We did a lot of good things on defense, still have some things to correct,” he added. “But, it’s things we can correct.”

Trailing 15-0 at the first break, the Wolves came back and put together a solid effort in the second quarter, holding King’s to just a 16-10 advantage.

The second frame was a battle of the stars, with Wynn tossing in nine of her game-high 17, while Roberts answered with seven of her team-best nine.

Another bagel job in the third (11-0) hurt, but Coupeville closed strongly, edged just 8-7 in the fourth quarter.

David King praised his team, which fought through any rustiness and showed admirable chippiness.

“The starters led us the whole game with their energy and never-quit attitude,” he said. “Our reserves gave us some great minutes all game long, as well.

Avalon (Renninger) was aggressive on both ends of the court, while Tia (Wurzrainer) brought us a good spark on the defensive end,” King added.

Nicole (Laxton) is establishing herself as a very good rebounder; I never like losing, but this game showed me we will compete with the very good teams and can and will get better.”

The nine points for Roberts pushes her career total to 399, leaving her a free-throw shy of becoming the 24th Wolf girl to top 400.

Renninger knocked down four points in support, Ema Smith swished a three-ball and Scout Smith slipped a free-throw through the net to top off the scoring effort.

Hannah Davidson hauled in five boards for CHS, while Chelsea Prescott and Ja’Kenya Hoskins also saw floor time.


Boys varsity:

King’s rained down 11 three-balls, with seven different players netting a trey, as it cruised in with a 76-23 win.

The loss drops the Wolves to 0-2 in league play, 1-8 overall.

They currently sit fifth in the six-team conference, a half-game up on Granite Falls (0-3, 2-9), which they host Tuesday night.

Coupeville couldn’t get much to drop in the opening quarter Friday, digging a 16-2 hole it couldn’t recover from.

The Wolves best performance came in the second frame, when they went for almost half of their points on the night, dropping in 11 of 23.

Gavin Knoblich paced CHS with four in the quarter, finishing in a tie with Hawthorne Wolfe for top scoring honors with six for the game.

Wolfe netted both of Coupeville’s three-balls, hitting one in the second and another in the fourth.

Jered Brown (4), Jacobi Pilgrim (2), Mason Grove (2), Sean Toomey-Stout (2) and Ulrik Wells (1) also scored, while Dane Lucero chipped in with rebounding and hustle.

King’s, which sits atop the league at 3-0, a half-game up on South Whidbey (2-0), got points from all 12 of the players on its roster, with Tyler Linhardt leading the way with 19.


Girls JV:

Facing a team which shot (and made) a lot of three-balls, Coupeville fell 49-14.

The Wolf young guns fall to 2-1 in league play, 4-5 overall, heading into a JV-only match-up Monday at Oak Harbor.

While her team went scoreless in the first quarter, falling behind 12-0, CHS coach Amy King liked that her squad never fell to pieces.

“Everyone kept working,” she said. “We got a number of shots up that just didn’t fall.

“We worked to slow them down and give no uncontested layups, and we accomplished that,” King added. “It’s about heart, not paying attention to the score, and being a team.

The Wolves finally broke through on the scoreboard when Anya Leavell went coast-to-coast for a bucket after snatching a rebound on the defensive end of the floor.

Leavell added a three-ball to account for a team-high five points, while Izzy Wells knocked down four, Audrianna Shaw drilled a trey and Kiara Contreras popped for two to round out the scoring.

The bucket from Contreras was set up by a “sweet offensive rebound and dish” from teammate Abby Mulholland.

Wells paced the Wolves with nine rebounds and two assists, while Ja’Kenya Hoskins rejected a pair of Knights shots.

Lily Leedy, Morgan Stevens, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, Alana Mihill and Mollie Bailey all saw floor time to round out the active roster.


Boys JV:

The first three quarters were brutal, but Coupeville rebounded to win the fourth-quarter battle in a 63-19 loss.

The Wolves slip to 0-2 in league play, 4-5 overall.

Trailing 50-3 after going scoreless in the first and third quarters, CHS closed the game with a 16-13 surge across the final eight minutes.

With six different players scoring in the fourth, the Wolves held off a Knights team which kept its top scorer on the floor in the final quarter, providing a nice finish to a rough night.

Xavier Murdy paced Coupeville with six points, popping for five in the final frame, while Sage Downes (4), Daniel Olson (3), Cody Roberts (3), Tucker Hall (2) and Grady Rickner (1) also scored.

Gibby Marshall led King’s with 23, getting 11 of those in the fourth.

Coupeville’s active roster also included Chris Ruck, Logan Martin, TJ Rickner, and Miles Davidson, who all saw floor time.


Boys C-Team:

Coupeville came out extremely-cold and lost 60-3 to a very-efficient Knights squad.

The defeat drops the young Wolves to 0-1 in league play, 0-4 overall, the score-book was lost to the sands of time, and that’s pretty much all we’re going to say about that.

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Hawthorne Wolfe is on pace to score more points than any freshman in the 102-year history of CHS varsity boys basketball. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Hawthorne Wolfe is on the verge of gettin’ all historical on us.

The Coupeville High School freshman has only played eight basketball games in high school, yet he’s on target to do something only a select few have accomplished.

The 2018-2019 season is the 102nd for the Wolf boys basketball program, and the 45th for the CHS girls.

During those previous 145 seasons, only nine players – five girls and four boys – have scored 100+ points in varsity action during their freshman season.

Barring a major plot twist, Wolfe is about to become #10, and could easily finish with the best point total ever achieved by a freshman boy.

Through the first eight games of the season, the young gunner has been a crack shot from behind the three-point arc, while also showing a refreshing willingness to drive the ball to the hoop, forcing his defenders back on their heels.

Wolfe was the leading scorer on opening night, with nine points, and his 18 on the road at Orcas Island is the most any Coupeville varsity boy has tallied this season.

So, it comes as little surprise he sits atop his team’s scoring chart with 84 points as we leave 2018 behind.

That puts him well ahead of his veteran teammates, as juniors Sean Toomey-Stout (48), Ulrik Wells (46), Mason Grove (44) and Jered Brown (40) fill the #2-5 slots currently.

Averaging 10.5 a night, Wolfe has nine games left in the regular season, with the hope of playoff action arriving to stretch out the campaign.

If he keeps at his current pace he would have 178 points heading into the postseason, which would be the best-ever point total for a Coupeville freshman boy, and third-best in school history.

Even if Wolfe were to rapidly fade, which doesn’t seem likely, barring an injury or alien abduction, he needs less than a basket a game the rest of the way to hit the magical 1-0-0.

And it is magical, as so few in school history have accomplished the feat.

Why it’s been achieved so infrequently comes down to several things, actually.

Some of the greatest scorers in school history – Jeff Stone, Randy Keefe and Bill Jarrell, for three – were simply prevented from playing varsity basketball as freshmen because they suited up in the late ’60s through mid-’70s.

That was a time period when 9th graders weren’t eligible to play high school basketball, with Coupeville having a junior high instead of the current middle school system.

Other net-burners didn’t make an immediate impact as freshman for varied reasons.

Brad Sherman, who is now Wolfe’s coach, spent his first year on the JV, yet still managed to ring up 874 points in his remaining three years, eighth-best in program history.

Then there are all-time greats who got some varsity floor time as freshmen, but because of a glut of solid upperclassmen, or a coach leery of throwing the youngsters into the fray, had limited impact their first time out.

There’s Hunter Smith, who scored just three points as a frosh, before ringing up seasons of 130 (while sitting out a chunk of games with an injury), 332 and 382.

Or, Corey Cross (4, 211, 333, 263), Denny Clark (5, 180, 319, 365), Pete Petrov (13, 188, 442, 274) or Greg White (18, 194, 131, 261).

If there’s a common theme among the nine Wolves who broke 100 points as a freshman, it’s that, with one exception, they turned out to be Coupeville legends.

Three of the four boys sit among the top 10 career scorers, while the five girls account for #1, #2, #3, #4, and #6 on the all-time points chart.

But there were a lot of greats who didn’t get that chance to soar as a frosh, so talent alone is not the whole story.

Also important is simply getting a chance to play.

The one outlier in this group, Taylor Ebersole, was a starter from day one thanks partly to his freshman season of 2011-2012 being a complete rebuilding season.

Longtime coach Randy King had just retired after 20 seasons at the helm of the Wolf program, and new coach Anthony Smith was left with painfully few veterans. Therefore, why not play any talented kids?

And who knows what Ebersole might have accomplished if he had stayed at CHS, instead of transferring to La Conner after the Wolves went win-less in his freshman season?

The Ebersole scenario is somewhat similar to what Zenovia Barron encountered in 1994-1995 and Wolfe is benefiting from this season.

Coupeville’s girls went 1-19 the year before Barron moved to the high school, and the roster was wide open when she blew the door down on day one.

The 2017-2018 CHS boys were much better than the 93-94 girls, winning seven games, but they graduated six of their top seven scorers, headed up by Hunter Smith, who finished #12 in program history.

So when Wolfe came bounding on the court for the first day of practice, he had a better shot at making the roster and making an immediate impact than some others in the past.

Like say, Petrov, who, as talented as he was at 14, joined a team where six veteran players scored between 238 points (Brad Miller) and 100 (Boom Phomvongkoth) during his freshman season.

Or Sherman, who starred on the JV while the top five varsity guys in 1999-2000 singed the nets for between 340 (Pat Bennett) and 129 (Noah Roehl).

So, it’s one part talent, one part having a nose for scoring, and one huge part opportunity, which ultimately unite Wolfe and the select group he’s about to crash.

And that group, in full?


CHS players who scored 100 varsity points as a freshman:

Brianne King — (275 in 1999-2000) — (Career – 1549 – #1 girls)
Zenovia Barron — (242 in 1994-1995) — (Career – 1270 – #2 girls)
Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby — (163 in 1998-1999) — (Career – 892 – #6 girls)
Megan Smith — (161 in 2006-2007) — (Career – 1042 – #4 girls)
Mike Bagby — (137 in 2002-2003) — (Career – 1137 – tied for #1 boys)
Makana Stone — (116 in 2012-2013) — (Career – 1158 – #3 girls)
Mike Criscuola — (115 in 1956-1957) — (Career – 979 – #5 boys)
Taylor Ebersole — (114 in 2011-2012) — (Career – 114 – #157 boys)
Arik Garthwaite — (109 in 1994-1995) — (Career – 867 – #10 boys)

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Thanks to a time machine, Kit Manzanares (left) returns, still in his prime, to clash with Wiley Hesselgrave. (Photos by Geoff Newton (left) and JohnsPhotos.net)

Who’s ready for some holiday angina?

There are no new basketball games until Jan. 4, so perfect time for some know-it-all in the bleachers to start ranking current and former players, and debating who would be better in their prime.

Sadly, I was too young to experience the glory days of Coupeville boys basketball in the ’70s, and I spent 1994-2009 marinating in video store life, thereby missing another pretty good run of hoops highlights.

What that leaves us is a showdown between two time periods when I was actively invested in following CHS basketball, game by game, player by player.

My first run, from Jan. 1990 through the end of the 93-94 hoops season, is my Whidbey News-Times days.

My second run covers the 2012-2013 season to today, and is my Coupeville Sports days.

With that in mind, my picks for 10-man teams (delivered in alphabetic order), plus a wild card for each squad.

And, of course, since we’re in the business of creating arguments, my prediction for who would win if both teams, in their primes, met on the hardwood.



Ben Biskovich – The Scottie Pippen of his generation, a star willing to do all the little things to make everyone around him better.

Ross Buckner – Would run through a wall for you, and tried, more than once.

Sean Dillon – Could get you buckets any time, any place, any way.

Frank Marti – Hard-nosed defender who could go off on offense at will.

Jason McFadyen – Cerebral floor leader who was one of the best pure shooters in program history.

Brad Haslam – The most imposing player I have seen in a CHS uniform, ever. A man, never a boy.

Kit Manzanares – Confounding and electrifying. Often came close to giving his coach a stroke, but could bring the heat like few others.

Gabe McMurray – A genuine superstar who could control a game like few other Wolves, before or after.

Brad Miller – Big, bad and bald (thanks to a shaved head) – a scary man to run into down in the paint.

Virgil Roehl – A rock, an absolute rock. Pulled the Wolves through a down period by putting them on his muscular shoulders.

Wild Card: Pete Petrov

Now, we know he became one of the most dynamic players in CHS hoops history – an explosive scorer and world-class physical specimen.

But, if we’re playing fair, he only saw the floor in a handful of varsity games during his freshman season in ’93-’94.

If I stay at the News-Times another year, Petrov is a slam dunk to make the team. But I didn’t, so he didn’t.



Anthony Bergeron – He blossomed from a quiet bystander to being his team’s leading scorer, and dunker, by his senior year.

Aaron Curtin – Sweet shooter, quality passer, hard worker. Baseball and tennis were his calling cards, but don’t underestimate his hoops skills.

Ben Etzell – An epic collector of bruises, gashes and black eyes, as he hurtled around the gym, refusing to believe he couldn’t catch up to every single loose ball and wayward rebound.

Jordan Ford – Blue collar warrior who got most of his points off of rebounds and hustle plays. Old school work ethic in a new school player.

Wiley Hesselgrave – Tough as they came; played like a bull careening through the streets of Pamplona, goring all the idiots who dared get in his way.

Risen Johnson – Electrifying barely begins to describe his floor style, where he was always one step away from disaster, one step away from nirvana.

Gavin O’Keefe – Injuries decimated huge chunks of his career, but when he was healthy, he was a gunner who hustled on every play.

Hunter Smith – A killer in every aspect, his game would work in any era. Made everyone around him better, every night.

Ethan Spark – One of the most dangerous shooters in program history, a guy who could knife you from any angle at any time.

Nick Streubel – Football big man who cleared a path of destruction in the paint while showing a deceptively soft touch on his shots.

Wild Card: Hawthorne Wolfe

A mere freshman, he leads Coupeville’s varsity in scoring, explodes with potential while redefining laid-back cool, and I could easily see him ending his career camped among the legends.

He also has yet to play 10 games of high school ball.

Come back in three years and we’ll have this conversation again.


Who wins:

OK, this is not played today. Instead, this is a mythical game, where, thanks to time travel, all players are in their high school primes and step on the court at 17 or 18 years old.


Old school beats the crud out of new school, and I mean that in two ways.

The ’90s guys were just far more physical, top to bottom, and the modern-day guys would have major trouble dealing with big, bad brutes like Brad Haslam, Brad Miller and Virgil Roehl.

Nick Streubel would not be easily moved, Jordan Ford is severely underrated for how effective he was in the paint, and Wiley Hesselgrave is as tough as any player, ever, but I saw the Brads play live.

They were scary dudes in a way no modern Wolf player approaches. When they walked on the court, rival players started wincing before tip-off.

Also, while Hunter Smith is the top scorer in this scenario – finishing 12th all-time among Wolf boys in career points — the older crew has far more genuine scoring threats.

Gabe McMurray was a beast, Jason McFadyen could torch you from any place on the floor and Roehl was a tower of power who dominated on the offensive glass.

The young guys have Hesselgrave, but he was more a grinder than a streak scorer, and Ethan Spark, while a great shooter, would be catching elbows to the chin all game from the ’90s guys.

I don’t think it would necessarily be a blowout, but if I’m betting a crisp fiver on the result, I know where my money goes.

It goes on the old school bruisers.

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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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