Posts Tagged ‘Basketball’

   Monday marks four weeks until Ulrik Wells and other Wolf basketball players hit the hard-court. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

   CHS seniors Lauren Rose (22) and Allison Wenzel (12) are vital parts of a girls hoops program which is 27-0 all-time in varsity Olympic League games.

It’s never too early to think about basketball.

Four weeks from today (Monday, Nov. 13) is the first day of practice for Coupeville High School’s hoop teams, and the first official game is two weeks after that.

On the girls side, David and Amy King return for their sixth season at the helm of the Wolf varsity and JV programs. Meanwhile, the CHS boys program starts anew, with first-year coaches Brad Sherman and Chris Smith.

Coupeville’s girls have won three straight Olympic League crowns, are 27-0 all-time in conference play and went to the state tourney in 2016.

Success has been a little harder to find on the boys side of the ball, where the Wolves haven’t posted a winning season since 2010.

Sherman, who graduated from CHS in 2003, was a key player on the 2001-2002 boys basketball squad, the last to win a league title. He’s the #8 scorer in program history.

And that history is a long one, as the Wolf boys are heading into their 101st season of round-ball play.

Thanks to smart (or lucky) scheduling, Coupeville hosts Chimacum Jan. 19, 2018, the anniversary of the first basketball game in school history.

Back then, CHS drilled Langley 29-7 on Jan. 19, 1917.

The Wolf girls program hasn’t been around as long — this will be its 44th season — but owns all three state banners (6th in 2002, 8th in 2003 and 8th in 2005) won by a Coupeville basketball team.

As you count down the days until hoops mania reigns supreme, a fairly concrete look at the 2017-2018 schedules is below.

Things may change a bit, due to weather, ferry issues or the whims of fate, so keep an eye on these two sites for updates as we go forward:

Coupeville Schools — http://coupeville.tandem.co/

Olympic League — http://www.olympicleague.com/

League games are identified with an asterisk. Start times are JV first, varsity second.


Mon-Nov. 27 – @ Bellingham (5:30/7:00)
Wed-Nov. 29 – Blaine (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Dec. 1 – Mount Vernon Christian (7:00/5:15)
Wed-Dec. 6 – @Klahowya* (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Dec. 8 – Sequim (3:30/5:15)
Sat-Dec. 9 – @South Whidbey (6:45/5:00)
Tues-Dec. 12 – @Port Townsend* (5:15/7:00)
Sat-Dec. 16 – Bellevue Christian (4:45/4:45)
Wed-Dec. 20 – Concrete (7:00/5:15)
Fri-Dec. 29 – Orcas Island (TBD)
Wed-Jan. 3 – @Chimacum* (4:30/6:00)
Fri-Jan. 5 – @North Mason (3:45/5:30)
Tue-Jan. 9 – Port Townsend* (5:15/5:15)
Sat-Jan. 13 – @Meridian (5:45/7:15)
Tue-Jan. 16 – Klahowya* (5:15/3:30)
Fri-Jan. 19 – @Chimacum* (5:15/6:00)
Fri-Jan. 26 – Port Townsend* (3:30/5:15)
Tues-Jan. 30 – @Sequim (5:15/3:30)
Thur-Feb. 1 – @Klahowya* (5:15/3:45)
Sat-Feb. 3 – Chimacum* (3:30/5:15) SENIOR NIGHT


Wed-Nov. 29 – @ Blaine (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Dec. 1 – Mount Vernon Christian (5:15/7:00)
Wed-Dec. 6 – Klahowya* (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Dec. 8 – Sequim (5:15/3:30)
Sat-Dec. 9 – @South Whidbey (5:00/6:45)
Tues-Dec. 12 – Port Townsend* (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Dec. 15 – @Vashon Island (4:30/6:00)
Sat-Dec. 16 – Bellevue Christian (4:45/3:00)
Wed-Dec. 20 – Concrete (no JV/7:00)
Fri-Dec. 29 – Orcas Island (TBD)
Wed-Jan. 3 – Chimacum* (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Jan. 5 – North Mason (5:15/7:00)
Tue-Jan. 9 – @Port Townsend* (5:15/7:00)
Sat-Jan. 13 – @Sultan (5:00/6:45)
Tue-Jan. 16 – @Klahowya* (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Jan. 19 – Chimacum* (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Jan. 26 – @Port Townsend* (5:15/7:00)
Tues-Jan. 30 – @Sequim (3:30/TBD)
Thur-Feb. 1 – Klahowya* (5:15/7:00) SENIOR NIGHT
Sat-Feb. 3 – @Chimacum* (5:15/7:00)

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   Bennett Boyles (center), hanging out with his basketball buddies. (Konni Smith photo)

The smile. Always the smile.

Whether he was on the basketball court, wearing a Coupeville uniform as he swished buckets, or in the darkest moments of his battle with cancer, Bennett Boyles never stopped smiling.

And while his physical body lost its battle earlier this year, Bennett’s legacy continues to build.

His community — his family, friends and fans, and anyone who met Bennett was a fan — continues to come together to celebrate his life and help others who are facing the same battle he did.

September is both Childhood Cancer Awareness month and also would have been Bennett’s 13th birthday.

To mark the moment, his mom, Lucienne Rivera, has launched a fundraiser, with a goal of raising $1,300 for Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“It’s a beautiful, gifted, and compassionate organization we are SO blessed to have close by,” she said.

To learn more and keep Bennett’s spirit alive while helping others, pop over to:


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   A new teaching job will prevent Wolf legend Megan Smith from continuing as a CMS basketball coach.

One legend down.

Megan Smith, who made the jump from Coupeville High School hoops star to middle school coach, is stepping away from running the CMS 7th grade girls basketball team.

At least for a bit.

Smith’s new real-world job, as a teacher with Hand in Hand Head Start, which allows her to follow in the footsteps of mom Cherie, requires a detour out of the gym.

“With my new job, the hours just don’t work out,” Smith said. “But I do plan on returning eventually!

“So don’t count me out. I’m not done forever, just for now.”

Smith went 6-4 in her one year at the helm of the 7th grade program.

Her departure means both CMS girls basketball jobs are open, since 8th grade coach Ryan King stepped down after last season.

Before graduating from CHS in 2010, Smith was a 12-time letter winner (volleyball, basketball and softball) who was voted the school’s Female Athlete of the Year three straight times.

She is the fourth-leading scorer in Wolf girls basketball history with 1,042 points.

No word yet on whether her departure from the coaching ranks will make Coupeville Athletic Director (and dad) Willie Smith remove Megan from his will.

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   Mike Criscuola poured in 979 points on the hardwood between 1956-1960, fifth most in school history. (Jack Sell photo)

The past has many tales to tell.

There are many reasons to push for record boards for every sport at Coupeville High School, and remembering and honoring those who have come before us is a primary one.

By digging into the past and putting in hours buried in newspaper archives, the back room of school libraries and the occasional attic or basement, we can, and will, better preserve our town’s sports legacy.

My current project, trying to sift through 100 years of CHS boys basketball and 44 years of Wolf girls hoops, with that history largely scattered to the wind in a billion little pieces, has been equal parts frustrating and enlightening.

Barring the sudden creation of a time machine, reality is this — we can’t put together a complete, 100% accurate history of our town’s high school basketball teams.

It’s just not possible. Too many records have been lost, or never kept in the first place.

But balancing out that doom and gloom is that it is possible to unearth a lot that was once thought lost. To swing the spotlight back to those who should have been remembered earlier.

One such person is Mike Criscuola, or, as I have taken to calling him in recent days, The Lost Legend of the ’50s.

As I pull together a pretty-close-to-comprehensive list of the top 10 scorers in CHS hoops history, many of the names are ones I expected to find.

Jeff Stone, Randy Keefe, Brad Sherman.

Before checking a single old stat sheet, newspaper story or yearbook, I would have put money on that trio, so, finding they sit #1, #3 and #8 all-time, respectively, is hardly a surprise.

But Criscuola was not a name I had heard before, and, without this latest round of research, he would have been lost in the annuals of time to me.

Which would have been a shame, since he scored the fifth-most points of any Wolf boys basketball player.

He was a man among boys, literally towering over most of his teammates, from the moment he made his varsity high school basketball debut in 1955-1956 … as an eighth grader.

Criscuola only appeared in four varsity games that year, missing his lone free throw attempt and failing to score.

But, from that moment on, he would be a fixture for the Wolves, one of the most consistent players ever to pull on the jersey.

Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing in at around 220 during his playing days, Criscuola knocked down 115 points as a freshman (fifth-best on the team) and 253 (third-best) as a sophomore.

His final two years, ’58-’59 and ’59-’60, he led the Wolves in scoring, going off for 306 and 305 points, respectively, to bring his high school career total to 979 points.

During his junior season, Criscuola led Coupeville to within a whisker of one of the great postseason upsets of all time.

La Conner and Darrington were overwhelming favorites at districts, and the first page of the tourney program devoted 80% of its space to listing their strengths.

Coupeville got a lonely paragraph at the end, a brief mention of “Strong Mike” and had, in the opinion of the writer, “faint hopes.”


The Wolves savaged Sultan 42-25, drilled Darrington (and its 6-foot-7 center, Randy Phillips) 47-36, then lost a donnybrook with La Conner in the title game, falling 62-55 as the Braves earned a trip to state.

It would be 11 years more before Stone and the ’69-’70 Wolves became the first Whidbey Island hoops team to win a district title, but a statement had been made in ’59 by “Strong Mike.”

Criscuola was (I believe) the school’s career scoring leader at his graduation, and held that mark for a decade, until Stone topped him right before graduating in ’70.

Even now, 57 years after his last game as a Wolf, with the addition of the three-point shot and a much-quicker, offensive-orientated game, Criscuola’s output stands tall.

Stone (1137), Mike Bagby (1104), Keefe (1088) and Jeff Rhubottom (1012) are the only CHS players to have surpassed him in almost six decades of play.

Somewhere down the road, hopefully soon, when CHS raises a basketball record board, Criscuola’s name will be back in the spotlight.

Until then, we’d like to take a moment today to welcome “Strong Mike” into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, his name will live up at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab, forever a vital part of our town’s sports history.

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   The Big Bad (Coupeville) Wolf gets star billing on the 1956 CHS yearbook cover. (Jack Sell photos/yearbook courtesy Sandy Roberts)

   Sandy Roberts, grandfather of current Wolf three-sport star Lindsey Roberts, back when he was a bright-eyed 14-year-old freshman.

The 1955 CHS cheer squad was thin on numbers, but strong on lung power.

   Wolf hoops star Jack Elzinga. If I was alive and covering sports back then, I would have nicknamed him “The Zinger.”

   Principal, teacher, coach, class advisor — Mert Waller, father of current Whidbey News-Times Sports Editor Jim Waller, did it all in those days.

If you wanted a song, and not a cheer, this trio were who you called.

   After a four-year absence, the Wolves returned to the gridiron (and whomped Oak Harbor).

Certain years in Coupeville High School sports history stand out.

Try 1969-1970, which gave us the greatest show on Earth — or at least in Cow Town — as Jeff Stone tickled the twines for an astonishing 644 points in one season as the high-scoring Wolves became the first Whidbey Island basketball team to win a district title.

Or take a gander at 2001-2002, when the CHS girls went to state in volleyball, basketball and softball, bringing home banners in the latter two sports.

That softball run, with four wins in five games at the state tourney, losing only to eventual champ Adna, was the closest any Coupeville squad has come to winning a team state title.

But today we’re here to talk about 1955-1956.

And why is that?

Cause, thanks to Sandy Roberts, who was a bright-eyed freshman that year, I’m holding a pristine yearbook in my hand.

Roberts would go on to be an athlete and a scholar, a successful coach and a papa whose two sons and (so far) three of his grandchildren would all star for his alma mater.

These days, he’s a few years older, yet still just as bright-eyed.

Thanks to him, I now know the graduating class of ’56 was 26 students deep (14 girls, 12 boys) and helped spur a pretty decent sports year for the Wolves.

It began on the gridiron, where Coupeville returned to football after a four-year absence.

Playing under coach Mert Waller, the Wolves made their return an auspicious one, throttling Oak Harbor 24-0 behind senior QB Jerry Zylstra.

It was back to reality after that, as CHS dropped its final four games, though all were fairly close.

The Wolves fell 13-7 to Langley, 14-13 to Everett, 13-0 to Marysville and 18-6 in a rematch with pesky Langley.

All that was forgotten about as fall turned into winter, though, as Coupeville’s basketball squad roared out of the gate and never looked back.

With Waller unleashing a lineup led by senior Jack Elzinga, who topped the Wolves in scoring for a second-straight year, CHS blitzed through the regular season to a 14-3 tune.

That included a pair of wins over Oak Harbor (50-41 and 66-49) and Langley (41-33 and 46-38), and, more importantly, a sweep of La Conner (75-68 and 41-39).

While the Braves slipped away with the Northwest Tri-County League title by a whisker, Coupeville was the only conference team to hand them a loss.

Coming off their second-place league showing, the Wolves opened the district tourney with wins over Monroe (61-46) and Darrington (61-57), but were upended 65-54 by Twin City in the semis.

Coupeville then closed with a razor-thin 54-51 loss to La Conner, settling for second place.

The Wolves had come close to a district title, but, as history now tells us, were still 14 years away from making Whidbey Island history.

Somewhere a four-year-old Jeff Stone was biding his time, whispering “Soon, soon…”

Spring brought boys tennis and baseball, with the netters finishing 5-3 under the coaching of Jack Berry.

The Wolves won two of three matches against Oak Harbor, continuing a year of domination over their Northern rivals, but Friday Harbor nipped CHS for the league title.

On the diamond, Waller’s warriors had four batters top .314 at the plate (Meryl Gordon legged out five triples, while Harold Buckner smashed five doubles) to spark a 10-5 season.

This time around, the Wolves took three of four against Oak Harbor.

With ’56 being pre-Title IX, Coupeville girls did get a taste of sports, but just a taste.

There was cheer and the G.A.A. (Girls’ Athletic Association) also brought together 21 Wolves, led by President Norma Sinema and Vice President Janice Libbey, for Friday night competition in basketball, volleyball and baseball.

Those young women would one day see their daughters and granddaughters get the chance to compete in a way they were denied, but they were trailblazers for the time.

The members of the G.A.A.:

Patricia Clark
Vicky Criscuola
Barbara Hadaway
Dolores Harper
Judy Huffman
Kathy Johnson
Rocky Johnson
Hannelore Langanka
Peggy Lanphere
Janice Libbey
Arlie Lynch
Gladys Mackey
Pat Maurer
Marilu Pierce
Betty Jo Schreiber
Reva Scott
Susan Sherman
Sally Shrum
Norma Sinema
Beverly Vaughan
Marcia Vercoe

Thanks to the yearbook, I also have pristine stats for two of the four main sports, so numbers for basketball and baseball:



Player AB Hits Runs 2B 3B HR Avg.
Harold Buckner 57 20 16 5 2 1 .351
Bob Lanphere 60 21 14 1 2 .350
Jerry Zylstra 53 18 16 2 .340
Meryl Gordon 51 16 14 2 5 1 .314
Len Buckner 49 13 9 1 1 .265
John Moskeland 54 12 10 3 .222
Denny Zylstra 45 10 6 2 .222
Dick Yake 45 7 5 1 .156
Pat Clark 33 3 3 .091
Gary Hammons 19 1 5 .052
Peter Whelan 1 .000
Bill Grasser 1 1 .000
TOTALS 467 121 105 16 10 3 .259



Player Games FG FT Fouls Points Avg.
Pat Clark 21 58 71 61 187 8.9
Blaine Ghormley 20 63 41 46 167 8.4
Jack Elzinga 21 123 63 67 309 14.7
Harold Buckner 21 67 37 31 171 8.1
Jerry Zylstra 21 59 72 43 190 9.1
Doug Speers 19 9 15 19 33 1.7
John Moskeland 13 3 2 3 8 0.6
Len Buckner 13 7 2 4 16 1.2
Denny Zylstra 8 6 4 3 16 2.0
Gary Hammons 10 4 3 4 11 1.1
Meryl Gordon 6 1 2 1 0.2
Mike Criscoula 4 1
Gene Jaeger 5 1
David Vaughan 2
TOTALS 21 399 311 285 1109 52.8

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