Archive for the ‘Girls Basketball’ Category

Karyme Castro (left), seen here with softball teammates Sofia Peters (center) and Melanie Navarro, will be a CHS freshman this fall. (Maricela Sotelo photo)

She’s mixing things up.

As she went through middle school, Karyme Castro tried a bit of everything, playing volleyball, basketball, and little league softball.

Now, as she moves up a rung and enters Coupeville High School as a freshman this fall, the hard-working young woman is shifting gears.

While she plans to stay with softball, she’s dropping volleyball and basketball in favor of joining the Wolf cheer squad.

Castro, who wants “to get a home run” at some point in her diamond career, was part of a Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball team which went 13-1 this spring.

The thrill of launching a ball off her bat helps makes the sport her favorite.

“I really like softball, because I think batting is really fun,” Castro said. “I like the excitement of the games and the way they cheer for you.”

She wants to “work on my running,” and enjoys a busy life outside the sports world.

Castro picks wood shop as her favorite class, loves the movie Finding Dory, and looks forward to baking in the kitchen and hanging out with friends.

Ask her to pick who has the biggest influence on her life, and it’s an easy selection for the young Wolf.

“My mom and dad,” Castro said. “Because they always say you can do whatever you want, and we will be here to support you in any sport and anything.”

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Nicole Laxton, the smile that never stopped. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Heart, above all else.

In the end, we appreciate talent, we respect it, we acknowledge it.

But we love heart.

I’m not going to tell you Nicole Laxton is the most talented athlete I have ever seen play. If I did, she would roll her eyes, shake her head and walk off, giggling.

But I will tell you she has as much heart, and radiates as much joy, as any Wolf I have ever written about. And that is the stone cold truth.

Nicole, a 2019 Coupeville High School grad who played four years of basketball and softball for the red and black, exists in a special place.

She, like Jae LeVine or Jared Helmstadter before her, approached every game, every practice, every road trip, as if it was a gift.

Nicole was the smile that never stopped.

Not even when she smacked her head on a sharp piece of wood jutting out of the back of the CHS softball dugout.

Not even when she was drilled for the 10,412th time by a wayward pitch, as she was the greatest ball magnet the sport has ever seen.

And not even when I would quietly holler “Charge the mound!!” after every time she collected another fastball to the thigh or ankle or quad.

“I can’t do that, don’t be silly!!,” Nicole would say, rolling her eyes at me, her smile covering the pain arcing through her body.

And then she would hobble down to first base, reassure CHS assistant coach Ron Wright she was just fine and dandy, and he should stop worrying so much, before stealing second, punctuating it with a ferocious flop/dive under the tag.

Nicole hit a couple big baskets on the hardwood and smacked a crucial hit or two as the Wolf softball team returned to state this spring, punching its ticket for the first time in five seasons.

But she wasn’t about the stats.

She was all about bouncing on the bag at second, covered head to toe in prairie dust, cheeks pink in the sun, shooting finger guns at the dugout while giggling as they roared for her steal.

She was about ending up on the basketball court, sprawled out, ball held in her arms like a vise, as she out-wrestled four rivals for possession of a rebound.

And she was about the road trips.

Giggling on the bus about wearing her grandma’s slippers with her softball uniform.

Hanging out on the ferry with her friends, and, occasionally, dishing “the tea” to gathered reporters in a hushed whisper, complete with side eye and arched eyebrow.

Athletes come and go, walking the hallways at CHS and occupying the courts, fields, and diamonds.

Then, one day, they’re gone, on to hopefully bigger and better things in their life.

While many blur together after awhile — even the talented ones — there are a select few who remain vibrant in our memories long after they take off the Wolf uniform for the final time.

Nicole is one of those select few.

Her life hasn’t always been the easiest, but she has endured and prospered, tackling every obstacle with an open heart and a welcoming smile.

Seeing her play was a treat. Knowing her in “real life,” even more so.

I will remember Nicole, of that I have no doubt.

Induction into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame arrives for a lot of reasons.

Talent, stats, titles, medals, they carry many into my mythical little hall of digital wonders.

But not all legends are built the same way.

Nicole, if she never recorded a hit, never sank a basket, would still be here. Her character, her spirit, her heart, is what assured her enshrinement.

After this, when you look at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab, you’ll find Miss Laxton right where she belongs.

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CHS freshman Ryanne Knoblich, a one-woman wrecking crew. (Photos courtesy Suzan Georges)

Gwen Gustafson beats the defense and leads the charge.

New Wolf head coach Scott Fox dispenses wisdom.

Coupeville players and coaches enjoy being up at 6 AM on a summer day.

Jill Prince gets set down low.

Hannah Davidson (in headband) entertains the troops.

Trinity McGee (far left) and teammates wait for their turn to play.

Word (or photos) has arrived from the far-flung outpost.

Battling through low-rent WiFi, Coupeville High School girls basketball support staff have breached the internet desert, sending out pics from Soap Lake.

The Wolves are stationed in Grant County this week for a summer basketball camp, the first under new CHS coaches Scott Fox and Megan Smith.

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Trinity McGee, who will be a freshman at Coupeville High School in the fall, is a three-sport athlete. (Photos courtesy Angela McGee)

McGee (4), here playing club volleyball, is “very passionate” about her favorite sport.

With one eye on the future, and one eye on improving daily, she’s a young woman who wants to make history.

Trinity McGee doesn’t back down.

The three-sport athlete, who will be a freshman at Coupeville High School in the fall, approaches each game, each practice, ready to rock the joint.

Whether she’s playing volleyball or basketball, or competing in track and field, McGee is fully committed.

“A strength I have in my sports is my aggressiveness,” she said. “When I go to hit the ball in volleyball I gather all my anger and just slam the ball down.

“When in a basketball game I use my aggressiveness to get me to the other side of the court and push myself to the extreme.”

As she transitions to high school, McGee plans to continue with all three of her sports, enjoying the chance to stay active and involved all year long.

“Doing three sports keeps me busy,” she said. “And I get more exercise and stay healthy while moving and practicing.”

But, while McGee enjoys all three, volleyball is nearest and dearest to her heart.

“I feel very passionate about it,” she said. “I would definitely say that volleyball is my favorite sport because of the strategic system.

“You have to communicate with your team on a good strategy that will get the ball over the net and have the rivals speechless,” McGee added. “I also love diving and digging the rivals serves.

“When I get a good dig in, I feel accomplished and proud.”

Whether it’s playing club volleyball or working on her shot in basketball, McGee is always looking to improve.

“I would like to work on my form for shooting and my footwork for hitting,” she said. “But I know that if I work hard enough I can accomplish things I thought I’d never be able to in the past.”

McGee has a vision of future success, and is striving to get herself there.

“My goal is to get better and better and work harder at my sports so that I can have a good chance at getting a scholarship or breaking a record,” she said.

“I have always looked up at the record boards and imagined what it would be like to have my name up there,” McGee added. “Then I decided to try my hardest to make it happen.”

As she has progressed through middle school sports, her coaches and teammates have proved to be invaluable for a young woman on the rise in the classroom and athletic arena.

“In any sport, (teammate) Maddie Georges has always lifted me up when I am down,” McGee said. “Telling me everyone makes mistakes and it’s okay.

“She is the reason that I don’t get down on myself like I used to; she has brought me a long way into the game.”

While playing multiple sports, both in the school system and outside, McGee has had numerous coaches already, and she credits them for helping with her growth.

“Most of all, I would like to thank my coaches for teaching me everything I know from this day on,” she said. “If they were not as caring and determined as they were, I wouldn’t be here today, playing and enjoying sports.”

During her brief down time, McGee enjoys “reading a good book or spending class in Language Arts with Mrs. (Casie) Greve,” woodworking with her dad and baking with her mom.

“Spending time with the people I care about makes life better when I’m not practicing,” she said. “I’d also like to thank my parents for supporting me through everything that happens with my sports and being by my side.”

While the fast-rising young star dreams of big accomplishments, and works to make them a reality, her love of sports ultimately comes down to one thing – happiness.

“Being an athlete is enjoyable because I get to be recognized for something I’m good at and passionate about,” McGee said.

“Also, you get to play with a team and know you’re not alone,” she added. “All the pep talks and the cheers get your adrenaline running and that’s what makes the game fun!”

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Gwen Gustafson is bringing her athletic skills to Coupeville High School in the fall, following in the footsteps of successful older siblings. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Gwen Gustafson has the pedigree.

Both of her older siblings, Amanda Fabrizi and Clay Reilly, had standout careers at Coupeville High School, and both now sit in the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

But just wait, because the lil’ sis has game too, and is already a well-established three-sport star in her own right as high school beckons.

Gustafson, who will be a freshman at CHS this fall, has been playing almost since she could walk, and has been a key part of successful teams in volleyball, basketball, and softball.

Her last two teams went a combined 22-1, in fact.

First, Gustafson was a starter on a Coupeville Middle School 8th grade hoops squad which polished off everyone on its schedule, rolling to a flawless 9-0 record.

Then she capped that by pulling double duty as a flame-throwing pitcher and a hit-happy batter for a Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball team which outscored foes 245-101 while romping to a 13-1 mark.

While Gustafson plans to stay with all three of her sports in high school, the siren call of the hardwood is a powerful one.

“I like the competitiveness, and the teamwork,” she said. “I can compete with my teammates, stay healthy, and have fun.”

Away from the court, Gustafson enjoys gym and math class, listening to rap and pop music and spending time with friends and family.

But when she’s practicing, or playing in a game, regardless of the sport, she does so with deep commitment.

“I have confidence, trust in my teammates, I don’t give up, and I can pick skills up quickly,” Gustafson said. “(My goals are) to work hard and improve my team.”

While her older siblings have shown her the path to success, Gwen also looks to her parents, Lark and Fawn Gustafson, for support and encouragement as an athlete, student, and human being.

“My dad has inspired me and really helped me grow as a person and as an athlete,” she said. “He has been my coach and a loving father for my whole life.

“My mom has also supported me,” Gustafson added. “Helping me be aware of my health and well-being, and she has inspired me to be a better person.”

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