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Kalia Littlejohn (John Fisken photo)

   Sophomore Kalia Littlejohn has heated up on the offensive end in recent games, moving up to #4 on her team in scoring. (John Fisken photos)

Ethan Spark

   A deadly three-point shooter, junior Ethan Spark also occupies the #4 scoring slot.

A fight and a runaway.

That’s what we’re facing as the chase for Olympic League championship banners plays out in the basketball world.

On the boys side, Port Townsend sits literally one win away from clinching a title and knocking off two-time defending champ Chimacum.

Take care of the Cowboys Tuesday, and the RedHawks will have swept the three-game season series from their arch-rivals.

A win would put them three up on Chimacum with three to play, while owning the tie-breaker.

It would also be Port Townsend’s sixth league victory in a season where neither Coupeville or Klahowya could possibly win more than five.

While the RedHawks don’t want to celebrate early — they did blow a two-game lead to the Cowboys last season — it’s hard to picture the change at the top not happening.

On the girls side, Coupeville, as it has from day one of the league in 2014, controls its own destiny.

The Wolves are 4-0 in league this season (with three of those wins by double digits) and 22-0 all-time, but Port Townsend is hanging around.

PTHS, which fell 39-29 to Coupeville in the two school’s first meeting, is just a half game back of the Wolves after pulling out last-second wins against Chimacum and Klahowya.

The Wolves head to Port Townsend this Friday for a first-place showdown, then host the RedHawks in the regular season finale Feb. 4.

Where things sit through Monday morning:

Olympic League girls basketball:

School League Overall
COUPEVILLE 4-0 9-3
Port Townsend 4-1 8-4
Chimacum 1-4 7-7
Klahowya 0-4 3-9

Olympic League boys basketball:

School League Overall
Port Townsend 5-0 10-3
Chimacum 3-2 3-9
COUPEVILLE 1-4 1-12
Klahowya 1-4 2-11

And scoring stats for Coupeville’s varsity players:

Girls:

Kailey Kellner – 99
Mia Littlejohn
– 74
Mikayla Elfrank
– 67
Kalia Littlejohn
– 41
Lindsey Roberts
– 36
Lauren Rose
– 30
Lauren Grove
– 27
Tiffany Briscoe
– 23
Sarah Wright
– 13
Kyla Briscoe
– 7
Charlotte Langille
– 2
Allison Wenzel
– 2

Boys:

Hunter Smith – 185
Gabe Wynn
– 131
Brian Shank
– 84
Ethan Spark
– 74
Hunter Downes
– 36
Joey Lippo
– 16
Cameron Toomey-Stout
– 16
Steven Cope
– 9
Ariah Bepler
– 5
Jered Brown
– 5

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Coupeville Sports readers searched for a lot of things in 2016. Coming in at #4? CHS cheerleader Kiara Burdge. (John Fisken photo)

   Senior cheerleader Kiara Burdge was the most-searched athlete on Coupeville Sports this year. (John Fisken photos)

3rd

   Football fans celebrate Coupeville’s season-opening win over visiting South Whidbey in the #3 most-viewed photo of 2016.

Every day’s a surprise.

There are times when I’m sure a story will be well-read, and others when I think there was probably no reason to bother publishing what I just did, cause no one cares.

Both times, I’m usually wrong.

Case in point, the 6th most-read story here on Coupeville Sports in 2016 — https://coupevillesports.com/2016/12/09/it-makes-snow-sense/ — was a quickly tossed-off piece about snow cancelling a basketball game.

At the moment it was written I viewed it as little more than a quick public announcement, a way to alert local fans that the Wolf girls’ hoops team would not be in action that night as expected.

Imagine my surprise when the story started to spike almost immediately. Then really spike, then hit a completely unexpected level.

It made no sense. It was a nothing story.

At the time, I wrote it off as one of the quirks of having my work on WordPress.

From time to time, there are weird, brief, intense spikes that seem to have nothing to do with my actual readership.

Finally, maybe 6-8 hours down the road, it began to surface that Klahowya fans, having read that innocuous story, as well as some snarky side comments on Facebook and Twitter, were driving the readership spike on this particular story.

While Coupeville fans had shrugged and gone about their business, Eagle Nation had gotten its collective underwear into an epic twist, deciding I basically wanted to strap their daughters into a bus and send them to a fiery death over a snowy embankment.

As someone who has poked fan bases before (South Whidbey, ATM, King’s, the mouth-breathers in Sultan), I usually know when people are gonna get peeved.

This one, I did not see coming.

And frankly, still think is a fairly large pile of steamin’ crapola.

Having dissected that (very thin) story 100 different ways, I still fail to see how anyone with more than a fourth grade education sees anything offensive in THAT STORY.

But, ultimately, who am I to complain? Klahowya’s lack of reading comprehension/sense of humor brought in a fair amount of page views.

What else attracted eyeballs in 2016?

With eight days left, here are the top five most-viewed articles on Coupeville Sports:

https://coupevillesports.com/2016/05/07/who-wants-it-more/

https://coupevillesports.com/2016/04/09/come-together-for-john-tristao/

https://coupevillesports.com/2016/01/01/brothers-brew-up-new-biz/

https://coupevillesports.com/2016/10/07/lets-burn-a-bridge-or-two/

https://coupevillesports.com/2016/08/08/the-legend-walks-away/

As you know, #6 is a snow job, while #7, #8 and #10 documented the ongoing issues in the CHS cheer world and #9 — https://coupevillesports.com/2016/09/03/the-bucket-is-back/ — celebrated Coupeville thumping South Whidbey on the gridiron.

What will pop in 2017? As proven this year, I have no idea.

Though I am pretty sure I will tick off at least one rival school next year, maybe more. Maybe even on purpose this time.

That seems to be a given.

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First-year CHS volleyball coach Cory Whitmore has his team at 7-2 and storming up the state stat charts. (John Fisken photos)

   First-year CHS volleyball coach Cory Whitmore has his team at 7-2 and storming up the state stat charts. (John Fisken photos)

Katrina McGranahan

   Katrina McGranahan is second among all 1A players in service aces, trailing only teammate Hope Lodell.

Hope Lodell is dangerous.

Through nine volleyball matches, the Coupeville High School junior has recorded 66 service aces, which puts her #1 among all 1A players who have had their stats reported to MaxPreps.

Lodell currently sits #3 across all divisions (2B-4A), trailing only Samantha Johnson of Northwest Christian (72 aces) and Mollie Olson of Napavine (68) for the top spot.

And it’s not really a fair fight, as Johnson has played four more sets than Lodell, with 75 more service opportunities, while Olson has an extra 13 sets and 84 chances at the stripe.

When the Wolf ace fires up a serve, she hits an ace on 42.6% of her attempts, a mark matched by only Sophia Spoja of Steilacoom (43.8%), who benefits from having put up only 80 serves to Lodell’s 155.

After all that, it should come as no surprise that the high-flying, rocket-serving young woman known as “The Surgeon” has already shattered Coupeville’s single-season ace mark.

With six more regular season matches and a playoff run ahead, Lodell is now four ahead of the 62 aces achieved by Mindy Horr in 2004.

So, while digesting all that info, here’s more, the stats season-to-date for all 12 Wolf varsity players who have helped CHS roar out to a 7-2 record overall, 4-0 in 1A Olympic League play.

Sets Played:

Katrina McGranahan 33
Ashley Menges 33
Lauren Rose 33
Emma Smith 33
Valen Trujillo 33
Payton Aparicio 32
Tiffany Briscoe 32
Hope Lodell 32
Mikayla Elfrank 29
Ally Roberts 17
Sarah Wright 3
Allison Wenzel 3

Kills:

Lodell 41 (#16 in 1A)
Elfrank 39 (#17 in 1A)
McGranahan 39 (#17 in 1A)
Smith 23
Aparicio 21
Briscoe 21
Roberts 7
Wright 4
Trujillo 3
Wenzel 3
Menges 1
Rose 1

Kill Percentage:

Menges 50.0
Wenzel 50.0
Elfrank 39.4
Wright 36.4
Roberts 35.0
Smith 32.9
Lodell 32.3
McGranahan 31.5
Briscoe 30.9
Aparicio 21.6
Rose 20.0
Trujillo 17.6

Hitting Percentage (State leaders need 106.7 attempts):

Wright .364
Wenzel .333
Roberts .200
Briscoe .162
McGranahan .121 (#12 in 1A)
Elfrank .071
Smith .043

Digs:

Trujillo 101 (#4 in 1A)
Lodell 67 (#10 in 1A)
Aparicio 50
Rose 19
Roberts 18
Menges 12
McGranahan
10
Briscoe
8
Elfrank
5
Smith
3
Wright
2
Wenzel
1

Blocks:

Smith 7 (#19 in 1A)
McGranahan 5
Elfrank 4
Aparicio 2
Briscoe 1

Service Returns:

Trujillo 167
Lodell 115
Aparicio 80
Roberts 13
Wenzel 4
Elfrank 3
McGranahan 3
Smith 3
Menges 2
Briscoe 1
Rose 1

Assists:

Rose 92 (#6 in 1A)
Menges 68 (#9 in 1A)
Trujillo6
Lodell 4
Aparicio2
Roberts 2
Briscoe 1
Elfrank 1

Serving Percentage:

Elfrank 100.0
Rose 93.5
Trujillo 87.7
Aparicio 85.4
Lodell 85.2
Menges 84.2
McGranahan 80.5

Service Points:

Lodell 98
Rose 84
Menges 70
McGranahan 64
Aparicio 58
Trujillo 47
Elfrank 3

Service Aces:

Lodell 66 (#1 in 1A, #3 in all divisions)
McGranahan 35 (#2 in 1A)
Aparicio 31 (#5 in 1A)
Menges 26 (#7 in 1A)
Trujillo 26 (#7 in 1A)
Rose 20 (#9 in 1A)
Elfrank 1

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Lindsey Roberts (John Fisken photo)

   Lindsey Roberts (20) and Lauren Grove (3) were key players last year for both girls basketball and track. (John Fisken photo)

It’s time to take the next step.

Two years ago, Coupeville High School left behind the 1A/2A Cascade Conference and joined Port Townsend, Klahowya and Chimacum in starting the 1A Olympic League.

Since then, the Wolves have acquitted themselves strongly, jumping from 40 league wins and two titles (girls basketball and tennis) in 2014-2015 to 42 wins and a league-best four titles (girls basketball and tennis, plus baseball and boys tennis) this past school year.

CHS, despite trailing Klahowya 445-227 in the latest Washington Interscholastic Activities Association student body counts, has more than held its own with the Eagles, and, as a school, is well ahead of its other two league mates.

Not bad, especially when you realize Coupeville is the 6th-smallest true 1A school, and Klahowya is the 2nd-biggest.

What has been missing for the Wolves, though, is major postseason success.

A study posted today by The Columbian in Vancouver breaks down success at state tournaments across 15 sports, and it finds Coupeville was the 50th most successful 1A school (out of 64) over the past two years.

Not surprisingly, ritzy private school King’s tops the chart (by a lot), while Klahowya is #22.

That’s based largely on state titles won by the Eagles soccer programs, since the chart gives five points for a team championship.

The Wolves racked up three points in two years, earning a single point apiece for three separate teams which finished between 9th and 16th at state.

The CHS girls’ hoops program, which lost to Cashmere in the Regional (final 16) round of the state tourney this winter, nabs one.

The other two points come courtesy the Wolf track teams, with the girls (11th at state this year) and boys (15th) being recognized for their work in Cheney this spring.

So, what’s the positive?

Easy, Coupeville got some points, unlike five schools — Bush, Eastside Prep, Stevenson, River View and Wahluke, which were blanked over the past two years.

That’s got to really sting for Wahluke, which at 422.5 students, is the fifth-biggest 1A school in student body size.

But there’s also a heck of a lot of room for improvement for Coupeville to make.

The Wolves need to make that next step, turning league success into postseason success, much as they did in the early-to-mid 2000s.

A 3rd place finish by the 2002 softball squad.

Three top-eight performances by the girls’ basketball program from 2002-2005.

A long string of success in the Cheney sun by the track teams.

It’s happened before, and it can (and should) happen again.

Coupeville just needs to take that next step.

To see the Columbian story, pop over to:

http://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2016/07/21/how-prep-athletic-programs-rank-statewide-in-each-classification/

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IT looks like current CMS 8th graders like Jered Brown (with ball) and Ultril Wells

   If current numbers hold, CMS 8th graders like Jered Brown (with ball) and Ulrik Wells will play all four years of high school ball at the 1A level. (John Fisken photo)

The 1A Olympic League seems to be safe.

On Jan. 15 the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association will officially announce its proposal for how to classify the state’s high school athletic teams for the next four years.

Once those numbers are released, there will be 10 days for schools to debate the numbers and make any counter-proposals, before the WIAA rubber stamps everything Jan. 25.

If the preliminary numbers hold up, all four members of the Olympic League will remain in 1A.

The current counts would have 65 teams each in 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A, with 62 teams apiece in 2B and 1B.

Coupeville, which had been the smallest true 1A school (2B and 1B schools with smaller student populations can opt to play above their class), would no longer hold that distinction if the current numbers hold.

Two years ago, there were 225 Wolves when grades 9-11 were counted. This time around, there are 227 and there would now be six true 1A schools below CHS.

The preliminary outlook for 1A has six schools which have opted up (you can opt up but not down) and 59 true 1A schools.

For Coupeville to slide back into 2B, it would appear those six opt-ups would have to stay opted-up, while seven 2B schools would have to suddenly decide to start playing at 1A.

Barring a seismic, unexpected change to the landscape, that means the Wolves will remain a 1A school through 2020.

The WIAA previously went on two-year counts, but 2016 will mark a change, as all classification will now happen on four-year intervals.

Coupeville’s league rivals all will remain 1A, as well.

Chimacum, which had been at 237 the last time, is now at 250, while Port Townsend has slid from 327 to 278.

Klahowya remains one of the largest 1A schools, but has dropped from 455 to 445 in two years.

While the Wolves have the smallest student body in the Olympic League, they have more than held their own in the year-and-a-half the league has been in place.

In the 10 sports in which Coupeville competes, the Wolves have 54 league wins, second only to Klahowya’s 71 — and that margin could be chopped down quite a bit as basketball plays out.

Both CHS squads are in first place in the hoops standings, with the Wolf girls the defending league champs. The teams have 16 league games remaining between them.

Port Townsend has 29 league wins across those 10 sports in that time, while Chimacum has 28.

While it would appear Coupeville’s 1A status and league affiliation are all but guaranteed, there is still a bit of intrigue out there.

Once Jan. 25 comes to pass, there may be other schools left adrift by dropping or moving up to 1A.

Some of those schools could seek a new league.

If so, the Olympic League could strengthen itself, and possibly add postseason berths, by expanding, picking up new members who would start play in the 2016-2017 school year.

That, though, is intrigue for another day.

To see preliminary enrollment figures for the 2016-2020 classification period, pop over to:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12qwdXCBPepkgxLWG4sbxIJgXo5eDX0FZHM8flfx4pdE/pubhtml#

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