Posts Tagged ‘Auburn Adventist Academy’

The present and the future, as Wolf gunner Logan Downes inspires a young Coupeville hoops star. (Angie Downes photo)

For a brief, shining moment, the unthinkable became possible.

But then it was gone.

Trailing by 18 points entering the fourth quarter Saturday, the Coupeville High School boys’ basketball squad almost pulled off a comeback for the ages.

Ripping off 13 straight points thanks to a ferocious defense, the Wolves made visiting Auburn Adventist Academy flinch, and flinch hard, but the Falcons regrouped and closed out a 64-53 win.

The bi-district playoff victory sends the private school ballers to the 2B state tourney, while Coupeville falls a win shy of making a return trip to the big dance.

The Wolves, who snapped a 34-year state tourney dry spell last season, finish 14-9 and can return eight of the 12 players on this year’s final varsity roster.

Not making state stings, especially since CHS had two cracks at punching their ticket, but also lost to La Conner on a disputed game-ending call two nights ago.

But not returning to Spokane isn’t unusual, as half of last year’s 16-team field, including defending state champ Liberty (Spangle) didn’t earn an invite this season.

Kalama (3rd last season), Colfax (4th), Toutle Lake, Ilwaco, River View, and Mabton also missed out, with Kalama crashing to 2-18 after losing a large group of seniors.

Coupeville also took a hit in graduation, losing six players from the squad which went 16-2 last season, but the Wolves never bottomed out.

After opening with a series of games against 2A and 1A foes, Brad Sherman’s squad won the two-day Cascade Hoops Classic in Leavenworth, bouncing always-tough Kittitas and Manson.

The Wolves hit a smooth groove in the middle of the season, winning 11 of 13 games at one point, including one in which Jonathan Valenzuela banked in a game-winning buzzer-beater three-ball to knife La Conner on its home court.

Saturday’s winner-to-state, loser-out game pitted the two #1 seeds in the District 1/2 tourney, after La Conner shocked the hoops world by upending both Auburn and Coupeville to get back to state for the first time since 2019.

The Wolves and Falcons played a non-conference game Feb. 2 in Auburn, with Coupeville winning 58-52 as Logan Downes scored 32 of his game-high 40 points in the second half.

Like in that first contest, CHS fell behind by 13 points in the first half, though this time the deficit was achieved in a much-quicker, more-shocking manner.

As in the Wolves fell behind 13-0 while having considerable trouble cracking Auburn’s slap-happy full-court press.

Coupeville didn’t put a point on the board until freshman Chase Anderson drained a pair of free throws at the 3:26 mark of the first quarter, enduring being hit in the head as he crashed to the hoop.

Chase Anderson, only a freshman, provided a huge burst of energy and defensive scrappiness for Coupeville this season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wolves first field goal finally found the bottom of the net with less than two minutes to go in the opening frame, with Nick Guay popping a shot off a feed from Anderson.

The fab frosh came right back around with a bucket off of an offensive rebound, followed by baskets from Downes and Valenzuela, and the comeback was seemingly launched.

If someone walked into the gym right as the second quarter started, with Auburn clinging to an 18-12 lead, they would have had little idea of the carnage which came before.

That second frame was a slugfest, often quite literally, as both teams picked up a string of fouls, and things got chippy.

Coupeville got within four, Auburn surged back to a 10-point lead, then the Wolves hit four straight free throws — with two courtesy a technical foul called on the visiting coach — to cut things down to 29-23.

Unfortunately for home fans, the Falcons plunged a dagger in, as an Auburn guard slipped through a crowd of players and splashed home a three-ball which hit the floor right as the halftime buzzer shrieked to life.

That bitter taste on the back of the tongue carried over into the third quarter for the Wolves, as they struggled to put points on the board.

The best moment of the night came on a wild play in which Downes shot cross-court to outrun a rival for a ball after it was poked loose.

Somehow snagging the madly bouncing orb a step away from going out of bounds, the Wolf junior zipped a pass to Cole White in the far right corner while balanced, barely, on one foot.

Flicking the ball skyward, Coupeville’s wiry junior point guard splashed home his shot, the trey giving him exactly 200 career points with a season left to play.

Other than that, though, and William Davidson and White drawing offensive charging fouls on Falcon ballhandlers, the third quarter was a largely barren wasteland for the Wolves.

Outscored 16-7 in the frame, with Auburn knocking down a trio of three-balls, Coupeville headed to the fourth trailing 48-30 and in dire straits.

Cue up the gut-check defensive stand, as Sherman’s pack came out howling for blood.

Forcing numerous turnovers in the backcourt and converting most of them into wham-bam buckets, the Wolves ripped off 13 unanswered points to open the quarter.

Downes and senior Alex Murdy, who has spilled considerable blood, sweat, and tears as Coupeville’s primary defensive stopper, both rattled home six points during the surge.

The packed CHS gym was rockin’, with the road fans making a fair amount of noise in response to the hyped-up Wolf faithful, and LL Cool J seemed about ready to pop up at midcourt, mic in hand.

“Don’t call it a comeback, just call it a win.”

Except, this time around, Auburn didn’t wilt under the pressure.

Unlike in the first meeting, when the Falcons cracked down the stretch, this time they remained tough and resilient.

Auburn’s seventh, and final, three-ball of the night pushed the lead back to eight, and Coupeville was unable to put together back-to-back buckets at any point in the game’s final four minutes.

For a game in which seemingly every player finished with three or four fouls, there actually wasn’t an extraordinary number of free throws shot, though the Falcons did hit the ones they needed at the end.

Coupeville sank more charity shots — 15 of 25 to Auburn’s 13 of 18 — but left a chunk of points on the edge of the rim.

The playoff loss marked the final appearance for Wolf seniors Dominic Coffman, Jermiah Copeland, Valenzuela, and Murdy.

Alex Murdy (left) and Dominic Coffman played key roles in the rebirth of Wolf boys’ basketball. (Chloe Marzocca photo)

Downes paced the Wolves with a game-high 24 points, with Murdy netting all nine of his points in the fourth quarter.

Anderson (8), Guay (4), White (3), Coffman (2), Valenzuela (2), and Davidson (1) also scored, with Ryan Blouin working hard as a press-breaker.

Murdy, a terror on offense and defense during his Wolf career, finishes with 448 points.

Alex and older sibling Xavier, who scored 482 before graduating last spring, are one of just eight pairs of brothers to both top 400 points during the 106-year run of CHS boys’ basketball.

His running mate, Downes, caps one of the most remarkable seasons put together by a Coupeville hoops star.

The youngest of Angie and Ralph’s three sons scorched the nets for 554 points in 23 games — a hair over 24 points a night — while compiling the second-best single-season total by a Wolf player, boy or girl.

Logan’s junior season trails only Jeff Stone, who scored 644 as a senior in 1969-1970.

The previous #2 scorer was Jeff Rhubottom, who knocked down 459 points in 1977-1978.

Career-wise, Downes sits with 778 points, putting him #15 all-time on the CHS boys’ chart.

He passed Hunter Hammer (755), Barry Brown (769), and Jack Elzinga (770) Saturday, and will enter his senior season needing 360 points to catch Stone and Mike Bagby, who are tied at #1 with 1,137 points apiece.

While that duo tops the boys’ chart, Brianne King, who rained down 1,549 points between 1999-2003, is the undisputed school scoring champ.


Final season scoring stats:

Logan Downes – 554
Alex Murdy – 242
Cole White – 161
Nick Guay – 130
Jonathan Valenzuela – 85
Dominic Coffman – 60
Chase Anderson – 55
Ryan Blouin – 48
Zane Oldenstadt – 12
Jermiah Copeland – 10
William Davidson – 7
Mikey Robinett – 4
Hunter Bronec – 2
Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim – 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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Ryanne Knoblich gets a hug from momma Mariah before kickin’ butt on the hardwood. (Karen Carlson photo)

It took some extra work, but they’re in.

The Coupeville High School varsity girls’ basketball team had to go to a tiebreaker, and hold off Friday Harbor by a single point, but the Wolves are playoff bound.

CHS will be at home for their postseason rumbles, as well, hosting the bi-district tourney next week.

The four-team single-elimination tilt kicks off Monday with a doubleheader, then wraps Wednesday with one team punching its ticket to state.

Gwen Gustafson keeps her eye on the ball. (Bailey Thule photo)


What you need to know:



District 1/2 girls’ basketball tourney



Feb. 13, 15



Coupeville High School (501 S Main)



Tickets can be purchased two ways – online or at the door.

No regular season passes are accepted, as playoff money goes to the districts, and not the school hosting the tourney.

Ticket sales at the door are CASH only.

To purchase online, pop over to the GoFan link at:


You select the game and date, then bring your phone with you to the game. The ticket taker will hit redeem on the screen, stamp your hand, and you’re cleared to enter.

Prices are:

$8.00 — Adults and students w/o ASB

$6.00 — Senior citizens, military ID, students with ASB, children (6-12)





Team capsules:


Auburn Adventist Academy

Season record: 9-5

League: 1B/2B SeaTac

Trips to state tourney: None

RPI ranking: #27

Results vs. bi-district foes: Lost to Coupeville 42-21, beat Northwest Christian 49-23

Coach: Jesse Plecker

Seniors: Not available

Mascot: Falcons



Season record: 9-9

League: Northwest 2B/1B League

Trips to state tourney: 7 (Most recent: 2016)

RPI ranking: #26

Results vs. bi-district foes: Beat AAA 42-21, lost to La Conner 72-16 and 48-22

Coach: Megan Richter

Seniors: Alita Blouin, Maddie Georges, Gwen Gustafson, Carolyn Lhamon, Ryanne Knoblich

Mascot: Wolves


La Conner

Season record: 17-4

League: Northwest 2B/1B League

Trips to state tourney: 14 (Most recent: 2022)

RPI ranking: #6

Results vs. bi-district foes: Beat Coupeville 72-16 and 48-22

Coach: Joe Harper

Seniors: Josie Harper, Makayla Herrera, Ellie Marble, Kennedy Miller

Mascot: Braves


Northwest Christian (Lacey)

Season record: 7-7

League: 1B/2B SeaTac

Trips to state tourney: 1 (2010)

RPI ranking: #38

Results vs. bi-district foes: Lost to AAA 49-23

Coach: Not available

Seniors: Not available

Mascot: Wolverines

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Coupeville’s Logan Downes (left) and Dominic Coffman prepare to terrorize their foes. (Bailey Thule photo)

They didn’t have a prayer.

Auburn Adventist Academy blew a 13-point lead Thursday, the private school hoopsters unable to stop the Coupeville High School varsity boys’ basketball team when it mattered the most.

In a possible playoff preview, the Wolves stormed from behind to turn their first-half deficit into a 16-point second-half advantage, then held on for a 58-52 road win.

The non-conference victory gives Coupeville its tenth win in its last 12 games and lifts CHS to 12-6 heading into the final week of the regular season.

The Wolves host Northwest 2B/1B League rival La Conner Tuesday, Feb. 7, then travel to Friday Harbor Feb. 10, chasing the top playoff seed from District 1.

Auburn Adventist, which is the #1 seed from District 2, falls to 16-3 after losing its regular-season finale.

The two schools could meet again at bi-districts, and, if they do, it will be on Coupeville’s home floor, as CHS hosts the tourney.

Thursday was about winning now, getting a possible preview of what’s to come, and blowing up the RPI rankings compiled by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Auburn entered the night ranked #10 in 2B, while Coupeville was slotted at #22 by computers which can’t look deep enough to know that four of six Wolf early-season losses came against much-larger schools.

Having faced off with 2A and 1A rivals, including a wild double-overtime loss to a Sultan squad which is now 16-2, Brad Sherman’s pack of defensive-minded Wolves have gotten stronger as the season plays out.

Physically and mentally.

Which goes a long way to explaining why Coupeville didn’t crack, even when it struggled to find an offensive groove in the early going.

Auburn’s unique gym, which looks like someone took an airplane hangar, slapped down a basketball court, then added a cafe with tables off to the side, also had a rim which was unforgiving in the first half.

Nick Guay did what he could to keep CHS in the game, pumping in six points in the opening quarter, but he was the lone Wolf to get the ball to stay in the bucket on a field goal attempt.

Trailing 17-8 at the first break, Coupeville hit its lowest moment a minute or two later, as the deficit widened to 21-8.

But the Wolves have shown patience as the season has progressed, with the current group jelling as they get further away from last spring’s graduation, which claimed six players from a team which made it to the state tourney.

Logan Downes popped for three buckets, with fab frosh Chase Anderson and wily point guard Cole White also banking in shots, as CHS closed the half on a 10-2 run.

That cut the margin down to 23-18 headed into the locker room but was just a taste of what was to come.

Downes, who is having one of the best offensive seasons in the 106-year history of Wolf boys’ basketball, erupted in the second half, pouring in 32 of his game-high 40 points, while he and his teammates got appropriately nasty on defense.

With Alex Murdy as the point of the spear, Coupeville clamped down big time, frustrating Auburn and preventing the Falcons from getting any easy buckets.

Alex Murdy, on the attack. (Bailey Thule photo)

With refs who called very few fouls, the Wolves stepped up and fought for every loose ball, battled for every rebound, and stayed eternally scrappy.

Then, Downes and Co. took the turnovers, kicked their offense into high gear and made the Falcons back-pedal, splashing home buckets over them as they retreated.

The junior gunner netted four three-balls in the third quarter alone, rippling the nets for 18 points on his own as Coupeville busted out a game-changing 22-6 run.

The Wolves reclaimed the lead at 28-25, their first time in front since 2-0, and never gave back the advantage.

By the time Downes split defenders for a running layup to close the third, the play set up by a Dominic Coffman steal, Coupeville was in front 40-29.

From there, the Wolves pushed the lead out to 45-29, and still led 53-40 after Guay swished a three-ball from the right side with mere minutes to play.

Auburn is a dangerous team, however, with speedy players who force a fair number of turnovers, and the Falcons made one last run.

Three steals fueled a 10-0 run by the hosts, cutting Coupeville’s lead all the way back down to 53-50, but the Wolves never cracked.

Downes beat the defense for a running layup to push the margin back to five, then closed the game at the free throw line, where the Wolves were the better team.

CHS hit 12 of 15 shots from the charity stripe, while Auburn was a weak 3-9 on the night.

As he bumped across the backroads of America on his way home, CHS coach Brad Sherman reflected on what he had seen, and was pleased with a lot of it.

“Just proud of our guy’s toughness and composure to climb back in and take that one,” he said. “Our focus just needs to be one game at a time.”

Guay finished with 11 points, while White (2), Coffman (2), Anderson (2), and Murdy (1) also scored, and Zane Oldenstadt, William Davidson, and Jonathan Valenzuela chipped in with intangibles.

“Give me the dang ball!!” (Bailey Thule photo)

Downes 40-point effort matches his career-high, set earlier this season in another close game, with that one being against Orcas Island.

With two regular-season rumbles left to play, then a possible playoff run, he sits with 430 points on the season.

That’s the fourth-best single-season effort ever by a Wolf boy, and sixth-best by a CHS hoops player.

Downes trails just Jeff Stone (644 in 1969-1970), Jeff Rhubottom (459 in 1977-1978), Brianne King (446 and 442, in 2000-2001 and 2002-2003 respectively), and Pete Petrov (442 in 1995-1996).

By moving into the top 10 single-season performances, he bumps his own coach from the list, as Brad Sherman singed the nets for 396 points back in 2002-2003.

Though, after the win, the always even-keeled Wolf hardwood guru probably has no problem with now being #11.

Career-wise, Downes is still chasing Sherman, and a few others, as he moves from #31 all-time on the boys scoring chart to a tie with Jason McFadyen at #27.

With 654 points and counting, the youngest of Ralph and Angie Downes‘ three sons passes Wiley Hesselgrave (632), Kramer O’Keefe (636), and Rich Morris (637).

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Ryanne Knoblich cracked the 100-point club Thursday night. (Morgan White photo)

Consider it a warning shot across the bow.

Facing off with a potential playoff opponent Thursday, the Coupeville High School varsity girls’ basketball team made short work of their rivals.

Getting points from nine players, the Wolves roared out to a 28-point lead on the road at Auburn Adventist Academy, then coasted in for a comfortable 42-21 non-conference win.

The third-straight victory for Megan Richter’s squad, it lifts them to 8-8 heading into the final week of the regular season.

Coupeville hosts Northwest 2B/1B League leader La Conner next Tuesday, Feb. 7 on Senior Night, then travels to Friday Harbor Feb. 10.

Two of those three teams advance to the bi-district playoffs, which are Feb. 13-15 at Coupeville High School.

La Conner is currently 2-0 in the three-team round robin of 2B schools, with the Wolves at 1-1, and Friday Harbor 0-2.

The #1 team from District 1 (Coupeville’s district) opens the playoffs against the #2 team from District 2, with the #2 squad from D-1 facing the #1 group from D-2 in loser-out games.

If things in D-1 hold through the final week, that means La Conner would face Northwest Christian (Lacey), while Coupeville and Auburn Adventist would reunite in the other game.

The winners Feb. 13 return to CHS Feb. 15 to play for the bi-district title and a trip to the state tourney.

If Thursday’s game was a playoff preview, Wolf players have to feel pretty good about things, as they dominated Auburn from opening tip to final buzzer.

Lyla Stuurmans slipped a free throw through the net to open the scoring, and Coupeville had a lead it would never relinquish.

Like never, ever.

Hitting the boards hard and playing a brisk game of “give me the dang ball or die!” on defense, the feisty Wolves bolted out to an 8-2 lead after one quarter of play and never looked back.

And, if 8-2 doesn’t sound like a huge lead, it still felt like it, as Coupeville rarely let Auburn get anywhere close enough to the hoop to launch a shot in the early going.

If a whole bunch of Wolf shots hadn’t taken weird spins off the glass or popped backwards off an unforgiving rim, they would have been up by a solid 20+ points, instead of just six.

The baskets started falling at a more-satisfying pace in the second quarter, from Katie Marti slapping home a runner off of an Alita Blouin dish, to Marti returning the favor, feeding Ryanne Knoblich for a breakaway bucket.

Blouin splashed home a three-ball right before the buzzer, sending CHS to the halftime break up 21-7, before Coupeville really got going in the third quarter.

Or, more specifically, Knoblich strode out onto the floor, screamed “Ain’t no one in this joint can stop me!” and went on a tear.

Sure, it’s possible I’m putting words in her mouth, but the Wolf senior was most certainly a savage in the second half, brutalizing any defender who dared to (meekly) step to her.

Barreling through the paint, flinging bodies in all directions, Knoblich knocked down nine of her game-high 11 points in the third, with six of those points coming courtesy offensive rebounds.

The best one was the one where she slammed two hands on the ball, ripped the ball loose from an Auburn player’s less-than-sturdy grip and sent the Falcon sprawling to the hardwood.

When Knoblich wasn’t channeling Dennis Rodman on the boards, Wolf point guard Maddie Georges was flipping note-perfect passes left, right, and every direction, setting up her teammates for easy buckets.

Don’t mess with Maddie Georges, cause you’ll lose. (Bailey Thule photo)

One Georges pass in the third quarter went to Knoblich, one went to Marti, and a third found the waiting fingers of Madison McMillan, as Georges shredded the Falcon defense at every opportunity.

Up 36-9 heading into the fourth, Coupeville pushed the margin all the way out to 40-12 before Auburn salvaged some self-respect by closing the game on a 9-2 push.

Knoblich’s 11 points helped her achieve a personal milestone, as she cracked the 100-point club and now sits with 101 for her varsity career.

Marti dropped in a season-high 10 points in support, while Blouin (9), McMillan (4), Mia Farris (2), Gwen Gustafson (2), Carolyn Lhamon (2), Stuurmans (1), and Georges (1) also scored.

Jada Heaton and Skylar Parker brought hustle to their work on the defensive end of the floor, as all 11 girls on the Wolf varsity roster saw floor time.


No JV Game:

Auburn only has one girls’ team, so Coupeville’s second unit had the night off.

The Wolf young guns, who are 6-8 on the season, close their season next week with games against La Conner and Friday Harbor.

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