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Archive for the ‘Girls Basketball’ Category

   Ella Colwell, a strong rebounder for the CMS 8th graders, kicks off a final look at Wolf hoops portraits. (Photos by JohnPhotos.net)

Claire Mayne

Allie Lucero

Trinity McGee

Jordyn Rogers

Alana Mihill

Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson

Hannah Mayne

Abigail Ramirez

Angelina Gebhard

The future of Wolf girls basketball is strong.

The Coupeville Middle School 7th and 8th grade teams just capped 8-2 and 6-4 seasons, respectively, and both rosters were chock full of rising stars.

As they exit and head outside for track season, here’s a look at 10 portraits I wasn’t able to use during the regular season.

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   A rough and tumble season finale at Forks included CMS spark-plug guard Kiara Contreras suffering an ankle injury. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

As season finales go, this one busted out all the fireworks.

After traveling all day Thursday, and then some, to get to Forks, the Coupeville Middle School basketball squads walked head-on into a wild afternoon on the court.

By the time the Wolves exited and headed back to the bus for their final trip home this season, they had two wins in as many games, though one came in an extremely odd manner.

The Wolf 7th graders romped to a 37-24 win, while the CMS 8th graders officially were credited with a forfeit win after the Forks coach pulled his players and took his ball home while trailing by five with 14 ticks left on the clock.

Seriously.

But first, the game that finished.

7th grade:

Carolyn Lhamon has steadily grown as a force in the paint for the Wolves, and she capped her first middle school season by throwing down a career-high 24 points.

While Lhamon by herself would have been enough to match Forks, she wasn’t alone.

Not by a long shot.

Maddie Georges tossed in seven in support, Nezi Keiper and Gwen Gustafson each added a bucket and Alita Blouin knocked down a pair of free throws to round out the attack.

With the win, the CMS 7th graders finished the season at 8-2 for first-year head coach Alex Evans.

The Wolves fell only to Sequim, a large middle school which funnels players to a 2A high school, and both of those games came down to the wire. One was decided late in the fourth, the other in overtime.

8th grade:

Where to begin?

The game was rough-and-tumble, to be charitable, with Coupeville shooting 35 free throws and losing spark-plug guard Kiara Contreras to a leg injury after she was sent intentionally flying by a Forks rival.

Up by one with 50 seconds to go, the home-town Spartans melted down mentally, throwing away the game and their cool.

Wolf scoring ace Anya Leavell struck twice, stealing a ball and turning it into a go-ahead layup, then pilfering yet another pass only to be tackled to the floor.

Unable to continue, she had to be replaced at the free throw line, with Coupeville coach Dustin Van Velkinburgh calling on Abby Mulholland to do the honors.

“Enter the momentum-swinging hero! After playing less than a minute, Abby steps to the free throw line and sinks them both,” said a proud coach.

After that, things went all to heck and beyond, with a steal on an inbound pass, a turnover, a missed Forks shot, a scramble for a loose ball and a Forks coach coming unglued.

Whistled for a technical, he continued to rant while Izzy Wells iced the game with a pair of charity shots.

And then the Forks coach took his ball and went home, refusing to play out the final 13.8 seconds of the season, forfeiting the game and any chance to close with class.

In the midst of a game where a Forks player cursed right at a ref’s face and Contreras was injured on a play that seemed to spring out of a time machine from the era when the Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys” used to throttle Michael Jordan, there was a saving grace.

It came in the way Coupeville’s players handled a potentially explosive situation on a foreign floor.

“There were a lot of times where we could have given into the fight but we didn’t,” Van Velkinburgh said. “We stayed the course, stayed together and got large contributions down the stretch to pull a wrestling match out to be a basketball game win.

“We end our season and I couldn’t be more proud of this group of young ladies.”

His squad finished 6-4, with their losses coming to Stevens and Sequim, two schools several times larger than Coupeville.

The victories built his team’s confidence, and the losses taught them what they need to do to improve.

As they prepare to move up to high school ball, Van Velkinburgh, who has guided these players through several years of SWISH basketball prior to this season, has seen the Wolves grow, develop and bond as a team, on and off the floor.

“I’m very excited for their future,” he said. “My hope is they continue to work hard and that they stay together.

“Amazing group of young ladies that I can truly say I have been blessed to share the court with.”

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   CMS 7th grader Maya Lucero outscored Blue Heron by herself Monday afternoon. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

We arrive. We torch your gym. We leave. (Ryan Georges photo)

Rain drops were falling outside Monday, but inside the gym at Port Townsend, a storm was raging.

Dropping the hammer on their foes, both Coupeville Middle School girls basketball squads savaged host Blue Heron, then retreated to the bus to celebrate in style.

The CMS 7th graders opened things with a 37-3 crunching in which three different Wolves outscored their foes by themselves, then Coupeville’s 8th grade unit strolled to a 53-14 victory.

The wins lift the young guns to 7-2 on the season, while the older Wolves are 5-4.

Coupeville wraps its season Thursday with the longest road trip of the year, a jaunt to the land from which Ron Bagby sprang, the misty Twilight-land known as Forks.

8th grade:

The first half was a battle. The second, a rout.

Clinging to a 20-11 lead at the half, Coupeville went nuclear like the Rams in the NFL free agent market, scoring every time they tried anything.

The 33-3 surge after the break brought a smile to CMS coach Dustin Van Velkinburgh’s face.

“Didn’t play very well in the first half, but then we turned it up and played a lot better,” he said.

It was a two-woman show on the offensive end of the floor for the Wolves, with Audrianna Shaw (16 points) and Anya Leavell (12) combining to singe the nets.

They had plenty of help though, with Kylie Van Velkinburgh (9), Izzy Wells (7), Ella Colwell (4), Kiara Contreras (2), Abby Mulholland (2) and Ja’Kenya Hoskins (1) all rattling the rim.

7th grade:

Carolyn Lhamon dominated in the paint, throwing down 15 points to pace five Wolves who penned their name in the score-book.

She was backed up by Alita Blouin, who knocked down eight, Maya Lucero and Maddie Georges, who each tickled the nets for six and Gwen Gustafson, who banked home a bucket.

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   Lily Leedy was a defensive dynamo Monday, constantly disrupting Sequim’s offensive flow. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The fans got their money’s worth.

Coupeville and Sequim played three middle school girls basketball games Monday, and two of them came down to the final shot.

Unfortunately, for the Wolves, the visitors pulled out both of those bouts by the narrowest of margins, while CMS rebounded to romp to a win in game three.

The games were the home finale for Coupeville, which closes on the road next week against Blue Heron and Forks.

8th grade varsity:

The first time these schools met this season, Coupeville absorbed a rare blow-out loss, falling by 26.

This time around the Wolves mounted a ferocious second-half comeback, riding the hot shooting touch of Anya Leavell, but couldn’t make it all the way back.

A 13-3 fourth quarter run by CMS, with Leavell torching the nets for 10 of those points, cut the margin to 36-33, but Sequim held on thanks only to the clock running out.

While his team suffered a loss, dropping them to 4-4 on the season, Coupeville coach Dustin Van Velkinburgh walked away proud of his player’s inner fire.

“They stood tall and played really, really well in the second half,” he said. “We turned off their offense in the second half and gave ourselves a chance to win. Really good to see.”

Sequim jumped out to a 10-5 lead after one quarter, then stretched it to 24-12 at the break, but the second half was a different story.

With Kylie Van Velkinburgh taking the lead and clamping down on the visitor’s top shooter, Coupeville suffocated Sequim down the stretch.

Leavell took advantage, dropping a long three-ball to kick off the rally in the third, then pouring in buckets left and right in the fourth.

She finished with a game-high 17, while Audrianna Shaw (6), Ella Colwell (5), Izzy Wells (3) and Ja’Kenya Hoskins (3) rounded out the Wolf attack.

While praising his entire team, Dustin Van Velkinburgh offered a shout-out to Colwell, who “was in there fighting and had her best game of the season.”

7th grade varsity:

As wild as you can imagine, and then some.

In a game of epic mood swings, big three-balls and bodies frequently crashing to the floor, free throws decided the fate of the world in a 42-41 Sequim win in overtime.

The loss dropped Coupeville’s young guns to 6-2, with both defeats coming at the hands of the same team.

In a game where the Wolves trailed by nine at the half, then led by six with 90 seconds to play, Sequim found a way to win thanks to #15, a tall, very talented young woman who plays like a young Dirk Nowitzki.

Identified in the book by just her first name, Kendall, she could do it all – handle the ball, run the offense, hit the boards, be disruptive on defense, swish free throws without making the net move, and, this is the biggie, drill the three-ball.

Her biggest one, coming right after a Gwen Gustafson free throw pushed Coupeville’s lead to 36-33, tied the game and punched a hole right through the heart of Wolf Nation.

Did her foot drag across the line? That’s certainly arguable, but, instead of blaming a ref with a bad angle, give Kendall credit.

She wanted the shot, she took the shot, she made the shot.

Coupeville still had a chance to win in regulation, but couldn’t get the ball to drop, and once in overtime, neither team could hit a field goal.

Instead, the extra period was a rough-and-tumble affair filled with whistles and free throws, as all 11 points scored came at the charity stripe.

Alita Blouin, Nezi Keiper and Carolyn Lhamon combined to drain five freebies, but Sequim, which had made just five free throws in regulation, topped that in overtime.

Coupeville finished with a 20-11 advantage on made free throws, with Blouin draining nine.

The game took wild swings, with the Wolves jumping out to a 7-3 lead behind back-to-back buckets from Gustafson, before Kendall and Co. started rolling.

An 11-0 run gave Sequim the lead, and CMS failed to hit a field goal for the final 12 minutes of the first half.

Still, with Blouin driving hard to the hoop, then converting her free throws, the Wolves were somehow just in a single-digit deficit at 18-9 heading into the break.

Cue the madness that was the third quarter.

Maddie Georges broke Coupeville’s long cold streak from the field, draining a jumper from the right corner, and Coupeville was off on an 8-0 run.

Two steals from Kendall and Sequim countered with a 6-0 surge.

Coupeville’s answer?

Gustafson going nuclear, torching the nets for eight points, including two long treys, as CMS threw down 14 straight in a surge that started in the third and ended in the fourth.

Sequim finally stopped the bleeding, thanks to five points (a pair of free throws and a three-ball) from Kendall, but Georges answered with a bomb of her own from behind the arc.

It wasn’t to be, though, as the visitors used a runner in the paint and two free throws to set up the game-tying trey.

Which, again, probably should have been worth two points.

And yet, dang it, gotta give the kid credit for having ice water in her veins.

Gustafson paced Coupeville with 14, while Blouin popped for 11, Georges and Lhamon knocked down seven apiece and Keiper had two.

7th/8th grade JV:

Coupeville didn’t score for the first eight minutes-plus, and still won, riding a big second-half performance from Abby Mulholland en route to snaring an 18-10 win.

The Wolves couldn’t get a thing to drop in the first quarter, but Lily Leedy lit a fuse a few seconds into the second quarter and CMS was off and running.

The speedy ball-hawk knocked down a quick pair of buckets off of steals to knot things at 4-4, then Adrian Burrows gave Coupeville a lead it would never relinquish when she drained a pair of free throws.

While the first half was a low-scoring affair, things got a little spicier after the break, with Mulholland banging down five straight shots.

Two buckets came off of feeds from Leedy, and the capper came courtesy of a rebound and put-back.

Burrows added her own basket off a rebound to close the game and she and Leedy each finished with four points to back up Mulholland’s 10-point barrage.

While they didn’t score, Claire Mayne and Angelina Gebhard had a considerable impact on the game, as the duo were at the forefront of battles for loose balls, terrorizing Sequim’s ball-handlers all game.

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   Hayley Fiedler and the CMS 7th graders pounded on Stevens Thursday, running their record to 6-1. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Farewell, Captain Ponytail, you won’t be missed.

Stevens Middle School basketball, and its passive-aggressive coach, who never met an early exit he couldn’t ankle to, made their final visit to Coupeville’s gym Thursday.

As befits a momentous moment such as this, the day had everything, from an electrifying win by the Wolf 7th graders to an 8th grade game which ended in confusion way, way earlier than was necessary.

There will be many positives about Coupeville’s move from the Olympic League to the new North Sound Conference this fall.

The greatest of them all, though, will probably be this — no more Stevens, no how, no way.

8th grade:

Stevens is a ginormous middle school which feeds mega-sized 2A Port Angeles, and their older hoops squad is essentially an AAU team transported to the world of middle school sports.

So, the fact the visitors grabbed a 28-9 win in a game which lasted for essentially two-and-a-half quarters is not a surprise.

While the loss dropped CMS to 4-3 on the season, the Wolves got stronger as the game played out.

Down 17-0 at one point, the Wolves finally broke through when Anya Leavell banged down low for a hard-earned bucket.

With Coupeville switching from a zone to a man defense, it played Stevens essentially even in the second half of the game.

Leavell, channeling the red-hot Damian Lillard, added a three-point bomb from the right side, Kylie Van Velkinburgh knocked down a bank shot and the visitors scored on the wrong basket to round out the scoring.

Ja’Kenya Hoskins, who was hit hard on almost every play, was a one-woman wrecking crew, braids swinging madly as she fought on the boards and the floor.

Matching her teammate’s intensity and passion, Kiara Contreras, while shielded from the ref’s view, dropped a wicked, WWE-approved elbow on a pushy rival.

The game got weird, in a totally expected way, when Stevens coach pulled his favorite move for the 275th time.

Insisting he and his team had to catch the 6:00 ferry off The Rock, and would die if they had to wait until the 7:30 or 9:10 sailings, Captain Ponytail talked the refs into abandoning the normal second-half set-up of two eight-minute quarters.

In their place, the teams played a 10-minute second half with a running clock.

And I do mean a running clock…

It properly lurched to a stop when Coupeville called a solitary 30-second timeout, but that lasted all of 1.4 seconds, thanks to the mumbly badgering of the refs by the Stevens coach.

Cause, you know, when you’re traveling 3.5 miles on a wide-open road on a sleepy Thursday, to catch a ferry you have a reservation for, leaving at 5:27 PM instead of 5:30 PM makes all the difference…

But, it was kind of perfect.

Coupeville, which almost always catches the final ferry home from EVERY road trip, being stiffed one last time by a school which always acts as if it’s doing us a grand favor even playing “the hicks from the sticks.”

I’d tell them not to let the door hit them where the good lord split them, but … yeah, I know … they left 20 minutes ago.

7th grade:

This, instead, is how the Wolf faithful will remember Stevens — getting their fannies kicked, good and solidly.

Coupeville’s young guns, a scrappy, ball-hawking bunch who take no guff from no one, scorched the visitors 36-21 to sweep the season series and improve to 6-1.

The Wolves get a chance to avenge that one loss this Monday, Mar. 19, when Sequim arrives on Whidbey for a rematch.

Facing off with an aggressive Stevens squad, CMS refused to back down, seizing the lead midway through the first quarter and never relinquishing it.

Maddie Georges slipped a pair of free throws through the net — a small segment of the 10 charity shots she nailed during the game — to lift the Wolves to a 5-4 lead.

Moments later Gwen Gustafson stopped ‘n popped on a short runner, then Alita Blouin sent the Wolf fans through the roof.

Snagging an in-bounds pass and evading her defender in one smooth move, “The Assassin” hit nothing but the bottom of the net on a buzzer-beater, with the ball dropping through the twines as the alarm blared and her fan club went bonkers.

Up 9-4 after one, Coupeville used runs at the end of both the second and third quarters to blunt any hopes Stevens had of mounting a comeback.

Despite going nearly 10 minutes without hitting a field goal — a dry period which covered most of the second quarter and a hunk of the third — the Wolves never lost the lead.

With Georges nailing free throws and Coupeville’s defense clamping down big-time, CMS was still up 16-14 when the Wolves found their game-closing spark.

The subsequent 17-5 run, which stretched the lead to 14 points at the end of the third, was capped when Gustafson beat the clock, slid between two defenders and drained a buzzer-beater of her own on a short jumper in the paint.

The one girl who might have stopped Gustafson is still counting her teeth, after she ran into a note-perfect screen from Georges, who skidded to a halt, braced herself, and absorbed the blow.

The collision launched the Stevens defender off her feet and carried her halfway across the gym, rattled windows in homes two miles away, and anointed Georges, a slick-dribbling dynamo, with a new nickname, at least for one afternoon.

Say hello to “The Wall.”

The young woman usually referred to as “Mad Dog” paced CMS with a game-high 12, while Blouin banked in 11, Gustafson scorched the nets for six and Carolyn Lhamon knocked down four.

Allie Lucero dropped in a bucket on a nice turnaround shot in the paint, while Nezi Keiper sank a free throw to round out the scoring.

Keiper also had a nifty steal and feed to Gustafson during the game-busting run, while Jessenia Camarena raced back on defense late in the game, then elevated and spiked a Stevens shot into the cheap seats for a beautiful block.

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