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Young fans discuss changes to the middle school girls basketball season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Middle school girls basketball is on the move.

The new season was slated to begin this coming Monday, Jan. 24, but, with the crush of Covid-testing athletes three times a week, the Cascade League has bumped things back.

Now, Coupeville and its league mates begin practice Feb. 14, with the season running during the month of March.

The updated schedule for CMS:

Thurs-Mar. 3 — South Whidbey
Tues-Mar. 8 — @Northshore Christian
Thurs-Mar. 10 — @Sultan
Tues-Mar. 15 — @Granite Falls
Thurs-Mar. 17 — King’s
Tues-Mar. 22 — Lakewood
Tues-Mar. 29 — Sultan
Thur-Mar. 31 — @South Whidbey

All home games tip at 3:15 PM, with road contests slated for 3:30 starts.

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Wyatt Fitch-Marron and company made big strides during a middle school basketball season which ended Thursday in Shoreline. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They’ve reached the end of the road. For now.

The Coupeville Middle School boys basketball teams put a cap on things Thursday, playing their season finale in Shoreline against always-strong King’s.

The Wolves entered the season with a huge chunk of the roster having little to no experience, and eight games later the CMS coaches exit with hope for the future.

“Excellent progress by the team over the short, but challenging year,” said Jon Roberts, who teamed with Craig Anderson to lead Coupeville through the campaign.

How Thursday’s finales played out:

 

Varsity:

Even missing its go-go sixth man, banger Jayden McManus, the Wolves hung tough in a 41-29 loss.

Coupeville, which had only three veterans on its roster, finished 3-5, with a play or two being the difference between being 5-3.

The biggest problem Thursday was an unforgiving basket, which gave the visitors the cold shoulder for much of the game.

“The rim rejected everything we tossed at it like Charles Barkley was sitting on it!,” Roberts said.

Chase Anderson paced the Wolves in the finale, pouring in a team-high 13 points, including a three-ball to kick things off.

Camden Glover banked home eight in support, with Aiden O’Neill tossing in six, and Riley Lawless rounding out things with a bucket.

As they have all season, valuable role players Easton Green and Malachi Somes brought big energy on the defensive side of the floor.

 

JV:

Coupeville’s very-inexperienced second unit wasn’t able to nab a win this season, but the Wolves were tenacious, and often surprising in their improvement.

Thursday’s finale was a 50-6 loss, with Carson Grove, Lawless, and Jacob Schooley finding the bottom of the net on successful shots.

Also seeing floor time were Jonah Weyl, Matthew Kuzma, George Spear, Zach Blitch, Kenny Jacobsen, Dylan Robinett, and Joshua Stockdale.

They were joined by Captain Teuscher, Ethan Walling, Jackson Waterbury, Wyatt Fitch-Marron, Max Ohme, Mahkai Myles, and Beckett Green.

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Dylan Robinett tallied his first points of the basketball season Wednesday afternoon. (Jackie Saia photo)

Strong to the end.

Playing their next-to-last games Wednesday, the Coupeville Middle School boys basketball teams put on a show in Langley.

The Wolf varsity won, completing a home-and-away season sweep of the Cougars, while the Coupeville JV played its best game of the season.

How the day played out:

 

Varsity:

Camden Glover has been on a tear of late, and the Wolf 8th grader remained red-hot as he spurred his squad to a 44-26 win.

The victory lifts Coupeville to 3-4 heading into its finale Thursday at King’s.

When the Wolves arrive in Shoreline, they’ll be featuring Glover, who has been a wrecking ball unleashed while dropping 19, 20, and 20 points across his last three games.

Wednesday, Stevie Glover’s eldest child poured in seven of his points in the second quarter, while saving the best for last, with an eight-point rampage in the game’s final frame.

Chase Anderson banked in eight points in support of Camden, with Aiden O’Neill kissin’ the glass for seven.

Jayden McManus (7) and Malachi Somes (2) rounded out the offense, with Easton Green helping anchor the Wolf defense.

 

JV:

You’re killing me, Smalls. You’re killing me.

And in this case, Smalls is an unnamed Langley 6th grader who will never, ever replace June Mazdra as Whidbey Island’s go-to scorekeeper.

Cause he’s the dude who managed to record less than 50% of Coupeville’s points on the day the Wolves very-green second unit put together its best offensive showing of the season.

It’s like you’re driving a stake through my freakin’ stat-obsessed heart, Smalls!!

Anyways.

Bouncing back from a rough outing against Langley back in the season opener, Coupeville made coach Jon Roberts sit up and take notice, pushing the Cougars to the wire in a 26-23 loss.

“They played lights out,” said the veteran roundball sage. “Bench was going nuts!”

Now, we’d love to tell you where all 23 of those Coupeville points came from. But we can’t, thanks to Smalls.

Perhaps he was daydreaming about Keanu Reeves going airborne once again, what with a new Matrix movie arriving in just seven days.

In that case, I understand. Kinda.

What there was of a “book” shows Riley Lawless and Carson Grove banging away for four points apiece, and Dylan Robinett droppin’ in his first bucket of the season.

Which is 10 points, with 13 points forever lost to the wind.

Dang it, Smalls, you had one job. And you did not understand the assignment.

Our mystery pencil scratcher — who didn’t do a whole lot of scratching — did record who saw floor time.

My bet? Some of them probably scored, too.

For now, props to Captain Teuscher, Jacob Schooley, Jonah WeylBeckett GreenMax OhmeGeorge SpearMatthew Kuzma, Mahkai Myles, Jackson Waterbury, Ethan Walling, Joshua Stockdale, and Kenny Jacobsen.

May you find a more-prepared scorekeeper Thursday in Shoreline.

 

Plot twist!!:

After a review of the book by many people, it appears all 23 points may be present.

Just placed in unusual spots.

Smalls, dealing with 17 Wolf players and only 15 slots in the book, put Mahkai Myles and Jacob Schooley “off the board,” and their buckets are drifting in a different time zone.

Also, what seemed like a smudge at first may be a bucket for George Spear.

Having looked at a blown-up version of the book, I still disagree with there being two buckets down by Schooley’s name, but, perhaps I just need better glasses.

I await our next go-around, Smalls. I may have underestimated your powers.

The book in question.

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Teagan Calkins is among the CMS girls likely to play basketball this season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net) 

They don’t have coaches (yet), but they do have a schedule.

Coupeville Middle School girls basketball starts practice Monday, Jan. 24, with an eight-game season set to run Feb. 10-Mar. 10.

The sport is open to students in grades six through eight.

And, like the CMS boys — who wrap their season this week — makeup of teams will be based on talent and not age.

 

The schedule as of today, with all home games tipping at 3:15 PM:

Thurs-Feb. 10 — South Whidbey
Tues-Feb. 15 — @Northshore Christian
Thurs-Feb. 17 — @Sultan
Tues-Feb. 22 — @Granite Falls
Thur-Feb. 24 — King’s
Tues-Mar. 1 — Lakewood
Tues-Mar. 8 — Sultan
Thur-Mar. 10 — @South Whidbey

 

To apply for one of the coaching positions, pop over to:

https://www.applitrack.com/coupeville/onlineapp/default.aspx?all=1

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Aiden O’Neill pushes the ball. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a home finale full of wild mood swings.

The Coupeville Middle School boys basketball teams played their final games in the CMS gym Monday — there are two road tilts left on the schedule — and gave everyone their money’s worth.

Even if fans don’t have to actually pony up cold, hard cash for middle school games.

But you get the point.

Anyways, here’s how the day played out:

 

Varsity:

The best game of the season, regardless of the final score.

Bouncing back after losing by 15 the first time the teams played, the Wolves stormed from behind Monday, forced overtime, then fell 62-56 to visiting Sultan.

The defeat drops CMS to 2-4 on the season, but coaches Craig Anderson and Jon Roberts came away pleased with what they saw.

“We played like we expected to win, which we did not do the first time,” Roberts said. “This was us taking that next, big step.”

Sultan is perennially a middle school power, and they had at least three players who already look ready to make an impact on the high school court.

Toss in teammates who make smart passes, hit the boards with intensity, and play in-your-face defense, and it’s no surprise the Skyhawks can soar.

But give Coupeville major credit, as the Wolves never backed down — even when the Sultan coach, whipped up into a lather, got himself a technical foul and, later, a stern warning.

“You can sit down, or you can go home,” barked the ref, followed by a stare-off, and then the Skyhawk head man choosing to mute himself.

On the court, the action was intense from the get-go, with two talented teams punching and counterpunching from opening tip to wild finale.

Chase Anderson ended the first quarter by splashing home a pullup jumper, but Coupeville went to the break down 15-11.

A quick three-ball from the Skyhawks to open the second frame stretched the deficit out to seven, before the Wolves came alive.

Camden Glover, standing tall in the paint for CMS, kick-started things by rippling the net with a sweet jumper, and Coupeville brought its fans to their feet with a 12-0 run.

Four different Wolves scored during the surge, with Anderson and Aiden O’Neill knocking down three-balls, and Malachi Somes netting a jumper off of an inbounds pass.

CMS had its first lead of the game, only to see Sultan turn the tables almost as quickly.

The Skyhawks ripped off their own 9-0 rally to momentarily blunt Coupeville’s mojo, escaping to the halftime break back in front 27-23.

But this had become a game of runs, and the Wolves burst out of the locker room ready to rumble.

Glover couldn’t be stopped in the second half, scoring off of rebound put-backs and power moves in the paint, then droppin’ jumpers to keep the defense honest.

Two of his third-quarter buckets were set up by hustle work from Somes, who used fast hands and a go-go motor to always be in the right place at the right time.

First he pilfered the ball — setting up a Glover layup — then Somes corralled a loose ball and fired a beauty of a kick-out pass, hitting his teammate in stride.

The lead changed six times in the third frame, though Coupeville couldn’t stay in front and still trailed 39-36 heading into the fourth.

The (supposedly) final quarter featured the Wolves at their grittiest, as they never led over the seven-minute span, but never let Sultan escape.

Glover snatched a rebound, then powered up through three defenders for a second-chance bucket to knot things at 42-42, but time and again the Skyhawks seemed to hold the upper hand.

A pair of Sultan three-balls were deadly, and the visitors, with their coach melting down in real time, were still clinging to a 50-46 advantage with under a minute to play.

So, time for a little magic.

Anderson split the defense, faked a pass, and dropped in a roller to get the Wolves within two, before coming back around to hit two pressure-packed free throws to tie things up.

The trip to the charity stripe was courtesy the mad dog frothing at the end of the Sultan bench, who looked like he might have a stroke when one of his players missed a potential go-ahead free throw with just seven ticks on the clock.

That set up Coupeville with a chance to win things outright, but a stern Skyhawks defense made life tough for Anderson and his buzzer-beater slid off the rim.

The good times continued through two minutes of the extra period. Only problem — middle school overtime is three minutes.

Back-to-back three-balls from Anderson, with both shots kissing the glass before plopping through the net, staked CMS to its last lead at 56-55.

Unfortunately for the Wolves, that was where their offensive attack ended for the afternoon, with Sultan closing on a 7-0 spurt over the final 58 seconds.

The scorebook will tell you it was a loss. The feeling in the gym, however, was that of a win.

Anderson and Glover paced the Wolves, hitting for 21 and 20 points, respectively, while O’Neill banked in eight and kept alive a new, and intriguing, tradition.

The sweet-shooting guard has lost a shoe during action in every game I’ve seen him play during his 8th grade year. So, three.

Is O’Neill simply too fast for conventional footwear to be able to constrain him, or does someone need to start double-tying their laces? Debate.

Playing with both shoes on at all times, Jayden McManus added five points for Coupeville, Somes netted a bucket, and Easton Green and Riley Lawless also saw floor time.

 

JV:

Coupeville’s second squad, largely comprised of players new to the game, fell 48-11, dropping their record to 0-6.

But there were bright spots along the way, and proof that the work being put in by coaches and players is starting to pay off.

The Wolves were able to run more offensive sets than normal, and player’s willingness to sacrifice their bodies by setting screens for teammates was at an all-time high.

Jackson Waterbury came around the corner on one play, rumbling like a freight train going down a steep incline with no brakes.

The CMS 7th grader was intent on setting a screen, and for one beautiful second it looked like he was going to dislodge all the brain matter from the Sultan player in his way.

Veering off at the last second, Waterbury didn’t deliver the full-on crunch, opting to screech to a halt and show benevolence with a well-timed hip check instead.

Googly-eyed and content to stay down and enjoy the floor’s sweet embrace, his rival had a story to tell his parents when he got home.

“Yeah, mom, I almost died today! That dude was going to destroy me!! So yes, I think I will have seconds on dessert, and no, there won’t be any discussion on the matter!!!”

Also coming up big in the down ‘n dirty world of setting (or almost setting) screens was Wolf 6th grader Jonah Weyl, who went toe-to-toe with a kid three times his size and never blinked.

“You love to see it!” said Roberts with a note of pride in his voice.

Coupeville got its primary scoring boost from a rampaging Matthew Kuzma, who tallied his first five points of the season.

He banked in a three-ball, right after teammate Captain Teuscher made off with a steal, then came back around to get a bucket in the paint.

Lawless chipped in with four points, all set up by cleaning the offensive glass, while Joshua Stockdale made off with a steal, then went coast-to-coast for a cartwheeling layup.

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