Posts Tagged ‘Alita Blouin’

Alita Blouin, talented and tough. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

She’s one tough young woman.

Coupeville High School senior Alita Blouin has natural athletic talent, a strong inner drive, and a rock-solid support crew in her family and friends.

But what has always impressed me over the years, as she has gone from the world of youth sports to high school games, is her toughness.

Not that she goes out and slugs rival players in the face or anything like that — though maybe don’t get between Alita and a loose ball or you just might taste her elbow.

A shooter supreme. (Andrew Williams photo)

Alita’s toughness comes in several forms.

One, in being able to fight back through injuries, whether it’s a busted ankle or a balky back.

Nothing keeps Alita down for long, and, each time, she returns to the floor just as committed and just as scrappy.

But her toughness also shines through in how she approaches each aspect of being an athlete.

Some players bring effort in games. Others turn up the intensity in practice.

Few have been as competitive in warmups as Alita, however.

Way back, a long time ago — OK, it was during her 8th grade volleyball season — I wrote about a small, but very important, moment I noticed during pregame exercises.

As CMS went through warm-ups before a volleyball match, the spikers started to run laps around the floor.

Alita, a team captain, was out in front, serious and locked-in. No coasting.

At which point, one of her teammates, Lucy Tenore, who is considerably taller, and has a much-longer stride, tried to pass her friend.

Alita was not playing that. At all.

Lucy, smile growing bigger and bigger, tried a second time, then a third, but couldn’t get by.

That’s because Alita, legs pumping, elbows ever at the alert, fended off her teammate at every turn, her face locked in a death mask of concentration.

Lucy, fully laughing at this point, finally relented, only to see Alita kick it up a notch to a sprinter’s run to finish the final curve, one eye looking over her shoulder just in case anyone else wanted to get foolish.

June and Shawn’s daughter brought that same intensity to the floor every night as she played volleyball and (when her body allowed it) basketball.

Hanging out with the parental units. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

As a libero, Alita was invaluable, capable of filling up the stat sheet, but worth far more to the Wolves as a leader, joining Maddie Georges at the forefront of the CHS attack.

The duo earned a major honor at the end of their prep volleyball careers, invited to play in the 1B/2B/1A All-State games.

It was a fitting reward, and a testament to what both brought to the Wolf spiker program.

In a perfect world, Alita would have been able to suit up for Coupeville’s basketball team all four years.

While injuries prevented that, with a broken ankle suffered during pregame player introductions her junior season a nasty surprise, when she was on the floor, she made the net jump like few others.

Alita can rain down three-balls from anywhere on the floor, yet also showed a willingness to slice through the paint and tangle with the tall trees camped around the basket.

She was only on the floor for 23 high school hoops games — two as a junior before the injury, and 21 as a senior — yet still rattled the rims for 215 points.

That puts Alita #56 on the all-time CHS girls scoring chart, for a program launched in 1974, and her 204 points this past season marks the first time a Wolf girl topped 200 in a season since 2016.

Toss in appearances on the honor roll, and the fact she was elected Homecoming Queen as a senior, and Ryan’s big sister has left a substantial mark on her soon-to-be alma mater.

Royalty, on and off the court. (Angie Downes photo)

Talent, toughness, inner drive — Alita has it all, and wherever she goes after high school, one thing is for certain. She will be a winner at anything she does.

Now, as she and her classmates work their way towards graduation, let’s take a moment to bestow another honor on her.

Today, in a move which you could see coming a long, long time ago — at about the moment she hip-checked Lucy Tenore into the stands — we welcome Alita Blouin to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, you’ll find her hanging out at the top of the blog under the Legends tab, a fitting destination.

When entering the digital shrine, however, don’t try and pass Alita.

Cause she don’t play that.

“You can compete with me. You can’t beat me!” (Brian Vick photo)

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The CHS student section leads the charge during playoff action. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Basketball games are done, but the roar of the crowd still lingers in the gym.

The pics above and below, shot by John Fisken, come from recent Wolf playoff rumbles.

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Gwen Gustafson pushes the ball up court. (Bailey Thule photo)

One game short.

The Coupeville High School girls’ basketball squad put up a strong fight Wednesday, especially in the final minutes, but couldn’t get past La Conner, falling a win shy of advancing to the state tournament.

The Wolves close their season at 10-11 after absorbing a 59-35 loss on their home floor in the bi-district title game.

La Conner, the Northwest 2B/1B League regular season champ, is 19-4 and will find out its next opponent Sunday, when state brackets are revealed.

CHS was playing its third straight loser-out game, having knocked off Friday Harbor in a tiebreaker for District 1’s #2 playoff seed, before upsetting District 2’s top team, Auburn Adventist Academy, in their playoff opener.

Facing off with the Braves, who wheel out a big three consisting of 6-foot-2 Makayla Herrera, 6-0 Ellie Marble, and 5-10 Josie Harper, the Wolves had no chance to match their foes in height, but they more than stood up to La Conner in terms of scrappiness.

Coupeville fell behind 8-0, thanks to back-to-back three-balls from the bombs-away Braves, but closed the first quarter on a mini-run.

Gwen Gustafson got the Wolves on the board with a pullup jumper, while fellow senior Maddie Georges rippled the net after Mia Farris popped a gorgeous pass over the heads of two defenders while airborne.

With all five players up on their toes and scrapping, Coupeville hung tough, and kept the margin to single-digits for much of the first half.

Georges twice scrambled back, planted herself, and drew offensive charging fouls on incoming Braves, while Carolyn Lhamon, Lyla Stuurmans, and Katie Marti threw haymakers in the paint while fighting for rebounds.

Coupeville’s bench enjoys the moment. (Bailey Thule photo)

But La Conner is a solid squad which has earned its rep, and the visitors stretched the lead out to 28-12 by the half.

Especially painful was the final five seconds, as the Braves netted a free throw, then promptly stole the inbounds pass and turned it into a buzzer-beating jumper.

The third quarter was the difference, and the only stretch where the Wolves just couldn’t get much to work.

Georges led off the second half by slicing under two defenders for a bucket, then came back around to notch a pair of free throws and a layup off of a sweet inside cut.

Unfortunately for Coupeville, the Braves busted out 20 points in response in the third frame, running the margin up to 48-18 heading into the fourth.

In typical La Conner fashion, it still elected to leave two of its big three on the floor until the game’s final buzzer rang.

Meanwhile, Marble — who has missed several games with a lingering back injury — was left to scrap in the crush under the basket until the four-minute mark of the final frame.

To which Coupeville’s Fab Five seniors, most of whom have played together since grade school, said, “Fine. Bring it.”

And promptly outscored the Braves front-liners 17-11 to put a cap on the game, the season, and their prep careers.

Coupeville’s Fab Five seniors — (l to r) Maddie Georges, Alita Blouin, Carolyn Lhamon, Gustafson, and Ryanne Knoblich, nab a final pic with coach Megan Richter. (Helene Lhamon photo)

Georges snapped the nets on the final pair of three-balls she shot as a Wolf, while Alita Blouin crashed hard to the hoop and Ryanne Knoblich stood tall in the paint, the trio combining to score all of Coupeville’s points down the stretch.

The Wolves also bit hard on defense, forcing La Conner to commit its only shot clock violation of the night with under 80 seconds to play.

With two of the big three still handling the ball.

So, there’s that.

The game’s final minutes were a testament to all that Georges, Lhamon, Knoblich, Blouin, and Gustafson have brought to the program, and a prompt to the five sophomores and one junior who fill out the current Wolf roster.

Never stop fighting. Ever.

In their final appearance on the CHS hardwood, Georges and Blouin led their team with 14 and 11 points, respectively, while Knoblich (5), Gustafson (2), Farris (2), and Marti (1) also scored.

Despite losing games to a pandemic and injuries, Georges and Blouin both finish as two of the more-explosive offensive performers in program history.

Mad Dog, who admirably devoted herself to often being a pass-first point guard intent on setting up other’s scoring opportunities, finishes with 407 career points.

The four-year varsity vet slips past Ashley Manker (404) and exits as the #24 all-time scorer for a program launched in 1974.

Blouin’s visits to the doctor held to her just 23 high school hoops games — two as a junior before a busted ankle, and 21 this season — but she became the first Wolf girl to drop 200+ points in a season since Makana Stone erupted for 427 back in 2015-2016.


Final season scoring stats:

Alita Blouin – 204
Maddie Georges – 154
Ryanne Knoblich – 102
Lyla Stuurmans – 71
Gwen Gustafson – 67
Katie Marti – 47
Carolyn Lhamon – 32
Mia Farris – 27
Madison McMillan – 6
Jada Heaton – 2
Skylar Parker – 2

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The Wolves run to playoff success. (Bailey Thule photo)

“These girls are not ready to stop playing.”

The Coupeville High School girls’ varsity basketball squad, led by their Fab Five seniors, won their second-straight loser-out game, bouncing visiting Auburn Adventist Academy 39-29 Monday in the bi-district opener.

Now 10-10, Megan Richter’s pack of scrappy ballhawks return to their home floor Wednesday to face either La Conner (17-4) or Northwest Christian of Lacey (7-7) for the tourney title and the lone berth to state being awarded to girls’ teams in Districts 1/2.

The Braves and Wolverines were also supposed to play Monday, but their game was bumped to Tuesday after high winds affected the Port Townsend ferry, stranding NWC on the mainland.

La Conner and NWC’s girls now play Tuesday at 7 PM, bumping the boys’ playoff game between Coupeville and NWC from 6:45 up to 5:15.

Having endured a tiebreaker game to earn their playoff ticket, Coupeville’s girls were playing for the third time in four days when they took the floor Monday night.

But the Wolves were also playing at home for the first time in a week, they were wearing their snazzy black uniforms, and the fan base — including several former Wolf coaches — was solidly on their side.

And they responded in style, jumping on Auburn quickly and leading from first bucket to final buzzer.

Springy sophomore Lyla Stuurmans, who drove the Falcon ballhandlers batty all game on defense, knocked down a running layup off of a long pass from Maddie Georges, and things were underway.

An early three-ball from Alita Blouin, and another breakaway bucket from Stuurmans staked Coupeville to an early 9-2 lead, though the Falcons fought back.

Hitting the first of its five treys, Auburn sliced the lead back down to 9-7 heading into the final minute of the opening frame, setting up a potential back-and-forth brawl.

But the Wolves responded, and quickly, with Georges burying a three-ball of her own, before coming back around to fuel yet another Stuurmans layup with a precision half-court pass.

Toss in a free throw off the fingers of Mia Farris, and CHS was up 15-7 at the first break and in control.

Not that Auburn gave in, however, as the Falcons fought for every loose ball and rebound, slicing its deficit back to four points right before halftime.

To which Georges, a four-year varsity vet, said, “Not my gym, not tonight,” banking home a three-ball which beat the buzzer by .000000002 of a second.

“I will make them cry. I promise you that!” (Bailey Thule photo)

The well-timed bomb from Georges sent Coupeville to the break leading 24-17, and the Wolves pushed their lead into double digits early in the third quarter.

Ryanne Knoblich knocked down back-to-back buckets, one off of a rebound, the other set up by a Carolyn Lhamon kick-out pass, before Gwen Gustafson started rainin’ baskets from mid-range, putting the cherry on the sundae.

Auburn rattled home a pair of three-balls in the fourth quarter, but otherwise could not get anything going, while Coupeville milked the clock and eased home with the win.

Six of eight Wolves to see the floor Monday scored, led by Blouin, who popped for a game-high 11 points.

Alita Blouin, knockin’ down buckets and takin’ names. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Georges (9), Knoblich (8), Stuurmans (6), Gustafson (4), and Farris (1) also scored, while Lhamon and Katie Marti dominated on the boards.

Several Wolves hit personal milestones in the playoff win, led by Georges, who moves past Shawna West (388) and lands at #25 on the CHS girls all-time scoring list.

The fiery, yet composed, Wolf point guard, sits with 393 career points, while Blouin became the 61st Wolf girl to crack the 200-point club since the program launched in 1974.

She’s collected 204 points — tying her with Izzy Wells at #58 all-time — while playing in just 22 games.

Injuries limited Blouin to two games through her junior year, but she’s bounced back to start all 20 contests during her senior season.

Lastly, Stuurmans, just a sophomore, cracked the 125-point club.

With 130 and counting, she passes two former players with a direct connection to this year’s team — Christi Messner (125) and Kayla Lawson (124).

Messner is the mom of Stuurman’s fellow sophomore, Katie Marti, and was on the PA system Monday night, while Lawson is the sister of current Wolf JV coach Kassie O’Neil.

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Sophomore slugger Katie Marti tore up the hardwood on both ends of the floor Friday night. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

No time to think about what might have been.

Minutes away from clinching a playoff berth Friday night, the Coupeville High School varsity girls’ basketball squad couldn’t quite seal the deal, but the Wolves will get a second chance Saturday at high noon.

Squandering a 14-point fourth-quarter lead, CHS fell 49-47 in overtime at Friday Harbor.

Having split their season series, with both teams winning at home, the Wolves and Wolverines spar on a neutral court in La Conner a mere 18 hours after their most-recent rumble ended.

Since it’s a tiebreaker and not a playoff game, regular season admission prices will be charged.

The stakes are simple.

Whichever team wins Saturday is the #2 playoff seed from District 1 and joins top-seeded La Conner and District 2’s Auburn Adventist Academy and Northwest Christian (Lacey) at the bi-district tourney Monday, Feb. 13 at Coupeville’s gym.

The loser packs up and heads off to think about spring sports.

Coupeville seniors (l to r) Carolyn Lhamon, Maddie Georges, Ryanne Knoblich, Alita Blouin, and Gwen Gustafson have unfinished business. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Friday’s bout was one-sided for much of the night, with Coupeville, now 8-10 after the loss, leading almost start to finish.

The game had three ties — at 4-4 very early, then 42-42 with six seconds left in regulation, and finally 46-46 late in overtime.

Gwen Gustafson drilled the bottom out of the net to kick off the fourth quarter, taking an Alita Blouin pass and rising up to give CHS its biggest lead of the night at 40-26.

The Wolves still led 42-30 minutes later, after Maddie Georges came flying round the corner to bury a runner over outstretched hands.

And then, everything that could go wrong went wrong for Coupeville, as their hosts ended regulation on a 12-0 tear with the clock madly ticking down.

A late three-ball from McKenna Clark, who led Friday Harbor with 17 points, was a knife in the ribs, but so was a questionable travel call on the Wolves in the waning seconds.

Give the Wolverines credit, though.

After clanking numerous shots all night — Friday Harbor was just 14-27 on free throws while Coupeville was 9-15 — the host team seemingly couldn’t miss at crunch time.

Or in overtime, as Wolverine gunner Mia Blackmon scored her only points of the night on a three-ball to open the extra four-minute frame.

From there, the teams exchanged free throws, with Georges sinking four straight before fouling out, but Coupeville ran out of time as the locals went bonkers.

The wild finish capped a game which began with the Wolves jumping out to a 10-5 lead after one quarter of play.

Georges popped the net on a long three-ball, before Blouin nailed the first of her three treys to key a run in the second quarter.

Rampaging sophomore Katie Marti came up huge in the first half, whistling perfect set-up passes to Blouin and Gustafson, while also outwrestling multiple foes for rebounds.

Up 27-19 at the break after Carolyn Lhamon sank a jumper to send the teams to the locker room, the Wolves rode a nine-point third quarter from Blouin to stake themselves to a 38-26 lead heading into the fourth.

Blouin paced the Wolves, rippling the nets for 17 points, while Georges (13), Lhamon (6), Gustafson (6), Ryanne Knoblich (3), and Marti (2) also scored.

Mia Farris and Lyla Stuurmans both shone brightly on the defensive end of the floor for Coupeville.

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