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Abby Mulholland tossed in four points Wednesday during a thriller of a JV game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Thriller, part deux.

Playing in the moments after the varsity team escaped with a two-point win Wednesday, the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball squad decided to up the ante.

The first game ended when the Wolves chased down and corralled a final rebound to seal their victory. So, in the second clash, things got pushed to a final, buzzer-beating shot.

Which, unfortunately for Coupeville, refused to drop.

CHS had the look it wanted, and the shooter it wanted, but the rim proved unforgiving and this time it was Friday Harbor escaping with a 29-27 victory.

“The girls executed the play as drawn, the ball comes in and gets to Kiara (Contreras), who had a defender on her,” said Coupeville coach Amy King. “Perfect pass to Izzy (Wells), who has a perfect-looking shot, hit the rim and just bounced off.

“It was an exciting game,” she added. “Varsity was behind the JV bench chanting “defense” in the loudest volume possible.

“Improvements are happening with every practice and every game, and as long as we continue to work on the little things, we will be just fine.”

The scrappy Wolf young guns, now 0-3 on the young season, opened play minus starting post player Kylie Chernikoff. A ferocious rebounder and defender, she injured her leg earlier in the day.

That left King scrambling to adjust the starting lineup, but the Wolves quickly adapted.

Down 7-6 after one quarter, Coupeville got a couple buckets from Abby Mulholland and a three-ball off the fingertips of Mollie Bailey in the second quarter and flipped the switch.

Tack on a rebound put-back from Ja’Kenya Hoskins, who “was a monster under the basket, making sure the other teams couldn’t just get easy passes or shots,” and the Wolves went to the break up 15-11.

Then things went all higgedly-piggedly for a bit.

“The second half we came out very slow and were forced to call a timeout to bring out the energy,” King said. “Anya (Leavell) and Mollie came out of that timeout and forced good things to happen with some steals and fast breaks.”

Leavell stayed hot in the fourth quarter, raining down seven points in the frame, including a three-ball, and the Wolves battled to the wire, with “both teams trying to get the ball down the court, pressing the ball, causing turnovers.”

While Friday Harbor came out on the positive side of the final score, King came away pleased with a lot of what she saw from her freshman-heavy squad.

Izzy was a steady player the entire game, snagging rebounds, helping with the ball, taking shots and just playing a well-rounded game,” she said.

Kiara, Anya and Mollie took care of defending the top half of the key, with help through the game from Abby, Kylie (Van Velkinburgh), Alana (Mihill) and Lily (Leedy).”

Coupeville’s scoring attack was led by Leavell, who toasted the net for a game-high 11 points, while Mulholland (4), Wells (4), Bailey (3), Van Velkinburgh (2), Hoskins (2), and Contreras (1) also got their name in the book.

Wells hauled down 13 rebounds, Hoskins snatched 12 boards, Leavell and Bailey each notched five steals and Contreras doled out a pair of assists.

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Freshman Izzy Wells scored a team-high six points Tuesday as the Coupeville JV girls hoops team kicked off its season against Meridian. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Teams coached by Amy King don’t give up.

Regardless of the sport, whether it be volleyball, basketball or softball, that has been a trademark during her run on the sideline at Coupeville schools.

So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Wolf JV girls hoops squad played its strongest ball Tuesday at a moment when many teams would have simply quit.

Closing on a 10-2 run, including scoring the game’s final four baskets, Coupeville couldn’t catch Meridian on opening night, but it did give the visitors something to think about as they exited.

And while the Wolves fell 49-22, the grit showed at the end, with all the points rattled home by freshmen, speaks well for the future.

The late run came largely courtesy three players — Izzy Wells, Ja’Kenya Hoskins and Kylie Van Velkinburgh — who have grown up playing together on SWISH teams.

Wells knocked down three buckets during the final surge, one coming off a put-back on an offensive rebound, while Van Velkinburgh showed off a varied skill set.

On back-to-back plays, she first hauled down a rebound and fed Hoskins for a basket, then swished a long shot from the top that was a millimeter away from being a three-ball.

The strong finish made up some for a hot-and-cold opening act for the Wolves.

Coupeville fell behind 10-3 at the first break, unable to hit a field goal in the first eight minutes.

It got worse, as CHS didn’t hit a shot from the field until the 2:25 mark of the second quarter, when Anya Leavell coaxed a soft runner to drop.

At that point, the Wolves had scraped out seven points, all on free throws, with Hoskins, Mollie Bailey, Kiara Contreras and Kylie Chernikoff all hitting from the charity stripe.

The star of the second quarter was a young woman with a Coupeville connection, who, unfortunately for the Wolves, was wearing a Meridian uniform.

Freshman Malaysia Smith, daughter of former CHS boys basketball coach Anthony Smith, made her high school debut a strong one, carving up the Wolf defense for nine of her game-high 15 points in the second frame.

Leavell netted a long jumper in the third quarter and was the only Wolf to hit from the field until Coupeville’s fourth-quarter run.

Wells paced CHS with six points, Hoskins banked in five and Leavell popped for four, while Contreras (2), Van Velkinburgh (2), Bailey (2) and Chernikoff (1) rounded out the scoring attack.

While they didn’t score on opening night, Lily Leedy, Morgan Stevens, Ivy Leedy and Alana Mihill also saw floor time for the Wolves.

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Coupeville High School freshman Ja’Kenya Hoskins saw action in both varsity and JV games Saturday during the season-opening Sedro-Woolley Jamboree. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wolves wait to take the floor. (Amy King photo)

Everyone loves jamborees.

For the players, it’s a chance to get on the court and face someone besides your own teammates.

And for coaches, it’s a chance to gauge where their team is without having to worry too much about wins and losses.

So, with the regular-season opener looming Tuesday, the Coupeville High School girls hoops squad hit the road Saturday, landing at the Sedro-Woolley Jamboree.

The event drew nine schools, ranging from 1B to 4A, and both Wolf teams finished the night with a split.

But, like it said up top, wins and losses were not priority #1.

“Our mission with the jamboree was to get game jitters out and see what we have learned in our two weeks of practice,” said Coupeville coach David King. “As coaches we (he and wife Amy) came away pleased with the effort and results.”

 

Varsity:

Coupeville fell by two to 2A Bellingham, then toppled Darrington 12-9 in the nightcap.

Lindsey Roberts paced the Wolves on offense, while freshmen Izzy Wells and Ja’Kenya Hoskins stepped up to replace missing varsity players.

“Effort and attitude played a big part” in the frosh getting the call, David King said.

The duo each played one of two games for the varsity, while junior Tia Wurzrainer and sophomore Mollie Bailey also made their varsity debuts, playing in both games.

The Wolves almost pulled off an upset against a foe from a much-bigger school, staying close to Bellingham and pulling within a bucket with just 15 seconds to play.

“We had good ball movement up until the end,” King said. “But a defender stepped in front and stole the ball.”

While two wins would have been extra sweet, Coupeville’s coach was pleased with a lot of what he saw from his squad.

“Varsity played well on defense and did a very good job with executing our plays many times.”

 

JV:

The second unit “fell behind early to Lakewood and tried climbing back in, but ran out of time,” in its finale, but that couldn’t dim the glow from the opening rumble.

Squaring off with Bellingham, the Wolves built a 10-4 lead, then withstood a wild comeback that saw the game knotted up as time ran down in the short game.

Not content to play for the tie, Coupeville pulled out a buzzer-beater special.

Wolf point guard Kiara Contreras snagged an in-bounds pass, put the ball on the floor, then launched a pass that zipped most of the length of the court before landing on the fingertips of teammate Anya Leavell.

Her fellow fab frosh promptly knocked out the bottom of the net with a game-winner from the baseline, bringing her teammates to their feet.

Of course, the pass could have gone terribly wrong in so many ways, and given Bellingham its own chance to win.

Except Contreras and Leavell, seasoned players with multiple middle school and SWISH seasons under their belts, are cold-blooded killers.

So it was all good.

Both of us (coaches) are saying ‘nooooo’,” King admitted. “But in the end, it all worked out perfect.”

The JV games marked the debut for freshmen Lily Leedy, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, Alana Mihill, Contreras and Leavell, as well as for first-time players Morgan Stevens and Ivy Leedy.

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CHS cheer sensation Melia Welling is ready to rock ‘n roll. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Kylie Chernikoff gets ready to thread the needle.

Gavin Knoblich can beat you with either hand.

The Wolves get their kicks in.

The Ruckinator has returned to the gym. Chris Ruck is back to break ankles and take names.

Mica Shipley explodes into action.

Freshman Anya Leavell fine-tunes her shot.

Winter sports are upon us.

Basketball and cheer have taken over the gyms at Coupeville High School, with the first game less than two weeks away.

Wanderin’ photographer John Fisken was out and about Thursday afternoon and captured the Wolves putting in work.

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   CMS 7th grader Maya Lucero outscored Blue Heron by herself Monday afternoon. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

We arrive. We torch your gym. We leave. (Ryan Georges photo)

Rain drops were falling outside Monday, but inside the gym at Port Townsend, a storm was raging.

Dropping the hammer on their foes, both Coupeville Middle School girls basketball squads savaged host Blue Heron, then retreated to the bus to celebrate in style.

The CMS 7th graders opened things with a 37-3 crunching in which three different Wolves outscored their foes by themselves, then Coupeville’s 8th grade unit strolled to a 53-14 victory.

The wins lift the young guns to 7-2 on the season, while the older Wolves are 5-4.

Coupeville wraps its season Thursday with the longest road trip of the year, a jaunt to the land from which Ron Bagby sprang, the misty Twilight-land known as Forks.

8th grade:

The first half was a battle. The second, a rout.

Clinging to a 20-11 lead at the half, Coupeville went nuclear like the Rams in the NFL free agent market, scoring every time they tried anything.

The 33-3 surge after the break brought a smile to CMS coach Dustin Van Velkinburgh’s face.

“Didn’t play very well in the first half, but then we turned it up and played a lot better,” he said.

It was a two-woman show on the offensive end of the floor for the Wolves, with Audrianna Shaw (16 points) and Anya Leavell (12) combining to singe the nets.

They had plenty of help though, with Kylie Van Velkinburgh (9), Izzy Wells (7), Ella Colwell (4), Kiara Contreras (2), Abby Mulholland (2) and Ja’Kenya Hoskins (1) all rattling the rim.

7th grade:

Carolyn Lhamon dominated in the paint, throwing down 15 points to pace five Wolves who penned their name in the score-book.

She was backed up by Alita Blouin, who knocked down eight, Maya Lucero and Maddie Georges, who each tickled the nets for six and Gwen Gustafson, who banked home a bucket.

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