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The season is never truly complete until you get some pizza. (Photo courtesy Dante Mitchell)

Consider it a hardwood graduation.

Having wrapped their season Thursday, Coupeville Middle School 8th grade boys basketball players have finished one level of their hoops journey.

After this, hopefully, all nine Wolves who suited up this year will make the jump to join the high school program.

Having coached many of these players for both of their seasons in middle school, CMS 8th grade coach Dante Mitchell is like a proud father, sending his children onward and upward.

Friday, he made sure his players knew how much he appreciated them by holding an impromptu pizza party.

Gathered were Dominic Coffman, Jesse Wooten, Ty Hamilton, Alex Murdy, Josh Upchurch, Alex Wasik, Mitchell Hall, Kevin Partida, and Levi Pulliam.

“Pizza not for show, but because of the hard work and dedication,” Mitchell said. “I send my best wishes as these players move on to high school and bigger and better things.

“I’m so proud and grateful and blessed to have been able to get the opportunity to give back and coach such wonderful kids.”

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Ty Hamilton leads off a final collection of CMS boys basketball portraits. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Nick Guay

Alex Murdy

Ryan Blouin

Chris Villarreal

Kevin Partida

Logan Downes

Nathan Ginnings

Alex Clark

Andrew Williams

It’s a wrap.

The Coupeville Middle School boys basketball season reached its conclusion Thursday, and now we’re here to tie up all the loose ends.

We have a final collection of portraits, which means everyone who was present on picture day has finally had their mug slapped on the internet.

And here’s the final varsity scoring totals, as best as I could track:

 

7th grade:

Logan Downes – 114
Cole White – 40
Ryan Blouin – 30
Nick Guay – 22
Zane Oldenstadt – 19
William Davidson – 16
Quinten Pilgrim – 5
Mikey Robinett – 3

 

8th grade:

Alex Murdy – 61
Dominic Coffman – 36
Mitchell Hall – 36
Ty Hamilton – 35
Alex Wasik – 28
Kevin Partida – 17
Levi Pulliam – 13
Josh Upchurch – 3

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Nick Guay sizes up a free throw Thursday during the CMS boys hoops season finale. (Morgan White photos)

Andrew Williams gets ready to rocket a pass cross-court.

Noted ball-hawk Cole White lunges for the steal.

You always want to end the season on a positive.

Regardless of your final record, if you can exit on a high note – be it a big win, a highly-competitive loss or just overall improved play, it has a strong chance to carry over to future seasons.

So consider Thursday night a roaring success for the three Coupeville Middle School boys hoops teams, which all closed with a bang against visiting Granite Falls.

How it played out:

 

7th grade varsity:

The most successful Wolf team provided the biggest finale moment, using a 19-7 run in the fourth quarter to smash open a nail-biter and run away with a 43-28 win.

The victory, the second-straight for Coupeville’s young guns, lifts their final record to 4-6.

The game was a tightly-played, and low-scoring, affair through the first two quarters, with the visitors clinging to a 10-9 lead at the half.

Things took a change after the break, however, as the Wolves started to knock down shots from behind the arc, picked up the pace, and threw the Tigers back on their heels.

A 15-11 surge in the third quarter, fueled by a pair of three-balls from Ryan Blouin, plus treys off the fingertips of Cole White and Nick Guay, changed the entire flow of the game.

Once it had the lead, CMS didn’t let up, pouring on the offense in a torrid fourth quarter.

The Wolves got all their points in the final frame from three players – Logan Downes, who banked in eight, Guay, who popped for seven, and Blouin, who kicked in four.

The buckets were set up by Coupeville’s stingy defense, with White making off with three straight steals and Zane Oldenstadt dominating his rival big men in the paint.

“Boys played well tonight!,” said Wolf coach Greg White. “It was a tight game until the fourth.

Zane played great defense on their giant post – it was a true team effort tonight,” he added. “It was a fun one to end on!”

Downes paced the Wolves with 14 points, while Blouin and Guay had season-highs, swishing home 13 and 10, respectively.

White and William Davidson added three apiece, while Oldenstadt and Mikey Robinett were rock-solid on defense.

 

7th grade JV:

Coupeville’s least-experienced squad didn’t get the game win, but they did score several moral victories.

First, after falling behind 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Wolves rallied to win a 4-3 battle in the second, and final, frame.

Also, Alex Clark netted his first bucket of the season, a big moment for both the player, and his coach.

Alex had a huge smile!,” Greg White said. “Justin (Wilkinson) and Andrew (Williams) also played really tough defense.

“Even though our scoring was limited, I thought it was a much better showing for our JV squad.”

Robinett tossed in Coupeville’s other basket, while Quinten Pilgrim, Timothy Nitta and Chris Villarreal all saw floor time.

 

8th grade varsity:

Playing their final middle school game, the Wolves came dangerously close to nabbing a season-closing win.

But, in the end, Granite Falls escaped with a 24-23 triumph, leaving Coupeville to finish 1-9 on the season.

The Wolves had one of their strongest performances of the season at the free-throw line, with four players combining to net eight shots at the charity stripe.

Alex Wasik, who showed tremendous growth as a player from game one to game 10, led the Wolves with seven points, notching at least a point in every quarter.

Ty Hamilton was hot on his heels, pouring in six, while Alex Murdy flicked in five, Dominic Coffman and Mitchell Hall swished two apiece and Josh Upchurch sank a free throw.

Rounding out the roster were Kevin Partida, Levi Pulliam and Jesse Wooten.

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Freshman Audrianna Shaw filled up the stat sheet in her high school debut Wednesday, sparking Coupeville’s JV to a rout of South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“We were ready to go!”

And how.

Even missing offensive ace Anya Leavell, who was felled by illness, the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball team was unstoppable Wednesday night.

Ripping off the game’s first 16 points, the Wolves savaged host South Whidbey, crushing their arch-rivals 36-11 in a magnificent romp.

The win, coming in the North Sound Conference opener for both teams, lifts CHS to 1-0 in league play, 2-3 overall.

The Wolves have won back-to-back games, and continue to add players back to their roster, easing the loss of Leavell and defensive dynamo Kylie Chernikoff (leg injury).

Freshmen Audrianna Shaw and Ella Colwell made their high school debuts Wednesday, and immediately jumped in to help their teammates on both sides of the ball.

Shaw, in particular, got off to to a roaring start, filling up the stat sheet with eight points, three rebounds, two steals and a team-high four assists.

Coupeville was brutally efficient on defense, throttling South Whidbey to the tune of 11-0 in the first quarter, before stretching the lead out to 24-7 by the halftime break.

“Our defense in the first quarter was stifling,” said proud CHS coach Amy King. “Audrianna and Kiara (Contreras) led the attack up top on defense while Mollie (Bailey), Izzy (Wells) and Ja’Kenya (Hoskins) didn’t let anybody from South Whidbey near the basket.”

Coupeville ramped up the intensity, dropping a press into the defensive mix a few minutes into the game, and the flustered Falcons wilted under the pressure.

King was able to give quality floor time to all 10 girls in uniform, and everyone contributed.

“As substitutes came in to the game, they stepped in without much change in the effectiveness of our defense,” King said. “From Kylie (Van Velkinburgh) and Morgan (Stevens) cutting off wing and post shots to Ella and Abby (Mulholland’s) wingspans in not allowing shots around the key and Alana (Mihill) working hard up top to force the ball away from the key.

“It was exciting to see the girls fight regardless of the score,” she added.

The Wolves snatched 33 rebounds and made off with 19 steals, both stats which pop off the sheet for Coupeville’s coaching staff.

“It just shows the effort these girls put into the game and winning it as a team,” King said.

Wells paced Coupeville with nine points, seven rebounds and three steals, while Shaw knocked down eight points, Hoskins and Mulholland each went for six and Van Velkinburgh notched four.

Bailey (2) and Contreras (1) rounded out the offensive show, with Contreras also driving South Whidbey’s ball-handlers bonkers while pilfering eight steals.

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Ema Smith scored 15 Wednesday, including hitting a trio of three-balls, as Coupeville’s varsity savaged arch-rival South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

For a second, it was close. And then it wasn’t.

Busting free from an 8-8 tie after one quarter Wednesday, the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball squad went on an inspired run.

With every part of their game in over-drive, the Wolves closed on a 42-7 run over the final three quarters, blistering host South Whidbey 50-15.

The win, coming in the North Sound Conference opener for both teams, lifts CHS to 1-0 in league play, 2-4 overall.

It also puts them in a three-way tie with King’s and Granite Falls atop the (very early) conference standings.

The 50 points are the most a Wolf varsity girls hoops team has scored since they dropped 56 on Klahowya Feb. 6, 2016.

That game was Makana Stone’s Senior Night, and the future Whitman College star went off for 27 points and 21 rebounds.

Wednesday night, two current seniors led the charge, as Wolf captains Lindsey Roberts and Ema Smith popped for 15 points apiece.

Coming off a game against Orcas Island where they squandered a second-half lead and came up just short of a win, the rout of South Whidbey was a huge bounce-back for the Wolves.

“We had a game plan for tonight, like we do for every game we prepare for,” Coupeville coach David King said. “We had a great practice yesterday and came out and executed our plan.

“As a coach, that’s what you like to see and all I can ask for.”

More than just a mere win, it was chock full of bonuses.

Coupeville has struggled when traveling to Langley in recent seasons, something King wanted to change. Also, getting solid play from the top of the roster to the end of the bench is huge.

“Our senior captains led the charge and the rest of the players all contributed in one way or another,” King said. “This game will foster our confidence moving forward, especially if we play like we did in all facets of the game (offense, defense, rebounding and hustle).”

The game was actually a nail-biter in the early going, as Lexi Starets-Foote pumped in six first quarter-points and South Whidbey went to the first break tied 8-8.

Roberts was getting her way in the paint, working down low for a pair of power buckets in the early going, but the game hardly seemed like it would be a blowout.

And then, just like that, Coupeville flipped a switch, and did so big-time.

Inflicting a withering defense on the Falcons, the Wolves held their foes to just three field goals across the game’s final three quarters, with none coming from Starets-Foote.

The key was Coupeville’s press, which shredded every last nerve South Whidbey players had, forcing multiple turnovers and giving the Wolves ample opportunity to run ‘n gun.

With Roberts slapping home nine points in the quarter, CHS went on a game-busting 18-3 tear in the second frame and didn’t let up from there.

The Wolves pulled off the rare goose egg in the third quarter, romping to a 15-0 advantage, before coasting home with a 9-4 mini-surge in the final frame.

“Our defense and press throughout the game set the tone for us,” King said.

Coupeville finished the game with 22 steals, snatched 34 rebounds, including 20 on the offensive glass, and forced South Whidbey into numerous mistakes.

The Falcons committed two shot-clock violations and a five-second inbound violation thanks to the constant Wolf pressure.

“It was great to see the pursuit for every rebound,” King said. “We took care of the ball and shared it as well. Only 12 turnovers, and we had 11 assists.

“Offensively we moved the ball well and made the extra pass to get a better look,” he added. “The effort we played with set the tone for the whole game.”

King praised Hannah Davidson for stepping up against South Whidbey’s #1 scorer, “doing a fantastic job keeping (Starets-Foote) from hurting us on the offensive end.”

Scout Smith showed off her ninja hands, pilfering a team-high five steals, while Chelsea Prescott’s never-say-die attitude on D was symbolic of how intense the Wolves played.

“One particular play stood out for me,” King said. “South Whidbey had a breakaway fast break, but Chelsea never gave up on the play despite being five to eight feet behind the player dribbling towards a layup.

Chelsea’s hustle allowed her to catch the player out front and prevented a basket,” he added. “That one play was just one of many we had defensively.”

Coupeville spread its offensive bonanza out, with eight of 11 players in uniform scoring.

Ema Smith’s 15 points, which included a trio of three-balls, is her varsity career-high, while Roberts used her 15 to rise two more spots on the CHS girls basketball career scoring chart.

Now sitting at #28 all-time with 351 points, she passed Kailey Kellner (339) and Tracy Taylor (350) Wednesday, while moving within a basket of Amy Mouw (353).

Scout Smith added five, Tia Wurzrainer, Avalon Renninger and Mollie Bailey went for four apiece, Davidson knocked in two and Prescott swished a free throw.

It was Bailey’s first career varsity points, and the sophomore spark-plug is in hot pursuit of the family scoring title.

Having passed dad Rusty (three career varsity points), Mollie is chasing sisters McKayla (6) and McKenzie (17).

Prescott, who also had three steals and a team-high four assists, led Coupeville on the boards, yanking down six caroms.

She got plenty of support, as all 11 Wolves had at least one rebound, from Ja’Kenya Hoskins (5), Roberts (5) and Nicole Laxton (4) down to freshman Izzy Wells (1).

While the win, the time and place it came, and the way it was achieved, are all huge, the Wolves want to stay focused as they move forward.

CHS travels to Concrete (0-6) Friday for a non-conference game, then returns home Dec. 18 to face Sultan (0-1, 2-5) in its second league clash.

“It’s one game and a game we can build on moving forward,” King said. “A good blueprint for us to be successful as the season progresses.”

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