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Kassidy Upchurch (left) and Kierra Thayer wait for their moment in the spotlight. (Brittany Kolbet photo)

Celebrate the positives.

While the Coupeville High School JV girls’ basketball team wasn’t able to upend large school rival Lakewood Saturday, the Wolves proved to be sharpshooters at the free-throw line.

CHS, a 2B school, fell 52-22 to the Cougars, who rep a 2A institution, but won the battle at the charity stripe.

Led by sophomore Madison McMillan, who banked in eight free throws, Coupeville claimed the advantage at the line, converting 12 bonus shots.

Bryley Gilbert, Kierra Thayer, and Desi Ramirez-Vasquez also netted free throws for the Wolves, with Gilbert a pristine 2-2.

Coupeville’s downfall in its home opener came because Lakewood was hitting a lot of shots from everywhere else.

The Cougars bolted out to a 10-0 lead by the first break, stretched it to 16-4 at the half, then coasted home with a solid second-half performance.

The Wolves popped for 11 points in the third quarter, however, making their best show of the game and keeping things interesting.

McMillan paced CHS with 10 points, while Reese Wilkinson powered her way to a season-high six in support.

Gilbert (2), Teagan Calkins (2), Ramirez-Vasquez (1), and Thayer (1) rounded out the scorers, with Liza Zustiak, Kayla Arnold, Brynn Parker, Kassidy Upchurch, Jada Heaton, and Skylar Parker also seeing floor time.

The Wolves, who sit at 1-1 in non-conference play, return to the court this Saturday, Dec. 10, when they host Sultan.

Tipoff for the JV girls is 4:45 PM.

Logan Downes plays mad bomber. (Morgan White photo)

Coupeville’s varsity girls rule the court. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

And they’re off.

High school basketball teams are back at it, and one week in, 13 of 14 Northwest 2B/1B League schools have played at least one game.

It’s all been non-conference action so far, with NWL girls’ squads piling up seven wins to just three from boys’ teams.

The week ahead brings three varsity contests for Coupeville hoops stars.

The Wolf boys hit the road Tuesday, travelling to Tacoma to battle Concordia Christian Academy.

After that, there’s a Saturday home doubleheader, with Coupeville hosting Sultan for both girls and boys contests.

While the season is just underway, it’s never too early to post win/loss records, so here you go.

Where things stand through games of Dec. 3:

 

Northwest League boys basketball:

School League Overall
Concrete 0-0 0-2
Coupeville 0-0 0-2
Darrington 0-0 0-2
Friday Harbor 0-0 0-2
La Conner 0-0 1-2
MV Christian 0-0 1-1
Orcas Island 0-0 1-1

 

Northwest League girls basketball:

School League Overall
Concrete 0-0 0-1
Coupeville 0-0 1-1
Darrington 0-0 2-0
Friday Harbor 0-0 1-0
La Conner 0-0 2-0
MV Christian 0-0 1-1
Orcas Island 0-0 0-0

Alita Blouin (left) and Maddie Georges, back on the volleyball court one final time. (Photos courtesy Suzan Georges)

One more trip to the land of spikes and sets.

Coupeville High School seniors Alita Blouin and Maddie Georges played Sunday in the 1B/2B/1A All-State volleyball games.

The duo, who were First-Team All-Conference picks when Northwest 2B/1B League coaches voted, played alongside spikers from school such as Adna, Forks, Kalama, and Meridian.

The event, put on by the Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association, went down at Burlington-Edison High School.

Blouin and Georges are the first Wolf volleyball players to earn an All-State invite in many years, and they join former CHS classmate Xavier Murdy, who played in the boys’ basketball All-State game earlier this year.

Sunday’s extravaganza was more about the experience than the scores, and both young women cherished the opportunity.

“The girls had fun,” said Maddie’s mom, Suzan Georges.

“A few tears once again. The real last time wearing their jerseys.”

The Wolf duo hang out with their new teammates.

Coupeville coach Cory Whitmore joins his spikers for a fond farewell.

A pack of fellow Wolves showed up for Blouin and Georges’ big day.

Cole White kick-starts the offense. (Morgan White photo)

The first surge, they overcame. The second was a crippler.

Playing with fiery intensity Saturday night, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball squad pushed visiting Lakewood hard.

But while the Wolves survived a 12-0 Cougar run early, they couldn’t overcome a hail of three-balls in the third quarter, which turned a four-point game into a 16-point deficit.

The result?

A 77-61 non-conference loss to a 2A school, but a defeat which could pay huge benefits down the road.

The Wolves, now 0-2 on the young season, open with a tough non-league schedule.

The goal is to help shape a new-look team under fire, to get them ready to defend their title once Northwest 2B/1B League play starts in January.

The early games, which continue next week with a road trip to Tacoma to play Concordia Christian Academy, followed by a home game with Sultan, is the gauntlet set up to build a strong Wolf team.

And that strong team is already here, at least in parts, as Coupeville played Lakewood to a virtual standstill if you toss out the third quarter.

Having fought back from a 14-point deficit, the Wolves went to the half on the high of a 14-4 run.

It was fueled by seven points off the bench from junior Nick Guay, with the final bucket a three-ball which tickled the twines a millisecond ahead of the buzzer.

The Wolves had whipped the ball around the arc, keeping the leather moving and away from Lakewood defenders, before Guay stepped up and made all the fans scream.

Coming on the heels of another trey, this one from Ryan Blouin, and a short jumper from Cole White off a feed from rumbling big man William Davidson, Guay’s buzzer-beater cut the margin to 32-28.

Coupeville, which got a huge spark on both ends of the floor from Jonathan Valenzuela, looked ready to go toe-to-toe, and shot-for-shot, with Lakewood.

Until the Cougars started dropping daggers.

Led by Benjamin Rucker, who popped five three-balls as part of a game-high 23-point performance, Lakewood suddenly couldn’t miss from long distance as the second half began.

Valenzuela slapped home a pair of buckets, before Logan Downes went off for Coupeville’s next nine points, but the Cougars were collecting two baskets for every one the Wolves scored.

In a game in which the two teams tallied the same exact number of points in the second and fourth quarter, and Lakewood was narrowly ahead 18-14 at the end of the first frame, the third quarter was fatal.

The Cougars finished the eight-minute span with a 25-13 advantage, and the die was cast.

Coupeville still fought impressively in the fourth quarter, from Downes getting back on defense to deliver a resounding blocked shot, to Alex Murdy converting a pair of steals into breakaway buckets.

Three Wolves — Chase Anderson, Jermiah Copeland, and Davidson — notched their first varsity points as well, but CHS ultimately couldn’t get its deficit back down to single digits.

While Rucker finished with 23, Downes almost matched him, tossing in 16 of his team-high 22 points in the second half.

Many of his buckets came on bold rampages through the paint, as the junior crashed hard to the hoop again and again, often with the refs ignoring the multitude of defender arms hitting him in the face.

Valenzuela, who snatched rebounds off the glass and prowled like a panther unleashed, finished with 10 points for CHS, with White (8), Guay (7), and Murdy (6) also coming strong.

Blouin (3), Anderson (2), Copeland (2), and Davidson (1) rounded out the offense, while Dominic Coffman and Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim provided a defensive spark.

Alita Blouin leads Coupeville’s varsity girls in scoring through the first two games. (Morgan White photo)

One bad stretch.

A span of five minutes and change — that’s what killed the Coupeville High School varsity girls’ basketball squad Saturday night.

Take away that segment, when visiting Lakewood went on a 28-3 run to end the first quarter, and it was a much different, far closer contest.

But they count every point, so the 2B Wolves ultimately absorbed a 70-37 loss to the 2A Cougars.

The non-conference defeat evens Coupeville’s early-season record at 1-1, with a week to work on things before Sultan visits Whidbey Island Dec. 10.

CHS coach Megan Richter and her players will be able to look at the game film from Saturday’s tilt and pick out a lot of positives.

Though they may want to fast forward through the second half of the opening quarter.

Things were looking pretty good, with the score knotted at 5-5 after Alita Blouin plucked a steal and beat a pack of defenders down court for a layup.

Gwen Gustafson opened the night’s scoring with a pullup jumper, before Carolyn Lhamon added a free throw, and the Wolves were aggressive on both ends of the floor.

But then the roof fell in.

Lakewood ramped up its defense and stifled Coupeville, holding it without a field goal for the remainder of the first quarter, while scoring quickly and efficiently from multiple angles.

The Cougars splashed home a trio of three-balls during the 28-3 run, but it was a string of steals and breakaway lay-ins which really stung.

Then things went back to almost normal.

The scoring across the final three quarters of the night still came out in favor of Lakewood, but only to a 37-29 tally.

The Wolves, who were being hacked and pummeled all game, hit the majority of their free throws, while also breaking out some well-run plays to crack Lakewood’s press.

A 7-0 surge midway through the second quarter, with Lhamon slapping runners off the glass on feeds from Gustafson and Maddie Georges, was quality work.

As was Katie Marti’s debut as a WWE wrestler, on a play when the rough ‘n rowdy defensive dynamo flipped not one, but two Lakewood players end-over-end while battling for, and winning, control of a loose ball.

Lhamon and Mia Farris both pounded home multiple buckets in the paint in the second half, while Georges flipped the net on a long, low three-ball, but the deficit ultimately proved too much to overcome.

Still, Coupeville fought until the end, with its players still crashing the boards and pestering Lakewood ballhandlers even as the final buzzer loomed.

Blouin paced the Wolves in scoring for the second-straight game, rattling home 10 points, while Lhamon backed her up with a season-high nine.

Georges (6), Farris (4), Ryanne Knoblich (3), Marti (2), Gustafson (2), and Lyla Stuurmans (1) also etched their names in the scorebook, as all eight Wolves to see floor time scored.

With her six points, Georges moves into 40th place all-time on the CHS girls’ hoops career scoring chart, which dates back to 1974.

The senior guard sits with 265 points, passing program legends Madeline Strasburg (261) and Carly Guillory (260) Saturday night.