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Though only a 6th grader, Savina Wells played a major role for a Coupeville 8th grade SWISH team which finished 7-3 this season. (Katy Wells photo)

Wolf hoops coach Lark Gustafson poses with his favorite player, daughter Gwen. (Irene Gustafson photos)

Back (l to r) Brionna Blouin, Ryan Georges, Ryanne Knoblich, Savina Wells, Carolyn Lhamon, Lauren Marrs, Lark Gustafson. Front: Nezi Keiper, Gwen Gustafson, Hayley Fiedler, Alita Blouin, Maddie Georges.

They walked in the gym door as winners, and walked out as winners.

The Coupeville 8th grade SWISH girls basketball team opened its season Nov. 3 with a big victory, and officially closed its season Saturday with another huge triumph.

Bouncing back from a one-play loss to Mount Vernon in the morning, the Wolves shredded Orcas Island in the afternoon finale, earning a split and 4th place at their league tourney.

That capped a 7-3 season for Coupeville, which will now send most of its players on to the middle school hoops season which begins in late Jan.

The team’s leading rebounder, Savina Wells, is the lone Wolf among a roster of 10 who can’t play for CMS this season.

That’s because, unlike her teammates, she’s still in 6th grade, and has a year before she’s eligible for middle school sports.

 

Saturday’s results:

 

Tough loss:

Coupeville led Mount Vernon Judd and Black for much of the game, but watched things slip away in the 4th and fell 24-22.

The Wolves jumped out to a 6-4 lead after one quarter, fueled by four points from Maddie Georges, then (slightly) stretched things out to 10-7 at the half.

Mount Vernon hung tough, though, carving off a point in the third, then closing things with a game-busting 9-5 surge in the final frame.

Georges paced Coupeville with seven points, while Alita Blouin and Gwen Gustafson banked home six apiece, and Wells knocked down three.

 

Strong swan song:

The Wolves bounced back in their second game, swatting Orcas 23-12, with seven of 10 Wolves scoring.

The first half was a defensive struggle, with Coupeville clinging to a 6-3 lead.

After the break, things got much spicier, as the Wolves went on a game-ending 17-9 surge across the third and fourth quarters.

Georges continued to have the hottest of hot hands, topping Coupeville with six points, while Wells (5), Gustafson (4), Brionna Blouin (3), Ryanne Knoblich (2), Carolyn Lhamon (2), and Alita Blouin (1) also scored.

Lauren Marrs, Nezi Keiper, and Hayley Fielder all saw floor time, and all made contributions.

That continued a season-long trend, as a hallmark of the team coached by Lark Gustafson was its balance.

Every one of the 10 Wolf girls brought their own special talents to the floor, and they meshed well as a group, putting a positive glow on the future of Coupeville girls basketball.

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Alana Mihill banked home five points Friday, her first at the high school level, as Coupeville’s JV thumped host Concrete. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Things started with a jolt, and ended in a sea of smiles.

Playing second Friday night, the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball team found itself down a coach, but never blinked.

With JV guru Amy King at the Concrete hospital, riding shotgun on injured Wolf varsity player Chelsea Prescott, her husband, David, got to pull double duty.

Coupeville’s varsity coach promptly made it 2-for-2 on the night, guiding the Wolf young guns to a 46-20 win.

The JV’s third-straight victory, it evens their record at 3-3.

Just don’t try and add the W to David King’s career record.

Amy gets the win; I get an assist,” he said with a laugh. “Coach King girl does such a great job with the JV team that it made my job easy tonight.

“Thank goodness she had everything already prepared well in advance.”

Coupeville’s second unit came out just like its first unit, runnin’, gunnin’ and shredding Concrete’s defense.

Sparked by the surprise use of a 1-2-2 press added to the mix by David King, the Wolves forced the Lions into constant mistakes, then took advantage of said turnovers.

“I think I surprised the JV’ers when I drew it up for them to run,” David King said. “They worked at it and at times got some good things out of it.

Kiara (Contreras) was a master at harassing their ball handlers all game.”

Mollie Bailey, normally the queen of the set-up game while running the point, decided to taste the joy of being a binge scorer Friday.

Playing on mom Donna’s birthday, the youngest of the “Bailey Bombardiers” dropped shots from every angle, scoring six points in the first quarter, another eight in the second and finishing with a game-high 16.

A 13-2 Wolf lead at the first break morphed into a 24-11 margin at the half and then a 31-16 bulge after three.

That set up the fourth quarter, when Coupeville melted the net with a game-closing 15-4 run fueled by hard-working role players who got a chance to shine on the offensive end of the floor.

Kylie Van Velkinburgh, a defensive hustler, knocked in four points, but it was Alana Mihill and Morgan Stevens who earned the biggest cheers.

Both scored their first high school points, with Stevens drilling a jumper from 10 feet out on the left wing.

Mihill broke through with free throws, swishing three of them, before stepping inside the key and draining a sweet lil’ jumper for her first high school field goal.

“The players on the bench, the high school players, and our fans erupted when both players scored,” David King said. “It was fun to watch both Alana and Morgan get big grins when they scored and due to the cheering.

“Their defense got a little more aggressive, as did their offensive game.”

Bailey’s 16 points paced the Wolves, with Audrianna Shaw and Izzy Wells each adding eight to the cause.

Mihill (5), Van Velkinburgh (4), Contreras (3), and Stevens (2) rounded out the scoring, with Ja’Kenya Hoskins and Abby Mulholland helping control the boards.

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Chelsea Prescott had seven points, three rebounds and four assists in the first half of Friday’s win, then survived a scary fall in the second. (Amy King photo)

Lindsey Roberts pumped in a career-high 26 points at Concrete, lifting her from #28 to #25 on the all-time CHS girls scoring chart. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The offense has ignited.

Two nights after scoring its most points in a game in nearly three years, the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball team went right back out and proved it wasn’t a fluke occurrence.

After dropping 50 points Wednesday at South Whidbey, the Wolves bettered that Friday in Concrete, shredding the Lions 53-26.

The non-conference win, Coupeville’s third victory in its last four games, lifts it to 3-4 on the season.

The victory capped a “crazy evening” in which senior Lindsey Roberts singed the nets for a career-high 26 points and sophomore starter Chelsea Prescott survived a scary fall.

Fighting for a third-quarter rebound, Prescott, who was filling up the stat sheet all night, got rocked during a multi-player scrum.

Chelsea got the short end of the stick on the play,” said Coupeville coach David King. “She was bent backwards and laid there on the court as the Lions headed the other way.

“She stayed down and we called for any medical personnel that happened to be at the game.”

After being attended to on the floor (Coupeville boys assistant coach Scott Fox and Wolf parents Jon Roberts and Charlie Smith, all with extensive medical backgrounds, were on scene), Prescott was transported to the hospital.

While pictures showing her in a neck brace raised a great deal of concern, the young Wolf star aced her x-rays, emerging from the evening battered but generally upbeat.

“She was checked out and headed home, to the relief of all,” King said. “She is sore, but doing much better.”

Prescott’s injury underscored how rough and tumble things were at times Friday night.

“The game was physical, and we held our own,” King said. “I am proud of how the players came out of the injury to Chelsea and refocused on the game.

“We played smarter and determined from that point on.”

Roberts, who is moving up the CHS career scoring chart in big bursts of late, was locked-in from the opening tip.

She rumbled for 11 of her 26 points in the first quarter, more than doubling Concrete’s output as the Wolves surged to an 18-5 lead.

With Prescott and Ema Smith dropping in four apiece in the second quarter, Coupeville showed no desire to let up, stretching its advantage to 24 by the halftime break.

The second half, which was stretched out by a 30-minute delay as Prescott was attended to, was much closer, but the Wolves never wavered.

Coupeville was able to give its bench, primarily its swing players, plenty of floor time in the fourth quarter, with Izzy Wells knocking down a late three-ball to top things off.

Heading into a North Sound Conference match-up Tuesday at home with Sultan, the lop-sided road victory gives the suddenly-surging Wolves a nice jolt of confidence.

“A good win,” King said. “And, more importantly, Chelsea came away without a severe or serious injury.”

With her 26 points, which were just six shy of the school’s single-game record for female players (32 by Judy Marti in 1983), Roberts rises from #28 to #25 on the career scoring chart.

With 377 points and counting, she passes Amy Mouw (353), Whitney Clark (359) and Katie Smith (374).

Prescott rattled the rim for seven points before her injury, while Ema Smith banked home six and Avalon Renninger tickled the twines for another five.

Scout Smith (4), Wells (3) and Nicole Laxton (2) all chipped in to the offensive assault, with Ja’Kenya Hoskins, Hannah Davidson, Tia Wurzrainer, and Mollie Bailey also seeing floor time.

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Freshman Audrianna Shaw filled up the stat sheet in her high school debut Wednesday, sparking Coupeville’s JV to a rout of South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“We were ready to go!”

And how.

Even missing offensive ace Anya Leavell, who was felled by illness, the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball team was unstoppable Wednesday night.

Ripping off the game’s first 16 points, the Wolves savaged host South Whidbey, crushing their arch-rivals 36-11 in a magnificent romp.

The win, coming in the North Sound Conference opener for both teams, lifts CHS to 1-0 in league play, 2-3 overall.

The Wolves have won back-to-back games, and continue to add players back to their roster, easing the loss of Leavell and defensive dynamo Kylie Chernikoff (leg injury).

Freshmen Audrianna Shaw and Ella Colwell made their high school debuts Wednesday, and immediately jumped in to help their teammates on both sides of the ball.

Shaw, in particular, got off to to a roaring start, filling up the stat sheet with eight points, three rebounds, two steals and a team-high four assists.

Coupeville was brutally efficient on defense, throttling South Whidbey to the tune of 11-0 in the first quarter, before stretching the lead out to 24-7 by the halftime break.

“Our defense in the first quarter was stifling,” said proud CHS coach Amy King. “Audrianna and Kiara (Contreras) led the attack up top on defense while Mollie (Bailey), Izzy (Wells) and Ja’Kenya (Hoskins) didn’t let anybody from South Whidbey near the basket.”

Coupeville ramped up the intensity, dropping a press into the defensive mix a few minutes into the game, and the flustered Falcons wilted under the pressure.

King was able to give quality floor time to all 10 girls in uniform, and everyone contributed.

“As substitutes came in to the game, they stepped in without much change in the effectiveness of our defense,” King said. “From Kylie (Van Velkinburgh) and Morgan (Stevens) cutting off wing and post shots to Ella and Abby (Mulholland’s) wingspans in not allowing shots around the key and Alana (Mihill) working hard up top to force the ball away from the key.

“It was exciting to see the girls fight regardless of the score,” she added.

The Wolves snatched 33 rebounds and made off with 19 steals, both stats which pop off the sheet for Coupeville’s coaching staff.

“It just shows the effort these girls put into the game and winning it as a team,” King said.

Wells paced Coupeville with nine points, seven rebounds and three steals, while Shaw knocked down eight points, Hoskins and Mulholland each went for six and Van Velkinburgh notched four.

Bailey (2) and Contreras (1) rounded out the offensive show, with Contreras also driving South Whidbey’s ball-handlers bonkers while pilfering eight steals.

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Ema Smith scored 15 Wednesday, including hitting a trio of three-balls, as Coupeville’s varsity savaged arch-rival South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

For a second, it was close. And then it wasn’t.

Busting free from an 8-8 tie after one quarter Wednesday, the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball squad went on an inspired run.

With every part of their game in over-drive, the Wolves closed on a 42-7 run over the final three quarters, blistering host South Whidbey 50-15.

The win, coming in the North Sound Conference opener for both teams, lifts CHS to 1-0 in league play, 2-4 overall.

It also puts them in a three-way tie with King’s and Granite Falls atop the (very early) conference standings.

The 50 points are the most a Wolf varsity girls hoops team has scored since they dropped 56 on Klahowya Feb. 6, 2016.

That game was Makana Stone’s Senior Night, and the future Whitman College star went off for 27 points and 21 rebounds.

Wednesday night, two current seniors led the charge, as Wolf captains Lindsey Roberts and Ema Smith popped for 15 points apiece.

Coming off a game against Orcas Island where they squandered a second-half lead and came up just short of a win, the rout of South Whidbey was a huge bounce-back for the Wolves.

“We had a game plan for tonight, like we do for every game we prepare for,” Coupeville coach David King said. “We had a great practice yesterday and came out and executed our plan.

“As a coach, that’s what you like to see and all I can ask for.”

More than just a mere win, it was chock full of bonuses.

Coupeville has struggled when traveling to Langley in recent seasons, something King wanted to change. Also, getting solid play from the top of the roster to the end of the bench is huge.

“Our senior captains led the charge and the rest of the players all contributed in one way or another,” King said. “This game will foster our confidence moving forward, especially if we play like we did in all facets of the game (offense, defense, rebounding and hustle).”

The game was actually a nail-biter in the early going, as Lexi Starets-Foote pumped in six first quarter-points and South Whidbey went to the first break tied 8-8.

Roberts was getting her way in the paint, working down low for a pair of power buckets in the early going, but the game hardly seemed like it would be a blowout.

And then, just like that, Coupeville flipped a switch, and did so big-time.

Inflicting a withering defense on the Falcons, the Wolves held their foes to just three field goals across the game’s final three quarters, with none coming from Starets-Foote.

The key was Coupeville’s press, which shredded every last nerve South Whidbey players had, forcing multiple turnovers and giving the Wolves ample opportunity to run ‘n gun.

With Roberts slapping home nine points in the quarter, CHS went on a game-busting 18-3 tear in the second frame and didn’t let up from there.

The Wolves pulled off the rare goose egg in the third quarter, romping to a 15-0 advantage, before coasting home with a 9-4 mini-surge in the final frame.

“Our defense and press throughout the game set the tone for us,” King said.

Coupeville finished the game with 22 steals, snatched 34 rebounds, including 20 on the offensive glass, and forced South Whidbey into numerous mistakes.

The Falcons committed two shot-clock violations and a five-second inbound violation thanks to the constant Wolf pressure.

“It was great to see the pursuit for every rebound,” King said. “We took care of the ball and shared it as well. Only 12 turnovers, and we had 11 assists.

“Offensively we moved the ball well and made the extra pass to get a better look,” he added. “The effort we played with set the tone for the whole game.”

King praised Hannah Davidson for stepping up against South Whidbey’s #1 scorer, “doing a fantastic job keeping (Starets-Foote) from hurting us on the offensive end.”

Scout Smith showed off her ninja hands, pilfering a team-high five steals, while Chelsea Prescott’s never-say-die attitude on D was symbolic of how intense the Wolves played.

“One particular play stood out for me,” King said. “South Whidbey had a breakaway fast break, but Chelsea never gave up on the play despite being five to eight feet behind the player dribbling towards a layup.

Chelsea’s hustle allowed her to catch the player out front and prevented a basket,” he added. “That one play was just one of many we had defensively.”

Coupeville spread its offensive bonanza out, with eight of 11 players in uniform scoring.

Ema Smith’s 15 points, which included a trio of three-balls, is her varsity career-high, while Roberts used her 15 to rise two more spots on the CHS girls basketball career scoring chart.

Now sitting at #28 all-time with 351 points, she passed Kailey Kellner (339) and Tracy Taylor (350) Wednesday, while moving within a basket of Amy Mouw (353).

Scout Smith added five, Tia Wurzrainer, Avalon Renninger and Mollie Bailey went for four apiece, Davidson knocked in two and Prescott swished a free throw.

It was Bailey’s first career varsity points, and the sophomore spark-plug is in hot pursuit of the family scoring title.

Having passed dad Rusty (three career varsity points), Mollie is chasing sisters McKayla (6) and McKenzie (17).

Prescott, who also had three steals and a team-high four assists, led Coupeville on the boards, yanking down six caroms.

She got plenty of support, as all 11 Wolves had at least one rebound, from Ja’Kenya Hoskins (5), Roberts (5) and Nicole Laxton (4) down to freshman Izzy Wells (1).

While the win, the time and place it came, and the way it was achieved, are all huge, the Wolves want to stay focused as they move forward.

CHS travels to Concrete (0-6) Friday for a non-conference game, then returns home Dec. 18 to face Sultan (0-1, 2-5) in its second league clash.

“It’s one game and a game we can build on moving forward,” King said. “A good blueprint for us to be successful as the season progresses.”

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