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Coupeville’s Makana Stone went off for 17 points and 11 rebounds Saturday, helping Whitman earn a win and a home playoff game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

A sizable collection of Coupeville folks showed up in Tacoma to root for their serene superstar. (Kristi Etzell photo)

Stone netted 7-8 free throw attempts in the win. (Etzell photo)

Stone reunites with former CHS classmates (l to r) Nick Etzell, McKenzie Meyer, Danny Conlisk, and Marisa Etzell. (Eileen Stone photo)

Guess who gets to host a home playoff game after all?

The last day of the regular season broke perfectly for the Whitman College women’s basketball team and its Coupeville star, the ever-rampaging Makana Stone.

With the former Wolf ace going off for 17 points and 11 rebounds in front of an enthusiastic group of hometown fans and friends, the Blues crunched host Pacific Lutheran 73-62 in Tacoma.

Meanwhile, across town, Puget Sound was stunned 61-56 by Whitworth.

That means Whitman, which finishes 13-3 in Northwest Conference play and is 19-6 overall, claims second-place in the nine-team league and will host UPS (12-4, 19-5) Feb. 21 in the first round of the NWC tourney.

Conference champ George Fox (15-1, 22-3) hosts #4 Linfield (8-8, 12-13) the same day, with the winners meeting Feb. 23 in the title game.

The tourney champs earn an automatic bid to the NCAA D-III national championships.

Wrapping up a two-game trip to the wilds of Tacoma, Whitman bounced back strongly Saturday after falling by five points Friday at UPS.

The Blues opened the game with a nice splat, thanks to Taylor Chambers connecting on a long three-ball.

After a couple of early ties, Stone went to work, hitting back-to-back buckets to break open a 9-9 stalemate and give Whitman a lead it would never relinquish.

Up 19-16 after one, the Blues stretched the lead to 37-28 by the halftime break.

PLU, which entered the day in a three-way tie for the league’s fourth, and final, playoff berth, cut the lead all the way back to a single point midway through the second half, but Stone wasn’t having it.

She pumped in seven points in the third quarter, then added another four in the fourth.

Stone rose to the occasion down the stretch, getting key points in the final three minutes, when Whitman back-handed its upstart hosts back into reality.

Out-leaping two defenders, Stone snagged an offensive rebound and promptly crashed hard to the hoop, earning two well-deserved free throw attempts with 2:42 left in the game.

Netting both (she hit 7-8 from the charity stripe on the night), the Whitman junior staked her squad to a 62-55 lead.

A minute later she was right back at it, gunning down the floor and pulling in an outlet pass for a running layup to push the margin out to double digits.

With Whitman senior Maegan Martin following up with back-to-back breakaway layups of her own, the Blues shoved the lead out to 14 before PLU ended its season with a buzzer-beating three-ball.

The Blues big three were the key to the game, as usual.

Stone added a crucial steal to go with her 17 and 11 double-double, while Mady Burdett singed the nets for 16 points, and Martin added 14 points and 12 boards of her own.

Kaelan Shamseldin, who nailed a late three-ball that punched a hole through the hearts of PLU fans, had 11 points as Whitman put four players into double-digits scoring.

Emma Janousek paced PLU with a team-high 15.

Heading into the playoffs, Stone has set personal-bests in virtually every statistical category, and now has 356 points, 203 rebounds, 40 assists, 26 steals and 18 blocks on the season.

She’s shooting 149-290 (51.4%) from the floor and 57-73 (78.1%) from the line.

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Kailey Kellner tossed in eight points Saturday during the final game of her sophomore basketball season at D’Youville College. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Kailey Kellner reached the end of the season doing what she does best – putting the ball in the bucket.

The Coupeville grad, now a sophomore at D’Youville College in New York, rattled the rim for eight points Saturday as the Spartans celebrated Senior Night with an 82-67 win over visiting Franciscan University.

The victory lifts D’Youville’s final record to 7-11 in Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference action, 10-15 overall.

The top six teams in the league advance to the playoffs, but the Spartans missed out on a postseason berth by a single win.

D’Youville finished strongly, winning two of its final three games, but a 2-7 stretch right before that made it hard to climb any higher in the 10-team conference.

From the outside, one could argue Kellner should have gotten more playing time, since the turnaround started when the former Wolf was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time this season.

Saturday, the Spartans honored seniors Monica June, Darian Evans, and Jordan Smith, then put the game away in the second quarter.

After heading into the first break knotted up at 12-12, D’Youville went on a 21-12 run across the next 10 minutes.

Kellner tossed in four of her eight points during the surge, and from there it was easy street for the Spartans.

Coasting home for the win with 26-24 and 23-20 advantages across the final two quarters, D’Youville sent its seniors, and the fans, back out into the 29-degree Buffalo weather with smiles on their faces.

Filling up the stat sheet, Kellner snatched four rebounds and dealt out an assist to go along with her eight points.

For the season, if you believe the D’Youville stat page (and that’s questionable, as Kellner was dinged twice this season by score-keepers who gave credit for her baskets to others), Coupeville’s progeny finished with 76 points, 44 rebounds, 17 assists and four steals.

Her best stat was her free-throw shooting, where she knocked down 14 of 19 shots. That pencils out to 73.7%, and was among the best totals posted by a Spartan in 2018-2019.

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Makana Stone (23) and her Whitman teammates will need everything to break right Saturday for them to host a playoff game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Six days from now, the Whitman College women’s basketball team will be in the playoffs.

But, barring a last-second reversal of fortune Saturday, the Blues and former Coupeville star Makana Stone will start the postseason on the road.

Despite a strong second-half rally Friday, Whitman couldn’t quite make up for a poor first half, falling 60-55 to the University of Puget Sound.

The road loss, coming in the next-to-last regular season game, drops the Blues, 12-3 in Northwest Conference play, 18-6 overall, into a tie for second-place with UPS (12-3).

But, since the Loggers swept the season series, also winning 75-67 in Walla Walla Jan. 19, they hold the tiebreaker.

Unless Whitman beats Pacific Lutheran (7-8) Saturday and UPS falls to Whitworth (7-8), the Blues will be the #3 seed to the four-team NWC tourney.

League champ George Fox (15-1) hosts whichever 7-8 team — PLU, Whitworth or Linfield — emerges Saturday to claim the #4 seed, while #2 hosts #3.

The first round of the single-elimination tourney goes down Feb. 21, with the title game Feb. 23.

The tourney champ gets an automatic bid to the NCAA D-III national championships, while other NWC teams will sweat out the announcement of at-large teams.

Friday’s loss came down largely to one really bad five-minute-plus stretch in the second quarter.

Whitman led through much of the first quarter, and, even after finally losing the advantage, was still hanging tough down 21-16 with 6:20 to play in the first half.

Unfortunately for the Blues, their shooting touch promptly went into deep freeze, and Puget Sound took advantage.

Using a 14-0 tear over the next five minutes and 32 seconds, the Loggers turned a close game into a potential blowout.

Kaelan Shamseldin finally snapped the scoring drought, pulling off a three-point play the hard way, but her bucket and free throw could only trim the halftime deficit to 35-19.

The second half was a different story, as Whitman shaved away at the lead with 17-9 and 19-16 runs across the final two periods.

Stone drained a jumper to pull the Blues within four points late in the third quarter, then slipped a free throw through the net to slice the margin to 49-46 with a hair under four minutes to play in the game.

Puget Sound hung tough down the stretch, though.

Even with the league’s arguably-best player, Jamie Lange, held to just seven points, the Loggers found just enough offense to persevere.

Elizabeth Prewitt rattled the rim for a game-high 20, with seven of those points coming down the stretch, to pace UPS.

For Whitman, Mady Burdett scorched the nets for 18, and the lone Blues senior, Maegan Martin, notched a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Stone, who had to battle through foul trouble, finished with seven points, six rebounds, and an assist, while being restricted to just 13 minutes of floor time.

The former Wolf ace is sitting with 339 points, 192 rebounds, 40 assists, 25 steals, and 18 blocks for her junior campaign.

She’s shooting 144-276 from the field, and 50-65 from the line.

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Kailey Kellner rains death from above. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Kellner)

Shake up the lineup, shake up the results.

The D’Youville College women’s basketball team has seven players who have appeared in every game this season, but two of those hadn’t made a start.

That changed Monday, as the Spartans plugged Hanna Wozniak and Coupeville’s Kailey Kellner into the starting lineup, and suddenly got a different result.

Sparked by a huge fourth-quarter three-ball off the fingertips of the former Wolf gunner, D’Youville pulled away late to stuff visiting Medialle 84-71 and keep alive its playoff hopes.

The win, which lifts the Spartans to 6-10 in Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference play, 9-14 overall, snaps a three-game losing skid. D’Youville had dropped seven of its last nine.

With the victory, Kellner and Co. stay a game back of the final postseason berth, with two regular season games to go.

D’Youville hits the road Wednesday to face league leader Hilbert (13-3, 18-5) in Hamburg, NY, before closing at home in Buffalo Saturday on Senior Night against cellar-dweller Franciscan (2-14, 2-20).

The decision to switch up the starting lineup paid big dividends for the Spartans coaching staff, especially when it came to Kellner.

She scored in three of four quarters, finishing with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal in 23 minutes of action.

Kellner struck early and late, and the #30 scorer in CHS girls basketball history used her trademark long bombs to do much of the damage.

D’Youville fell behind early, but got back in the game when Kellner kicked off an 8-0 run midway through the first quarter.

Splashing home a three-ball, the former Wolf pulled the Spartans to within 8-6, and that set off a tense back-and-forth affair through much of the game.

Trailing 21-19 at the first break, D’Youville forced a 39-39 tie at the half, before closing the third with the slimmest of leads at 56-55.

The Spartans had busted out to a 10-point lead in the third, only to give it all back, and Medialle actually surged ahead briefly in the fourth quarter.

Enter Kellner, who was sitting with five points after adding a third-quarter layup to her tally.

Operating behind the arc, where she lives to drop daggers, she rippled the net with her second trey of the night, staking the Spartans to a 61-58 lead they wouldn’t surrender over the game’s final six minutes.

Kellner slapped home a layup to stretch the lead out to six points with 3:32 on the clock.

After that, D’Youville, which finished with five players with double-digit scoring, closed the win by hitting its free throws down the stretch.

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Makana Stone tossed in 19 points Saturday as Whitman slipped past Linfield for a key league win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The big three were on fire, and sometimes that’s all you need.

Getting 20 points from Mady Burdett, 19 from Coupeville’s Makana Stone, and a double-double from lone senior Maegan Martin, the Whitman College women’s basketball team rolled to a nice bounce-back win.

Knocking off visiting Linfield 72-63 Saturday on Senior Night, the Blues earned a split for the weekend and kept alive hopes of winning a Northwest Conference title.

With the victory, Whitman soars to 12-2 in league play, 18-5 overall, and stays a game back of George Fox (13-1, 20-3) with two regular-season games left on the schedule.

The Blues travel to Tacoma next weekend, where they will play Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran.

After that comes the four-team NWC tournament, and, most likely, a bid to the NCAA D-III national tournament.

Saturday, Whitman had to bounce right back after a tough four-point loss to George Fox, and the Blues didn’t disappoint.

Burdett and Stone came out firing in the first quarter, combining for 19 points as Whitman built a 26-18 lead.

Coupeville’s progeny hit a pair of buckets off of quick slashes to the hoop, packaged around a solid turnaround jumper, while Burdett went wild from behind the three-point arc.

Tossing in a trio of treys, she finished with 13 points across the first 10 minutes.

After that, the teams settled into a fairly taut game, with just a single point separating the two squads across the final three quarters.

But, while Linfield held even with Whitman in the second (11-11) and fourth (16-16) quarters, and trailed just 19-18 in the third, the Blues never surrendered the lead.

Stone, who wasn’t bothered by any pesky reffing blunders on this night, poured in points in every quarter.

A layup and a jumper that popped up, hit the glass and rattled back in, gave her 10 at the half, then the former Wolf added a pair of buckets in the third before closing with five fourth-quarter points to blunt a late Linfield rally.

Flying down court on the kind of run CHS fans saw every day, Stone pulled in a pass off a Martin steal, beating the crowd to the bucket to stake Whitman to a 61-56 lead with five minutes to play.

Right after that, Martin put together her own mini highlight reel, raining down a rare (for her) three-ball, followed by a bucket in the paint, stretching the margin back out to double digits.

Stone capped things with a final bucket, banging away down low, uprooting her defender, then whirling and banking home a short jumper.

She snatched five rebounds and dealt out an assist to go with her 19 points (on 9-12 shooting), while Martin celebrated her regular-season home swan song with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

On the season, Stone sits with 332 points, 186 rebounds, 39 assists, 25 steals and 18 blocks.

She’s shooting 141-269 from the floor and 49-64 at the free throw line.

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