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Archive for the ‘Boys Basketball’ Category

Sean Toomey-Stout, seen in an earlier game, scored a game-high 14 Saturday, but Coupeville fell short of qualifying for the playoffs. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They went down, but not without a fight.

The season ended abruptly Saturday for the Coupeville High School boys basketball team, but a squad which can return 11 of 12 varsity players, including its top nine scorers, seems to be on the cusp of something big.

The Wolves wanted to make the playoffs, but it wasn’t to be, after back-to-back losses to Granite Falls, coming in two different towns over a 20-hour period, eliminated CHS a win shy of the postseason.

After falling on the road Friday in the regular season finale, Coupeville returned home Saturday, only to come up short again versus the Tigers, losing 52-38.

The loss, coming in a tiebreaker game to decide the fifth, and final, playoff berth from the North Sound Conference, leaves the Wolves final record at 2-16.

Which is a bit deceptive.

After graduating every starter, Coupeville had six players make their varsity debut this year, with freshman Hawthorne Wolfe emerging as the team’s leading scorer.

While the Wolves racked up a string of losses, they were competitive virtually every time on the floor, and were a team which often played hardest when trailing.

CHS coach Brad Sherman preached not giving in, not giving up, continuing to fight regardless of the odds, and his players listened.

And that showed Saturday, as a rough opening could have sucked the life out of the Wolves. Instead, they delivered maybe their most-stirring comeback of the season.

Perhaps Coupeville’s players were a bit road-weary after getting home in the early hours of Saturday morning, then returning to the gym to coach youth basketball teams, all before pulling on their own uniforms again for a 5 PM start.

Or, maybe there was a breeze in the CHS gym, blowing the ball off its intended path.

Whatever the answer, Coupeville couldn’t buy a bucket for much of the first half Saturday, falling behind 9-0. Eventually, the deficit billowed all the way out to 23-4 with under a minute to go until halftime.

A Jered Brown jumper in the first quarter and a Sean Toomey-Stout rumble to the hoop for a second-quarter bucket were all the Wolves could get to drop, and things looked bleak.

CHS finally found a spark, though, right at the end of the second quarter, with Mason Grove burying a three-ball from the right side, followed by Toomey-Stout snatching a deflected rebound and scooting up the floor for a quick pull-up shot right before the buzzer.

The 5-0 mini-surge, and whatever Vince Lombardi-style speech Sherman delivered in the locker room, seemed to do the trick, as the Wolves looked like a vastly different team in the second half.

Coupeville busted out a 15-5 tear across the eight-minute third quarter, cutting the lead all the way back to 28-24, and Granite seemed genuinely shaken.

Multiple Tiger players spent more time complaining to the refs than playing defense and the Wolves took advantage, reeling off one bucket after another.

CHS big man Ulrik Wells opened the run with a soft lil’ jumper under pressure, Toomey-Stout closed the surge by drilling the bottom out of the net with another pull-up, and, in between, Wolfe and Jered Brown both nailed crowd-pleading three-balls from great distance.

And the Wolves didn’t stop there, as Toomey-Stout, who spent the game out-leaping, out-sprinting and out-muscling everyone in sight, took the ball coast to coast for a layup to open the fourth quarter.

A student section which had grown in size as the game developed was on its feet, the collar on the Granite coach’s shirt was getting way too tight, and all the momentum had shifted.

But then things went South.

Kellen Webb, who had been little more than a role player in the first two games the teams played, suddenly decided to become Kobe Bryant reincarnated.

Going off for all 12 of his team-high points in the fourth, the Granite sophomore scorched Coupeville for a three-ball to push the lead back to five, then capped an ensuing 11-0 Tiger run with a second trey.

After fighting so hard to get back from 19 down, Coupeville found a two-point deficit shoved back out to 13 in the seeming blink of an eye, and it was staggering.

But not a total killer.

The Wolves, refusing to believe their season was ending, actually mounted a second rally, cutting the lead back to 42-36 when Toomey-Stout rippled the net on a three-ball from the top of the arc.

That capped a 10-3 run in which post player Jacobi Pilgrim dropped a pair of free throws, then yanked down a rebound and shot up the right side for his own coast-to-coast bucket, eliciting squeals from his coaches.

Toomey-Stout, who has a heart the size of a large galaxy, and played like it Saturday, opened the second rally with a three-point play the hard way.

Not content to just pull down an offensive rebound, he did so with great style, fighting off three Tigers, then spinning like a ballet god in the paint, before flipping the ball up and off the glass while being slapped hard around the face.

If there was justice, the Wolves would have been rewarded for making not one, but two, epic rallies while facing gut-churning suspense.

But, sometimes, basketball can be a cruel sport.

Coupeville’s shot-making artistry vanished in the game’s final two minutes, and, while the Wolves had solid looks at the basket, the rim was a fickle, unforgiving mistress.

Shot after shot rolled out, popped back up or flat-out refused to go down.

Granite, mainly operating at the free-throw line in the waning moments, closed its win and celebrated a chance to go get stomped by league champ King’s in their district playoff opener.

While he wanted a win, while he needed a win, Sherman, the former CHS star who has reshaped the hoops program in his two years on the job, walked away with his eyes set firmly on the positives.

“We are really, really proud of these guys, of how they showed heart tonight and all season, how they always fought back,” he said.

“We will miss (lone senior) Dane (Lucero) and his leadership and everything he gave us,” Sherman added. “But the other guys left here with their heads high, ready to put in work in the off-season and come back stronger next year. We have a lot to look forward to.”

Toomey-Stout, one of eight juniors on the 12-man CHS roster, closed his first varsity season with a game-high 14 points, while Brown knocked down seven.

Wells (5), Pilgrim (4), Wolfe (3), Grove (3), and Gavin Knoblich (2) rounded out the offensive attack.

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After losing Friday, Gavin Knoblich and Co. will have to win Saturday to grab a ticket to the playoffs. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The season comes down to 32 minutes of action.

Unable to clinch a playoff berth on the road Friday, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball squad gets a second chance Saturday at home.

A 60-50 loss at Granite Falls leaves the Wolves tied with the host Tigers at 1-9 in North Sound Conference action.

With identical league records, and having split the season series (CHS won 52-43 in early Jan.), the two teams meet at 5 PM in Coupeville to decide the #5 playoff seed from the NSC.

Winner advances to the double-elimination district tourney and plays Feb. 4 against King’s.

Saturday’s losers exit the court and start thinking about spring sports.

King’s (10-0, 16-4), Cedar Park Christian (7-3, 11-9), South Whidbey (6-4, 13-7), Sultan (5-5, 6-14), and Saturday’s winner join Northwest Conference teams Lynden Christian (20-0), Meridian (9-12), and Nooksack Valley (7-13) at districts.

The #2-#4 NSC seeds were set after King’s savaged South Whidbey 84-15 Friday, and CPC bounced Sultan 66-35.

Coupeville, which is 2-15 overall, enters Saturday’s game having lost seven straight.

Several of those defeats have been close, though, and Friday night’s bout was a prime example.

With Granite Falls having just one court, the Wolves sat through three other games before finally taking the floor for the night’s finale, then hung tough all the way.

Sean Toomey-Stout and Mason Grove combined for 14 first-quarter points, with the former hitting for nine and both dropping in a three-ball, but Granite clung to an 18-16 lead at the first break.

While the Tigers could never completely get away from the Wolves, they did slowly but surely stretch out their advantage.

A 12-8 advantage in the second quarter pushed the lead to six, then a 16-12 surge across the third set the final margin.

Grove did his best to keep Coupeville alive, burying a trio of three-balls in the third frame, while Hawthorne Wolfe and Jacobi Pilgrim picked up five points apiece during a free-throw-heavy fourth quarter.

CHS had an advantage at the line, hitting 13 of 20 charity shots to just 4-7 by Granite, while also winning the three-ball battle 5-2.

Grove finished with a team-high 14 points, with Toomey-Stout rattling the rim for 12 and Pilgrim banking in eight.

Wolfe (7), Gavin Knoblich (5), Ulrik Wells (2), and Jered Brown (2) also scored.

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Daniel Olson scored four points Friday as Coupeville’s JV capped season with a win at Granite Falls. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Nothing sweeter than ending a season on a win.

With Xavier Murdy and Grady Rickner combining to rain down 33 points Friday, the Coupeville High School JV boys basketball team did just that.

Riding an explosive second quarter, the Wolves crunched host Granite Falls 45-36, snapping a five-game losing skid and sending everyone back to the bus with an extra skip to their step.

The wins lifts the JV’s final record to 3-7 in North Sound Conference play, 7-10 overall.

After the long trip to Granite, the Wolf boys came out a bit cold in the early going, falling behind 7-3 at the first break.

But then, with a bit of floor time beneath their feet, the young guns rediscovered their shooting touch and hit the hapless Tigers like a runaway tsunami reaching shore.

Murdy went off for 11 of his game-high 21 in the second quarter, while TJ Rickner, Daniel Olson and Sage Downes all chipped in with buckets during the second frame.

By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, CHS had ridden an 18-5 surge to a nine-point lead, and never looked back.

The two teams played dead even in the second half, but the Wolves closed strongly, with Grady Rickner at the top of his game.

The fab frosh hit from every angle in the fourth quarter, dropping in a pair of free throws, a pair of field goals and a long three-ball as he accounted for nine of his team’s 13 points down the stretch.

Chris Smith’s squad got something from everyone in its finale, with Murdy (21), Grady Rickner (12), Olson (4), Downes (3), TJ Rickner (3), and Cody Roberts (2) all scoring.

Tucker Hall, Logan Martin, Chris Ruck, and Miles Davidson rounded out the active roster, each one harassing the Tigers with an intensity which bodes well for the future of Coupeville basketball.

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Junior point guard Jered Brown and the Coupeville varsity boys need a win Friday to clinch a playoff berth. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Kody Newman stung the Wolves one more time.

The South Whidbey High School senior rattled home 32 points Tuesday, becoming the third member of his family to top 1,000 points on the prep hardwood, as the Falcons blitzed visiting Coupeville 72-40.

The loss drops the CHS varsity boys to 1-8 in North Sound Conference play, 2-14 overall heading into their regular-season finale Friday at Granite Falls (0-9, 2-17).

That game will be huge for the Wolves, as a win clinches the fifth, and final, postseason berth from their six-team conference.

If Granite wins Friday, however, the teams return immediately to the court Saturday, though this time in Coupeville, for a tie-breaker game to decide the final playoff team.

That contest, if necessary, would tip off at 5 PM.

Tuesday’s game at South Whidbey fell on Senior Night for the Falcons, and while Brock Gray netted a fourth-quarter three-ball, it was the other SWHS 12th grader, Newman, who dominated action.

Scoring from every angle, he hit a perfect 14-14 at the free-throw line, netted four treys, and tossed in three regular old-fashioned field goals just for fun.

Newman’s 1000th point came on a three-ball launched from the back reaches of the parking lot, allowing him to join siblings Lindsey and Riley in the exclusive club.

Paced by their senior sharpshooter, the Falcons took control of the game early, turning a 19-8 lead after one quarter into a 37-17 bulge at the halftime break.

Coupeville played its most-competitive ball in the third quarter, staying within 14-12, with five different Wolves connecting on shots in the frame.

Eight CHS players scratched their names in the score-book, with Hawthorne Wolfe, Sean Toomey-Stout, and Jacobi Pilgrim leading the way with eight points apiece.

It was a varsity career-high for Pilgrim.

Mason Grove banked in a pair of three-balls en route to six points, with Gavin Knoblich (4), Ulrik Wells (3), Jean Lund-Olsen (2), and Xavier Murdy (1) also scoring.

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Tucker Hall swooped in for eight points Tuesday as Coupeville’s JV battled at South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a barn-burner for three quarters.

Unfortunately, high school basketball games run four quarters, and a shooting drought at the end Tuesday killed the Coupeville JV boys.

After battling to a 34-34 tie at South Whidbey, the Wolves couldn’t hit a single field goal over the game’s final eight minutes, eventually falling 52-38 to their Island rivals.

The loss drops the CHS young guns to 2-7 in North Sound Conference play, 6-10 overall, heading into their season finale Friday at Granite Falls.

Facing off with the Falcons Tuesday, Coupeville hung tough for 24 minutes.

Trailing 7-6 after one quarter, the Wolves rallied behind Xavier Murdy to claim a 21-19 lead at the half, before settling for the tie entering the fourth.

It was then that their shooting touch evaporated, as, other than four free throws from the hard-charging Tucker Hall, they couldn’t buy a score.

South Whidbey closed efficiently, racking up six field goals and six free throws of its own to end on an 18-4 surge.

“Great game until the fourth,” said Coupeville coach Chris Smith, before turning his attention to the next challenge.

Murdy paced the Wolves with a team-high 11 points, pouring in seven of those during the second quarter, while Hall knocked down eight and Cody Roberts slipped seven through the nets.

Daniel Olson and Grady Rickner rounded out the Wolf offense, banking in six points apiece, while Sage Downes, TJ Rickner, and Logan Martin also saw floor time.

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