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Gwen Gustafson and the CMS 8th grade hoops squad are a pristine 7-0 on the season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

One team is chasing experience, the other perfection.

The two Coupeville Middle School girls basketball squads to see action Tuesday at home against Lakewood found different results, but both continue to build towards a bright future.

How the action played out:

 

8th grade varsity rolls towards nirvana:

Two games away from perfection.

Dodging the rampant illness running through Coupeville, at least for the moment, the Wolves crushed Lakewood 38-21 to improve to a flawless 7-0 on the season.

CMS coach Alex Evans and his band of fiery attack dogs have two games remaining, both against teams they have already beaten.

First up is the home finale Thursday, with Sultan on the menu, than a road trip Mar. 19 to Granite Falls.

Facing off with Lakewood, a much-larger school which feeds players to a 2A high school, the Wolves methodically bushwhacked their foes.

A 10-7 lead after one blossomed into a 19-10 margin at the half, then a 30-16 bulge headed into the fourth quarter.

Alita Blouin, the quick-silver killer known as “The Assassin,” led the way, hitting for a game-high 11 points on a variety of shots, including a big three-ball in the third frame.

She was backed up by Nezi Keiper, who rattled the rim for nine points, and the inside-outside combo of Carolyn Lhamon and Maddie Georges, who hit for six apiece.

Hayley Fielder (4) and Gwen Gustafson (2) rounded out the well-balanced attack, while Jill Prince, Jordyn Rogers, and Ryanne Knoblich all chipped in with defense, hustle and all-around scrappiness.

 

7th grade varsity goes down swinging:

Coupeville was missing leading scorer Brionna Blouin and defensive dynamo Allison Nastali, thanks to illness, and the Wolves fell 37-13 to their big-school rivals.

The loss drops the Wolves to 2-6 on the season.

Lakewood put the hammer down hard in the early going, sprinting out to a 14-2 lead after one quarter, then steadily increased the lead as the game went.

Coupeville ended the afternoon on a positive note, however, taking the fourth-quarter battle 4-2, with Erica McGrath and Desi Ramirez singing the nets for a bucket apiece.

Ramirez, who entered the game with nine points on the season, went off for a team-high six, while Lauren Marrs hit for three.

Joining that duo, and McGrath, plucky Ava Mitten, niece of former CHS hoops hotshot Jason McFadyen, drained the first basket of her middle school hardwood career.

Skylar Parker, Reese Wilkinson, Kayla Arnold, Kaitlyn Leavell, and Jackie Contreras also saw floor time for Megan Smith’s ever-improving team.

 

8th grade JV sits out:

Lakewood is getting hit as bad as Coupeville is when it comes to cold and flu season, and the visitors weren’t able to field a JV team this time around.

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Maddie Georges (with ball) tossed in seven of her 14 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday, as Coupeville’s 8th graders rallied to remain undefeated. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Three games, three very different results.

Hitting the road for the second time in as many days, the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams traveled to Lakewood Wednesday, returning home with a big win, a narrow loss, and a not-so-narrow defeat.

How the afternoon played out:

 

8th grade varsity:

The most-successful Wolf squad of them all continued its unbeaten season, rallying late to knock off their hosts 35-29.

Saved by a 14-5 tear in the fourth quarter, with Maddie Georges tossing in half of Coupeville’s points, the Wolves kept their record pristine at 6-0.

In the early going, the situation, if not dire, was still not what CMS coach Alex Evans might have hoped for when he sent his players on the floor.

Down 15-10 after a furious first quarter in which five different Wolves scored, Coupeville needed a bit of a spark.

And they found it by clamping down on defense, limiting Lakewood, a large middle school which funnels athletes to a 2A high school, to just 14 points over the final three quarters.

It still took the Wolves some time to retake the lead, however, as their own second-quarter offense was limited to a pair of free throws, one each from Georges and Carolyn Lhamon.

Trailing 19-12 at the half, CMS kept the defensive lock-down in place, cutting the lead down to three after a 9-5 run in the third fueled by four points apiece from Georges and Gwen Gustafson.

With Coupeville’s inside bangers, Lhamon and Nezi Keiper, held relatively in check, it was the Wolf guards who led the comeback and eventual win.

Georges knocked down seven of her team-high 14 in the fourth frame, while Alita Blouin tossed in five of her eight points at the same time.

Gustafson chipped in with a season-high seven, while Lhamon added four points, and Ryanne Knoblich banked home a bucket to round out the scoring.

Coupeville’s guards were feeling it from distance, with Gustafson, Blouin, and Georges all ruffling the net for a three-ball.

Hayley Fiedler, Jordyn Rogers, Jill Prince, and Keiper rounded out the roster for a team which is three games from wrapping up a perfect season.

 

7th grade varsity:

Both teams only had three players score, but with one of Lakewood’s trio going off for 21 points, the host team strolled to a 37-17 win.

The loss drops the Wolves to 2-5 on the season.

Lakewood jumped on Coupeville early, building a 13-3 lead after one quarter, then stretching the margin out to 26-9 at the half, and 35-10 headed into the fourth.

The Wolves put together their best run during the final frame, outscoring their foes 7-2 behind five points from Lauren Marrs.

Scoring seven of her team-high 12 from the free-throw stripe, Marrs was the one constant for CMS, which also got three points from Brionna Blouin and two from Desi Ramirez.

Allison Nastali, Erica McGrath, Skylar Parker, Ava Mitten, Kaitlyn Leavell, Reese Wilkinson, Jackie Contreras, and Kayla Arnold also saw floor time for Megan Smith’s squad.

 

8th grade JV:

The two-quarter tussle was fairly close, but with Coupeville unable to hit a single field goal in 14 minutes of action, it’s probably not a surprise the Wolves fell 9-4.

The loss drops the JV to 2-5 on the season.

All of Coupeville’s scoring came at the free throw line, with three different players netting charity shots.

Adrian Burrows, daughter of Wolf legend Jaime Rasmussen, who hit some of the biggest free throws in CHS girls basketball history, made like mom and drained both of her attempts.

Jill Prince and Jordyn Rogers added a single free shot each, but Lakewood countered with three field goals and a timely three-ball in the second quarter.

Claire Mayne, Melanie Navarro, Abigail Ramirez, Jesse McMahon, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Jessenia Camarena, Karyme Castro, Trinity McGee, and Cristina McGrath also played for CMS.

 

Rest of the season:

Coupeville returns home for two games, hosting Lakewood Mar. 12 and Sultan Mar. 14, before closing the season Mar. 19 at Granite Falls.

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Maddie Georges netted six points Tuesday, including a key pair of free throws, as Coupeville’s 8th graders completed a three-game sweep of Langley. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You win some, you lose some.

The action was fast and furious on the hardwood Tuesday in Langley, with Coupeville Middle School’s varsity girls basketball squads earning a split against their arch-rivals.

The Wolf 8th graders remained perfect with a narrow victory, while the CMS 7th graders took their game to the final buzzer, only to fall on the final shot.

How the day played out:

 

8th grade varsity:

Still perfect, and still the best team on Whidbey.

Holding on down the stretch, while enjoying a sizable advantage at the free throw line, Coupeville held off their hosts 39-34.

The win gives the Wolves a three-game sweep of the Cougars, while lifting CMS to 5-0 on the season.

Each of the three contests the Island rivals played had a different rhythm.

In the first one, Coupeville had to roar from behind and erase a double-digits deficit for the win.

Second time out, the Wolves blew Langley off the floor, romping to a lopsided victory.

The final match-up was a nail-biter, but one in which CMS held the advantage from start to finish.

Powered by a big three-ball from Alita Blouin, the Wolves went to the first break up 6-5.

After that, it was time for Carolyn Lhamon to shine, as the Wolf post powerhouse dropped in 11 of her game-high 12 points across the final three quarters.

The teams battled through a tight second quarter, with CMS clinging to a 14-13 lead at the half, but the Wolves slowly pulled away after the break.

Four points from Lhamon and three from Ryanne Knoblich keyed a 13-10 surge in the third, before Lhamon and Nezi Keiper each tossed in three during a taut 12-11 fourth frame.

With the clock running down, and Langley still just a three-ball away from forcing overtime, Maddie Georges iced the game.

Striding to the free throw line with confidence in every step, Mad Dog knocked down a pair of free throw attempts, giving CMS a 10-2 advantage on successful charity shots, and that was that.

Lhamon paced the Wolves with 12, while Keiper and Blouin backed her up with seven points apiece.

Georges (6), Knoblich (3), Gwen Gustafson (2), and Hayley Fielder (2) rounded out the scoring attack, with Jill Prince and Jordyn Rogers chipping in with hustle on defense.

 

7th grade varsity:

One of the odder games in recent memory, as South Whidbey went scoreless until the third quarter, only to win 8-6 with a basket in the final seconds.

The loss drops Coupeville to 2-4 on the season, and gives the Island rivals a split of their two-game season series.

And no, you didn’t read that score wrong.

After four quarters and 28 minutes of floor time, the teams really did combine for a meager 14 points.

“Really good defense was played,” CMS coach Megan Smith said with a laugh. “It was a very close game. The girls played very hard and well, but South Whidbey just beat us at the end and scored at the buzzer.”

Coupeville’s defense was smothering in the first half, but the Wolves could only generate a pair of buckets, both off of the fingertips of Brionna Blouin, and led 4-0 at the half.

Then CMS went cold, while South Whidbey got slightly (very slightly) warmer, slicing the lead down to 4-2 heading into the final quarter.

After that, things went bonkers (sorta) on the offensive side of the ball, with the squads scoring more points in the fourth quarter than in the first three combined.

Blouin hit another bucket, giving her 65 points for the season, best by any CMS girl in either grade, but the Cougars knotted things up, then pushed in the winning basket as time ran down.

Lauren Marrs, Allison Nastali, Skylar Parker, Reese Wilkinson, Erica McGrath, Kayla Arnold, Kaitlyn Leavell, and Desi Ramirez also saw floor time for the Wolves.

 

7th/8th grade JV:

Coupeville got balanced scoring, with eight players etching their names in the book, but the Wolves fell 26-18.

The loss drops the JV to 2-4 on the season.

Other than a brief defensive lapse in the second quarter, the game was a taut one, with Langley up 6-4 at the first break, and the second half a 10-10 stalemate.

The deciding factor was the second frame, where the Cougars surged to a 10-4 advantage.

Claire Mayne rattled the rims for four points to pace the Wolves, while Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson netted three.

Cristina McGrath (2), Jessenia Camarena (2), Jill Prince (2), Melanie Navarro (2), Adrian Burrows (2), and Trinity McGee (1) also scored, while Ava Mitten, Jackie Contreras, Karyme Castro, Jesse McMahon, Jordyn Rogers, and Abigail Ramirez all saw playing time.

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Alita Blouin (10) is out in front of the pack, on her way to slapping home yet another layup. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

294 points.

Well, at least that’s my best guess.

As the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball squads make the turn at the halfway point of the season, that’s what the three units have combined to score across 14 games.

Both the 7th grade varsity and the 8th grade JV team have played five times, and have another five tilts left on the schedule.

The 8th grade varsity, stung by King’s and Northshore Christian not fielding teams, sits with four in the books and five to play.

Now, if I was super-productive, I would have tracked all the rebounds, assists, personal fouls, and other stats as the season has unfolded.

Yeah, didn’t happen…

But, while I might not have achieved statistical nirvana, I have managed to track the gaudiest of all stats – who scored.

At home games, I had my own numbers, and compared them to the official score-books.

When the Wolves were on the road, I went off of the books, which fluctuated in quality depending on whether a Coupeville person was doing them, or whether a local scrawled a pencil across the page.

So, it may not be 100% correct, but I feel pretty confident that it’s at least 97.24% dead-on.

 

The points race:

 

8th varsity (four games):

Nezi Keiper – 32
Carolyn Lhamon – 31
Maddie Georges – 30
Alita Blouin – 15
Gwen Gustafson – 8
Ryanne Knoblich – 7
Jill Prince – 4
Hayley Fiedler – 2
Trinity McGee – 2
Jordyn Rogers – 2

 

7th varsity (five games):

Brionna Blouin – 59
Lauren Marrs – 27
Reese Wilkinson – 8
Desi Ramirez – 7
Erica McGrath – 4
Kayla Arnold – 2
Allison Nastali – 2
Skylar Parker – 2

 

8th JV (five games):

Trinity McGee – 10
Jessenia Camarena – 6
Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson – 6
Ryanne Knoblich – 6
Cristina McGrath – 6
Adrian Burrows – 4
Karyme Castro – 4
Claire Mayne – 4
Melanie Navarro – 2
Jordyn Rogers – 2

 

**There is no 7th grade JV.**

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Ryanne Knoblich, pulling down a rebound in an earlier game, was one of six 8th grade varsity players to score Wednesday in a Coupeville win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The offense was hot. The defense was impeccable. The result was magical.

Shutting down rival Langley in style Wednesday, the Coupeville Middle School 8th grade varsity girls basketball team rolled to a 30-20 win on the road, improving to a flawless 4-0 on the season.

Unlike the first time these Island rivals met, when the Wolves had to storm from behind to net the victory, Wednesday’s match-up was much more of a blowout.

Up 16-9 after the first quarter, Coupeville clamped down and shut-out Langley in both the second and third quarters.

The Cougars missed all six of their free throw attempts across the 14-minute span of play, and every single, stinkin’ field goal attempt they lofted skyward refused to drop.

While Coupeville’s own offense slowed a bit in the middle of the game, it still used mirror-image 6-0 runs in the second and third to stretch the lead out to 28-9.

Langley eked out a measure of redemption in the fourth, using an 11-2 surge to make the final result on the scoreboard seem a bit more palatable.

But just a bit.

With King’s and Northshore Christian not playing 8th grade basketball this season, Coupeville is scrambling to fill out its schedule, and will face Langley a third time Mar. 5.

The older Wolves still won’t get a full schedule, playing nine games to the 10 that the CMS 7th grade varsity has planned, but the drive for a perfect season continues.

A huge part of the success that Wolf coach Alex Evans and his squad are enjoying comes from his team’s ability to hit you a million different ways.

Nezi Keiper and Carolyn Lhamon worked the paint like pros Wednesday, both tossing in a game-high eight points, while Wolf guards Maddie Georges (6) and Alita Blouin (4) scorched Langley from outside.

On the season, Keiper (32), Lhamon (31), and Georges (30) form a wicked three-pronged scoring attack.

Ryanne Knoblich and Gwen Gustafson each knocked down a bucket Wednesday, while Hayley Fielder and Jill Prince chipped in with defense and hustle.

 

8th grade JV falls:

Claire Mayne netted all of Coupeville’s points, but the Wolves went down 14-4 in a two-quarter game.

The loss snaps a two-game winning streak for the JV, leaving them at 2-3 on the season.

Things stayed fairly close in a 6-2 first quarter, but Langley pulled away for the win with a solid second quarter.

Trinity McGee, Cristina McGrath, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Abigail Ramirez, Jessenia Camarena, Karyme Castro, Adrian Burrows, Melanie Navarro, and Prince also saw floor time.

 

No 7th grade game:

Coupeville’s youngest players had the day off, as Wednesday’s games were added to bolster a depleted 8th grade schedule.

The 7th graders, who sit at 2-3, kick off the second half of the season Mar. 5, when all of Coupeville’s teams return to Langley.

After that comes a road trip to Lakewood (Mar. 6), home games against Lakewood (Mar. 12) and Sultan (Mar. 14), and, finally, a visit to Granite Falls (Mar. 19).

All three CMS squads will play in the final five match-ups.

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