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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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Nezi Keiper (in white, with ball) and the CMS 8th grade hoops squad went 9-0 this season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The final performance? Impeccable.

Fighting through rampant illness, then enduring a bus trip to the wilds of Granite Falls Tuesday, the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams closed their seasons with a bang.

Two wins, one of which capped an undefeated season for a Wolf squad, and a narrow loss in the third game, was the order of the day.

How it played out:

 

8th grade varsity:

Granite came out swinging (literally), but was no match for the Wolves, who cruised home with a 44-26 win to seal the deal on a flawless 9-0 season.

As the game progressed, at least three Coupeville stars were left seeing … stars, as Alita Blouin took an elbow to the eye, Maddie Georges had her nose rearranged, and Gwen Gustafson was body-slammed to the floor.

That last melee drew a technical foul on the hosts, but all the bangs and bruises in the world were no match for the high-flying Wolves.

Blouin, living up to her nickname of “The Assassin,” rained down unholy pain on Granite, torching the joint for a season-high 15 points.

The slash-and-destroy guard scored in every quarter, tossing in five field goals, ruffling the nets for a pair of free-throws, then stabbing Granite through the heart with a three-ball.

Coupeville is far from a one-woman team, however, with its top four scorers finishing within nine points of each other this season.

Tuesday, while Blouin was slashing to the hoop and popping from outside, Coupeville’s dominant post players, Carolyn Lhamon and Nezi Keiper, were the perfect complement, throwing down 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Up 10-7 at the first break, with four players already in the scoring column, the Wolves steadily built the lead from there.

With coach Alex Evans pulling all the right strings, and every player on the floor attacking relentlessly, CMS surged to a 23-12 lead at the half, before shoving the margin out to 35-19 heading into the fourth.

Seven of the 10 players to see action scored, led by the trio in double figures.

Georges, Gustafson, Ryanne Knoblich, and Jill Prince rounded out the attack, with a bucket apiece, while Hayley Fielder, Jordyn Rogers, and Jessenia Camarena also saw floor time.

 

7th grade varsity:

The only loss of the day, but a nail-biter until the end.

“We were always just right there; just needed one more minute!,” said CMS coach Megan Smith. “But proud of the way the girls played.”

The 24-19 loss drops Coupeville’s final record to 2-8, but that’s a bit deceptive.

Smith’s top two scoring threats, Brionna Blouin and Lauren Marrs, only played together six times during the 10-game schedule, as illness had other plans for the Wolf duo.

Tuesday was one of those six games, and they proved how potent they can be when they get a chance to work together.

Marrs went off for a game-high 13, scoring in every quarter and netting a three-ball, while Blouin returned from sick leave to bank in six points in support.

The game was knotted 8-8 after the first quarter, with Marrs having already scored in every possible way, hitting a trey, a field goal, and a free-throw.

The offense slowed down a bit in the second quarter, with Granite holding a 6-2 advantage, and that would prove to be a killer for the Wolves.

The two teams battled almost evenly across the final 14 minutes of the season, but the Tigers stretched the lead ever so slightly with a 6-5 third frame, before the teams closed with a 4-4 stalemate in the final quarter.

Smith got quality floor time for every one in uniform, with Jackie Contreras, Reese Wilkinson, Allison Nastali, Erica McGrath, Kaitlyn Leavell, Desi Ramirez, Skylar Parker, and Kayla Arnold chipping in with defense and hustle.

 

8th grade JV:

Someone check what Jessenia Camarena had for breakfast, because she was unstoppable.

Pouring in a season-high nine points in just two quarters, the defensive dynamo transformed into an offensive whirlwind, pacing Coupeville to an 11-8 win.

The victory, which comes after the  JV had to sit out back-to-back games, thanks to other schools battling their own spring cold and flu season, lifts the Wolves final record to 3-5.

While she got a bit of help from Claire Mayne, who slipped through the Granite defense for a first-quarter bucket, this was Camarena’s game, from start to finish.

She tossed in two buckets to go with Mayne’s basket, as CMS built a 6-2 lead after one quarter of action.

Not content to stop there, Camarena knocked down another field goal, and a three-ball, to account for all of Coupeville’s scoring in the second, and final, frame.

Setting her up for the offensive explosion were her teammates, who harassed the Granite ball-handlers and hit the boards with intensity.

Karyme Castro, Abigail Ramirez, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Adrian Burrows, Prince, Rogers, McGrath, and Contreras rounded out the active roster.

 

Final scoring totals for the 2019 season:

 

8th varsity:

Carolyn Lhamon – 71
Alita Blouin – 65
Nezi Keiper – 63
Maddie Georges – 62
Gwen Gustafson – 25
Ryanne Knoblich – 16
Hayley Fiedler – 10
Jill Prince – 6
Trinity McGee – 2
Jordyn Rogers – 2

 

7th varsity:

Brionna Blouin – 74
Lauren Marrs – 62
Desi Ramirez – 17
Reese Wilkinson – 8
Erica McGrath – 6
Kayla Arnold – 2
Ava Mitten – 2
Allison Nastali – 2
Skylar Parker – 2

 

8th JV:

Jessenia Camarena – 17
Trinity McGee – 11
Claire Mayne – 10
Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson – 9
Adrian Burrows – 8
Cristina McGrath – 8
Ryanne Knoblich – 6
Karyme Castro – 4
Melanie Navarro – 4
Jill Prince – 3
Jordyn Rogers – 3

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Carolyn Lhamon (11), seen here in an earlier game, was a one-woman wrecking crew Thursday as Coupeville’s 8th graders improved to 8-0. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Some good, some bad, all covered in a solid slathering of germs.

Thursday night offered up the home finales for the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams, and the Wolves emerged with a split against pesky Sultan.

Or, at least the girls semi-healthy enough to play did.

There was no JV game, as the visiting Turks, also dealing with flu and cold season, couldn’t field enough bodies for a contest.

How the varsity games played out:

 

8th grade:

Alex Evans played with fire, and didn’t get burned.

Trying to achieve two missions – to give a chunk of JV players valuable floor time since their game was cancelled, while still getting a win to keep his team undefeated – the Wolf hoops guru succeeded admirably in a 33-20 victory.

Coupeville, which is 8-0 with one road game left on the schedule, blew Sultan off the floor the first time around.

This time, the Wolves showed the same dominance, but just in spurts, and when it mattered most.

The prime example came in the fourth quarter, as Evans‘ two missions collided.

With all of his starters on the bench, the coach watched a 12-point lead shrink to four, but showed only calmness to the folks in the stands, and, most importantly, his own players.

Evans allowed his more inexperienced players a chance to discover what it’s like to play under pressure, holding a lead against a rival which was greatly-improved from the two teams first meeting.

Then, when the Turks had a brief moment of hope, Coupeville’s coach slid his starting five – Maddie Georges, Nezi Keiper, Gwen Gustafson, Alita Blouin, and Carolyn Lhamon – back into the game, and let them put the hammer down.

And they did, closing the game on a 9-0 run, started by Keiper pounding down low and utterly annihilating her defender in the paint.

After that, her buddy in the post, Lhamon, snatched the spotlight, throwing down five of the game’s final seven points.

One bucket came on a nice roll to the hoop, set up by a pinpoint pass off the fingers of Georges, while another showcased Lhamon’s skills in the open court.

Leading a one-woman charge down the floor, Lhamon broke every bone in her defender’s body, faking left, then slashing hard to the right, all while on the move.

As the backpedaling Turk went down in a crumpled pile of misery and regret, the Wolf ace pulled the ball back into her body to keep it away from a different defender, then banged home the layup.

The run, one unbroken charge from coast to coast, was a thing of beauty, even more so coming from a player who gets the majority of her points working with her back to the basket.

Coupeville used sustained runs like that 9-0 swan song to set the pace all afternoon.

The Wolves closed the first quarter on an 8-2 surge, punctuated by Hayley Fiedler drilling the bottom of the bucket out with a long-range bomb.

In the second quarter, it was a 6-0 run to close the half, then, in the third, CMS capped the quarter with an 8-0 tear.

The one constant through it all was “The Assassin,” zippy guard Alita Blouin, who blew by the Turks for buckets, then jumped outside to nail a three-ball from the top of the arc.

Coupeville spread its offensive attack out nicely, with Blouin topping the scoring chart with nine points, while Lhamon banked home seven, and Keiper popped for five.

Georges (4), Gustafson (4), Fiedler (2), and Ryanne Knoblich (2), who looked deathly ill, yet hit the boards with her usual ferocity, rounded out the scoring.

Mixing and matching his lineups, Evans was able to get a whopping 16 players floor time.

Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Melanie Navarro, Jill Prince, Jordyn Rogers, Claire Mayne, Jessenia Camarena, Cristine McGrath, Abigail Ramirez, and Adrian Burrows all saw action.

Camarena was a particular standout on this day, ripping down rebounds and playing an enforcer role.

In the midst of another Wolf win, this one coming in the final home game, the game’s enduring moment was crafted by a ref, however.

Coming out of halftime, one of the two officials was late to return to the floor. When he did, he turned and blindly lobbed the ball cross-court to his partner, only to drill a hapless Sultan player in the back of the head.

 

7th grade:

The Wolves were missing four players, including leading scorer Brionna Blouin, and fell 21-9.

The loss drops the young guns to 2-7 on the season.

Take away the first quarter, when Sultan romped to a 12-0 lead as the basket displayed a harsh, unforgiving nature whenever a Coupeville shot came its way, and the game was a tie.

Sparked by Lauren Marrs, who pumped in seven of her team’s points, the Wolves put up a strong fight over the game’s final 21 minutes.

Desi Ramirez finally got CMS on the board when she plucked a rebound free, then swished a fall-away shot over a sea of Turk arms with 2:30 left to play in the opening half.

Marrs immediately followed by gunning it up-court on Coupeville’s next possession, weaving through a pack of defenders jammed together in the paint, and slapping home a running layup.

But, just as quickly as the Wolves hit those back-to-back buckets, the basket went back to being a jerk, spitting out any and all offerings from CMS.

Other than a Marrs free throw right before halftime, Coupeville couldn’t get anything to drop until midway through the fourth quarter.

By that time the Wolves trailed 20-5, thanks to a couple of offensive rebound put-backs by the Turks, and a glaring lack of traveling calls being whistled on a Sultan team which seemed to have studied with James “I’ll take five steps, thanks” Harden.

Marrs finally broke the drought, with a pair of sweetly-crafted buckets.

On the first, she curled around the defense, then slashed through a tiny gap for a layup. The second, a breakaway bucket, was set up by a strong outlet pass from Mayne.

Each Wolf to see action chipped in with something, from Reese Wilkinson playing strongly on the boards, to Kaitlyn Leavell streaking down floor, ahead of the play, almost every single time.

Allison Nastali, Skylar Parker, Karyme Castro, and Erica McGrath rounded out the active roster, with all four fighting until the final buzzer for coach Megan Smith.

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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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