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Archive for the ‘Girls Basketball’ Category

Maddie Georges slices ‘n dices on the basketball court. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

There’s already been one “Maddie Big Time” at Coupeville High School.

Now, there might be two.

For the moment, Maddie Georges, who will be a freshman at CHS in the fall, can go by her other nicknames – “Mad Dog” or “The Wall,” the second of those coming from her defensive stopper skills on the basketball court.

But, as the heir to a strong family athletic history, and a young woman who has shown top-level skills across three sports, she might one day supplant former Wolf great Madeline Strasburg and lay claim to the first nickname.

Georges, who is the younger sister of former CHS standout, and current CMS coach, Alex Evans, plays volleyball, basketball, and softball, and has been an important part of the success of her teams in each sport.

In particular, her 8th grade basketball team went 9-0 with Georges kick-starting the attack, while her Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball squad just finished a 13-1 season.

For her part, Georges is that rare athlete who not only plays, and excels, in three sports, but enjoys them equally.

“When I play a sport more than the others, I like that one more, and it always keeps changing,” she said. “So no (favorites); I just like to play sports.”

She’s been doing it since she was old enough to walk, inspired by her brother, who starred on CHS football, basketball, and baseball teams.

As she’s progressed in her own hoops career, Georges has played several seasons with Evans coaching her, and it’s been a strong partnership.

“He is my idol and I strive to be like him,” Georges said. “And, possibly, someday, be better than him!”

A big fan of the TV show Jane the Virgin, she enjoy spending time with her friends, something she can do in the sports arena and out, as many of them play the same sports as she does.

While she hails her parents as “my biggest supporters, that keep me going,” Georges is very close to many of the girls she suits up with.

“My teammates, especially Alita (Blouin), Carolyn (Lhamon), Gwen (Gustafson), and Nezi (Keiper), we always keep each other going and I can always count on them,” she said.

While each of her sports is unique, they all contribute to building Georges up and helping her be a high achiever.

“The adrenaline rush, the motivation to try to improve my skills, the practices, and, especially, I love working with my teammates,” Georges said. “They help me strive to get better.”

With the ball frequently in her hands, working as a volleyball setter, a basketball point guard, or a softball catcher, she often finds herself as the focal point of the play.

Each time she’s there, or when she’s on the outskirts of the play, or, far more infrequently, grabbing a quick bit of rest on the bench, Georges tries to always be learning, always be improving.

“My strength as an athlete is striving to get better, and I always try to help my teammates,” she said. “I most importantly try to be a team leader, to really uplift my teammates as best I can.”

That’s an important mind-set for a gifted young woman, who aims to excel in academics and sports, and wants to play for as long as she can.

“I want to continue to strive to get better and try to improve as much as possible,” Georges said. “I want to be able to play sports through high school to college.”

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Nezi Keiper (middle) gets mugged in broad daylight, but refuses to surrender the basketball. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Keiper is one of the most promising athletes headed to Coupeville High School this fall.

Nezi Keiper is going to be a star.

Let’s just start there, with a little editorial comment.

There’s a strong group of athletes headed to Coupeville High School this fall, especially on the girls side of things, and Keiper, if she wants it, could be the kind of athlete people talk about long after her prep playing days are done.

She’s a standout on the soccer pitch, and a far better basketball player than she might think, one who showed tremendous growth from 7th to 8th grade.

Her time on the gridiron — she more than held her own while playing for the CMS football team — prepared her for the sometimes-vicious battle awaiting her down in the paint, and she showed a nice scoring touch for an 8th grade hoops team which went undefeated.

As Keiper prepares for her freshman year, she’s dead-set on following her love of soccer as far as it will carry her.

“I’ve been playing soccer since third grade,” Keiper said. “Soccer is my favorite sport because it was the very first sport I played.

“My mom got me into it at a young age and I continued to love it,” she added. “I only want to get better at soccer and I think I have a pretty good chance at being a starter on varsity this season if I give it my all.”

Keiper plays shut-down defense, and is a player not afraid to stand up to any foolhardy rivals who dare to crash into her side of the field.

“I’ve heard that I am a good defender and I will risk any body part to stop the ball from going into the goal, except my hands … that’s illegal,” she said.

“Soccer is also something I turn to when I’m not feeling myself, to remind me of who I am and what I am meant to do, be a good athlete and follow my dreams.”

Those dreams include playing on the soccer pitch beyond her high school days.

“My main goal is to make varsity for soccer and be a starter,” Keiper said. “I want to play soccer all four years and hopefully get into a college with a scholarship for soccer.”

As she progresses in her own sports career, she also continues to give back, helping keep the circle of life going for Coupeville sports.

“Being an athlete has its perks if you’re good,” Keiper said. “I’ve heard many people tell me they look up to me when it comes to soccer and I enjoy being able to help younger kids who want to learn how to play.”

While she’s firmly entrenched in the soccer world, she’s wavering a bit on basketball, intending to play her freshman year and then see how it goes.

When I hear Keiper say, “being an athlete includes getting respect from others and from older people if they think you are good,” I agree.

So, here’s another quick editorial comment.

As one of those older people, and one who has seen all your middle school basketball games, and a lot of other games before you hit CMS, let me say one more time — you are a far better basketball player than you may think.

I hope you don’t give up hoops, because with your combination of inside power, ferocious rebounding skills, and a surprisingly light scoring touch, you, Nezi Keiper, can be a star in two sports.

End of editorial comment, cause every young woman (or man) needs to choose their own path, what will make them personally happy, so, whatever route Keiper takes, good on her.

The bright, outgoing soon-to-be-a-high-schooler has a great mind-set (“I have a good attitude when it comes to what I love; win or lose I still have fun”) and is a star in the classroom, as well.

Language arts is her favorite class, she has her heart set on getting into AP English, and writing stirs her soul.

“Writing is something I really enjoy doing,” Keiper said. “I like to write essays about historical events or even just a story about something stupid.

“I do it a lot in my free time and I’m proud of my language arts grade; being able to write essays good is a big part of it.”

On or off the field and court, Keiper knows there is one person she can always look to for guidance and support.

“My mom has definitely helped me become the person I am,” Keiper said. “She has a strong personality and doesn’t give a crap about anything people say or think about her and I respect that and I want to be able to be like that one day.

“I look up to her when it comes to sports because she was a star athlete when she was my age,” she added. “She inspires me and I will need her to get through high school.”

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Fast-rising Wolf star Carolyn Lhamon (left) plans to compete in soccer, basketball, and track and field at the high school level. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

If Coupeville wants to head to the water, I know one talented athlete who would be the first to pick up an oar.

Carolyn Lhamon, who will be a freshman at Coupeville High School this fall, where she’ll join older sister Catherine, has made it clear she’d consider rowing crew if the Wolves ever offered the sport.

But, while she waits for CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith to add the activity (don’t hold your breath), the younger Lhamon is content to plan out a future in which she’ll bounce from sport to sport over the course of the school year.

That run will start with soccer in the fall, go inside for basketball in the winter, then head back outdoors for track and field when spring arrives.

After she ran cross country in middle school, there was probably some hope Carolyn would team up with Catherine as high school harriers, chasing down rivals and carrying the Wolves back to the heights of success enjoyed in earlier decades.

There’s just one problem with that scenario — the younger Lhamon loves soccer.

“I’ve been playing it the longest and find it overall really fun,” she said.

A veteran of select soccer, SWISH, AAU, and school basketball, as well as school cross country and track, Lhamon has excelled at every sport she’s played.

Tuesday, she claimed 2nd in the shot put at the Cascade League Track and Field Championships, despite only picking up the event recently while dealing with shin splints.

Yet, she ripped off a throw at Lakewood High School which was more than five feet better than her previous PR, and is now ranked #9 in the entire state among female middle school throwers.

Lhamon, who enjoys “practices and socializing with teammates and winning,” would like to work on “stressing out less about games and meets.”

That being said, the fast-rising star, who credits mom Helene “and all my coaches and too many teammates to name” for their support, has bold plans for her athletic future.

“Varsity basketball three or four years, varsity soccer three or four years, (go to) state one to two times for track,” are her goals.

And, while she works hard in the arena, Lhamon also devotes considerable effort to the academic side of things, while still carving out time to be social.

“When I’m not playing sports I like hanging out with my friends,” she said. “And, even though I don’t like it, I spend a lot of time studying and doing homework.”

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Former CHS hoops star Megan Smith has been selected as the school’s new JV girls basketball coach.

Megan Smith has come all the way back around.

The former Coupeville High School basketball star is returning to the gym of her youth, but this time as a coach.

After two years working with middle school players, Smith has been tabbed as the high school’s new JV girls basketball coach, and will join Scott Fox, who debuts as varsity coach next season.

The duo replace David and Amy King, who retired this winter, and both hires are not official until approved by the school board.

Smith, a 2010 Coupeville grad, was a 12-time letter winner (volleyball, basketball, and softball) and three-time CHS Female Athlete of the Year.

She sits as the #4 scorer in Wolf girls basketball history, having tossed in 1,042 points across her four seasons on the court.

After graduation, Smith played basketball for Peninsula College, where she was joined by former Coupeville teammate Ashley Manker.

When she’s not coaching basketball, Smith is a teacher at the Skagit/Islands Head Start in Mount Vernon.

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Scott Fox has been tabbed as the new Coupeville High School girls basketball varsity head coach. (Photos courtesy Fox)

A flashback to Fox during his playing days.

A new chapter begins.

Girls basketball has been one of the most successful sports programs at Coupeville High School over the past 45 years, and everyone involved is confident of a smooth transition as a new head coach arrives.

The new face of the program will be Scott Fox, who was tabbed this week to replace David King.

The hire will be official after the school board approves it.

King retired after seven seasons at the helm of the program, a run in which he won three Olympic League titles and took the Wolves to the state tourney in 2016.

His teams made the playoffs every season, continuing a run of success which stretches back to the mid-’90s, when Willie Smith arrived from Sequim.

The year before the current Coupeville Athletic Director became head coach, the Wolf girls went 1-19.

Smith transformed the program into a contender, leading it to its first-ever win at the state tourney in 2000.

After that came a run of state appearances, with the Wolves bringing home a 6th place banner and two 8th place banners between 2002-2005 under the guidance of Greg Oldham.

Now, with girls hoops firmly established as one of the school’s best, Fox will get a chance to continue the success.

Finding a coach with a plan for the future, a solid teaching style, and an ability to interact well with players, fellow coaches, and parents was important to the hiring board, which included CHS administrators, coaches, teachers, and student/athletes.

Smith released the following statement Friday afternoon:

CHS is pleased to announce the hiring of Scott Fox as our new high school girls basketball head coach.

Scott brings over 12 years of experience as a basketball coach, as well as being our boys C-Team basketball coach this past year.

He was a collegiate basketball player at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and is a recently retired Captain in the Anaheim City Fire Department.

His experience, leadership qualities, sense of community, and basketball knowledge were all attributes which made Scott stand out, and we are very excited to have him as part of our staff.

King, who was one of the longest-tenured coaches in program history, praised his successor and looks forward to seeing what he will accomplish.

“It was bittersweet with retiring, but hearing the news of Scott getting the job softens the blow,” he said. “You get attached to the players and it’s hard to let go; but knowing Scott will be at the helm eases any concerns on how a new coach will treat the players and program. They are in good hands.

Amy and I got to know Scott this past summer and season and we are excited to see what he can do with the program.” he added. “The players are going to like him and through his knowledge and preparation, he will get the most out of the players.”

Fox tore up the hardwood for Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA, back in the day, before moving on to play basketball at Long Beach City College, then on scholarship at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

While putting in 30 years with the Anaheim Fire Department, first as a paramedic, then 12 years as a Captain, he also worked as a hoops coach, first at his alma mater, then later at Orange Lutheran.

Upon retiring, Fox and wife Susan purchased a house in Coupeville, and he joined Brad Sherman’s CHS boys basketball staff this past season.

When I first interviewed him last year, the newest Wolf coach stressed the importance of helping his players on and off the floor, something he demonstrated as the season played out.

“Coaches have a huge impact on student’s lives and I would like to be part of their development into adulthood,” Fox said. “We prioritize in helping develop the total student, which includes being a responsible person first, student second, and athlete last.

“We hold our athletes accountable for their behavior and academic success prior to ever being allowed onto the basketball court,” he added. “We feel this will benefit them as they develop habits for success past high school.”

Being a winning program is huge, but having one which the community can look to proudly off the floor is the ultimate goal.

“Beyond the wins and losses I want to instill a work ethic of accountability, responsibility and teamwork in these athletes,” Fox said. “I would like to see us improve after every game and learn what it means to be part of a team.

“This is a truly special place and we are glad to be part of it.”

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