Posts Tagged ‘Brionna Blouin’

Alita Blouin (10) is out in front of the pack, on her way to slapping home yet another layup. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

294 points.

Well, at least that’s my best guess.

As the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball squads make the turn at the halfway point of the season, that’s what the three units have combined to score across 14 games.

Both the 7th grade varsity and the 8th grade JV team have played five times, and have another five tilts left on the schedule.

The 8th grade varsity, stung by King’s and Northshore Christian not fielding teams, sits with four in the books and five to play.

Now, if I was super-productive, I would have tracked all the rebounds, assists, personal fouls, and other stats as the season has unfolded.

Yeah, didn’t happen…

But, while I might not have achieved statistical nirvana, I have managed to track the gaudiest of all stats – who scored.

At home games, I had my own numbers, and compared them to the official score-books.

When the Wolves were on the road, I went off of the books, which fluctuated in quality depending on whether a Coupeville person was doing them, or whether a local scrawled a pencil across the page.

So, it may not be 100% correct, but I feel pretty confident that it’s at least 97.24% dead-on.


The points race:


8th varsity (four games):

Nezi Keiper – 32
Carolyn Lhamon – 31
Maddie Georges – 30
Alita Blouin – 15
Gwen Gustafson – 8
Ryanne Knoblich – 7
Jill Prince – 4
Hayley Fiedler – 2
Trinity McGee – 2
Jordyn Rogers – 2


7th varsity (five games):

Brionna Blouin – 59
Lauren Marrs – 27
Reese Wilkinson – 8
Desi Ramirez – 7
Erica McGrath – 4
Kayla Arnold – 2
Allison Nastali – 2
Skylar Parker – 2


8th JV (five games):

Trinity McGee – 10
Jessenia Camarena – 6
Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson – 6
Ryanne Knoblich – 6
Cristina McGrath – 6
Adrian Burrows – 4
Karyme Castro – 4
Claire Mayne – 4
Melanie Navarro – 2
Jordyn Rogers – 2


**There is no 7th grade JV.**

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Brionna Blouin dropped in six points Thursday as Coupeville’s 7th graders played at Everett. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It wasn’t a win, but it was the next best thing.

Fighting until the very final second Thursday in Everett, the Coupeville Middle School 7th grade varsity came within a bucket of upsetting private school powerhouse Northshore Christian Academy.

While the Wolves fell 27-26, stabbed in the back by a foul call in the final seconds, their effort was everything coach Megan Smith wanted to see.

“Another good and close game,” she said. “It was a good learning game for us all.”

While the CMS 7th graders are 1-3 after the loss, two of those defeats have come by a single basket.

And, with a full roster, the Wolves are clicking and taking some of the scoring load off of top gunner Brionna Blouin.

She knocked down another six points Thursday, giving her 53 across four games, but it was running mate Lauren Marrs who had the really hot hand on this day.

Rattling the rim for a game-high 11, the feisty Wolf point guard scored multiple ways.

While Marrs slapped home three field goals, she also rippled the nets for five free throws, proving she’s cool under pressure.

Coupeville got scoring from five different players, its biggest number of the season in that category.

Along with Marrs and Blouin, the Wolves got four points from Reese Wilkinson, three from Desi Ramirez, and Allison Nastali’s first two of the season.

Skylar Parker, Jackie Contreras, Kayla Arnold, Kaitlyn Leavell, and Erica McGrath rounded out the active roster.


There were no 8th grade games Thursday (varsity or JV), as Northshore is only fielding a 7th grade team this season.

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Ryanne Knoblich, seen with big bro Gavin, tossed in four points Thursday as Coupeville battled King’s. (Photo by Mariah Knoblich)

So, there’s two ways to look at what went down Thursday in the Coupeville Middle School gym.

In one scenario, we spend a lot of time chastising King’s for being, well, King’s.

A school which claimed it couldn’t field an 8th grade team this season, likely because a number of its players chose AAU or travel ball over school hoops, deliberately dodged Coupeville’s most-seasoned team.

So, while the Wolf 8th grade varsity sat idle, King’s sent one squad against the Wolf 7th graders, and then sent “the rest of its players” out to smack around Coupeville’s JV.

The Knights coach claimed her second team had few players with previous playing experience.

At which point, the off-screen narrator can solemnly be heard to intone … “She lied.”

While there might not have been any AAU-seasoned supernovas present, a surprising number of King’s “second squad” (we’ll say 97.9%) proved able to dribble with both hands, set screens, thread passes between defenders, and demonstrate polished shooting techniques.

All things most of Coupeville’s JV team, which features only one player with SWISH experience, is still trying to master.

So, rah-rah, King’s, take your 46-4 win in which you were still flinging up three-balls and aggressively going for steals in the final minute, and put it in your trophy case.

And next time, step up and play the team you should have been playing, the Wolf varsity squad that was eyeballing you from the stands.

Of course that won’t happen this season, as King’s refusal to play a real 8th grade schedule means the league’s planning went out the door in the week leading up to the season.

With a new master schedule in place, the Wolves and Knights only face once now, and not twice, and frankly, everyone is the better for it.

Coupeville’s 8th grade varsity, denied the chance to challenge private school power King’s, will instead play two games against Sultan, Granite Falls, and Lakewood, and three against South Whidbey.

All public schools willing to play straight-up and not hide behind fibs and roster shuffling.

Give credit to the Wolves JV, which played hard, to a woman, all the way, even while being wildly over-matched.

Ryanne Knoblich, a varsity/JV hybrid who was the only CMS player on the floor with non-school playing experience, scored all four of Coupeville’s points, and all on hard-earned free throws.

Adrian Burrows, Jessenia Camarena, Claire Mayne, Cristina McGrath, Melanie Navarro, Abigail Ramirez, Jessica Ross-McMahon, and Jordyn Rogers played with guts, and should be hailed for their effort.

Camarena and Rogers, in particular, spent much of their time diving and fighting for loose balls, while Burrows yanked down more than her share of rebounds.

The opening game of the day was much closer, as Coupeville came within a final shot of forcing overtime in a 21-19 loss.

The Wolves got contributions from everyone on the floor, but special attention has to be paid to the one-woman wrecking crew that goes by the name Brionna Blouin.

A night after scoring 14 in a season-opening win against Langley, Blouin splashed home all of Coupeville’s points, hitting a trio of three-balls, including a miracle buzzer-beater, before putting on a fourth-quarter show for the ages.

Staying on the court for the entire 28 minutes, while also bringing the ball up on virtually every play with her point guard on vacation, she even earned a nod of approval from take-no-guff lead ref Jim Shulock.

Behind their on-fire gunner, the Wolves twice came back from double-digit deficits.

After falling behind 10-0 to start the game, Blouin netted back-to-back three-balls to end the first quarter and send a surge through the CMS fans.

The first trey was your standard-issue pull-up shot fired on the move, and by standard, I mean standard for an NBA guard, maybe, but not for the other 99% of 7th graders out there.

Blouin, for a young player, already demonstrates an often uncanny ability to create a few inches between herself and her defender in a split second, then loft a high, arching shot.

Not that she needed to create space on the second shot, as King’s defenders were backpedaling as Coupeville raced the clock in a bid to get up court.

One eye monitoring the seconds tick away, the other looking to see if the CHS varsity players working the scorekeeper’s table were watching, Blouin got spectacular.

Pulling off not one, but two pump fakes, she slid under a King’s player, then calmly flicked the ball skyward.

At which point time stopped in the known universe, allowing all gathered to trace the flight of the ball as it rode the rainbow, skipped off the top of the glass, then settled through the net with a happy little sigh.

After that King’s started shadowing Blouin with more than one defender, which paid off with a 9-2 surge over the next two quarters.

Coupeville’s defense, led by strong work on the boards from Reese Wilkinson and Kayla Arnold, and hustle for loose balls by Allison Nastali and Skylar Parker, kept the Knights from getting red-hot, but a 19-8 deficit looked imposing heading into the fourth quarter.

Well, until Blouin went to work.

She pulled off a stop-n-pop jumper, slashed in for a layup, netted a sideline jumper, threw down a turnaround jumper in the paint, then nailed her final three-ball from the top of the arc.

King’s only answer to Blouin’s 11-point eruption was one single, solitary put-back off of an offensive rebound, but it stung for two reasons.

One, it came not on the first rebound, but on what felt like the 437th (reality says it was rebound #5 off the same offensive possession).

Secondly, it gave the Knights the two-point advantage they would need to hang on to the win.

With King’s relentlessly pressuring Blouin, Coupeville went to Parker for a game-tying shot, and she came very close to making it a reality.

Unfortunately, the basket turned unforgiving, letting the ball skid around the rim, before finally spitting it back out.

When King’s players went down the “good game, good game” line at the end of this one, they were saying the words with a fair amount of relief in their voices.

While Blouin captured a lot of attention, and rightfully so, her teammates worked extremely hard to help her get to where she was going.

Erica McGrath pulled down several rebounds and came close to knocking down her own three-ball, while Ava Mitten, Kaitlyn Leavell, and Desi Ramirez buzzed around, creating havoc on defense.

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“Mad Dog” on the prowl. Maddie Georges, seen here last season, scored nine of her 14 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday as the CMS 8th graders roared back to stun visiting Langley. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

For teams which hadn’t been in a gym for awhile, they played pretty darn good.

Finally hosting their season openers Wednesday, after snow and ice caused numerous cancelled games and practices, both Coupeville Middle School varsity girls basketball teams rallied to overcome deficits and KO visiting Langley.

How the afternoon played out:


8th grade varsity:

If you left early, the final score might surprise you.

Down by 15 points in the second quarter, and still trailing by eight midway through the fourth, Coupeville closed the game on a 15-1 run to stun Langley 35-29.

Call it good coaching by Alex Evans, or a stubborn desire to win ingrained in battle-hardened players like his lil’ sister, Maddie Georges, who scored nine of her 14 points in the final eight minutes.

Either way, a message was sent – we will beat you, today, tomorrow, any day, any way.

In the early moments of the game, however, it might have seemed like a long shot, as the visitors came out ramped up.

Back-to-back three-balls, paired up with two nice put-backs off of offensive rebounds by Morgan Batchelor sent Langley on a 14-0 run in the first quarter.

That erased an early 3-2 Wolf advantage, keyed by Alita Blouin feeding Nezi Keiper for a bang-bang bucket, and sent a shiver through Wolf fans jammed into a sweaty gym.

Keiper finally broke the run, rolling hard to the hoop for a bucket, this time on a pass from Hayley Fiedler, but the damage was done.

It momentarily got worse in the second quarter, as the Cougars stretched their lead all the way out to 20-5.

It was then the Wolves began to clamp down on defense, forcing miss after miss, and slowly, ever so surely, crawling their way back into the game.

Two buckets from Carolyn Lhamon, packaged around the low-to-the-ground Blouin sneaking through the big trees to slap home a layup, pulled CMS back within 20-11 at the half.

Switching gears, the Wolves, who had hit just a single free throw in the first half, suddenly started forcing play, driving repeatedly at the hoop and daring the Cougars to whack them.

It worked, and how, as Coupeville repeatedly stopped the clock, thanks to suddenly-consistent referee whistles, then drained their freebies – hitting 14 charity shots down the stretch.

But while they got as close as five points early in the fourth, the Wolves couldn’t seem to get over the hump.

Langley notched a freebie of its own, then converted another offensive rebound into a bucket, and seemed to be set, up 28-20.

To which “Mad Dog” said, “Not in my gym.”

A Georges free throw, followed by big buckets in the paint from Keiper and Lhamon, started the game-changing 15-1 run, and, once it started, there was nowhere to hide for the Cougars.

Langley couldn’t hit a single field goal over the final six minutes-plus of the game, as its ball-handlers were hounded relentlessly by Georges, Blouin, and Gwen Gustafson.

If anything got past the pesky trio, Wolf enforcers Lhamon and Keiper promptly blew it right back out of the paint, making Evans do a happy dance in his coach’s box.

A steal and breakaway bucket by Georges was huge, then the Wolves clinched the game at the line, scoring the final eight points on charity shots.

Georges drained five of those, while Gustafson rippled the net for two, and Keiper capped things by splashing home a final heave.

Coupeville spread its offense out, getting points from six of nine players.

With Georges going off for 14, Keiper (9) and Lhamon (7) combined for 16.

Blouin (2), Gustafson (2), and Ryanne Knoblich (1) rounded out the attack, with Fiedler, Jordyn Rogers, and Jill Prince also seeing key floor time.


7th/8th JV:

Coupeville’s lone loss on opening day came down to the wire, with Langley slipping home the tying and winning buckets in the final moments to claim a 16-14 win.

A game which saw 16 points scored in the opening quarter, including a bucket which dropped through at the buzzer, later turned into a defensive war of attrition.

Adrian Burrows had the hot hand early for the Wolves, banking home a pair of jumpers, including one immediately after snatching the ball off a successful opening tip by Jessenia Camarena.

Toss in a power move down low for a bucket by the deceptively-strong Ryanne Knoblich and a sideline jumper from Camarena, and CMS was in control in the first eight minutes.

The play of the quarter, and maybe the game, came when an inbound pass from under the Wolf basket went long, way long, forcing Trinity McGee to race almost the length of the court to corral the wayward missile.

Saving the runaway ball a few steps from going out of bounds at the other end of the court, she spun, charged back up the right side, then slashed through the backpedaling defenders.

McGee’s hand shot skyward, the ball slapped glass and then happily plunked through the net, silencing the Langley cheering section in a flash.

The Cougar faithful did find something to cheer for however, as one of their guards desperation-heaved the ball skywards while rolling under her bucket, beating the odds and the buzzer.

That cut the margin back to 10-6, and Langley eventually knotted things up at 12-12 by the time the two squads headed to the halftime locker room.

While the first half featured some sterling baskets and a fair amount of offense, neither team could hit much of anything after the break.

McGee slapped home the only bucket of the third quarter, on a rolling run at the basket, but the Wolves went scoreless in the fourth.

Langley couldn’t do much better, failing to score for the first 13 minutes of the 16-minute second half.

But, when it mattered, the Cougars threw up a pair of prayers to the basketball gods, and had them answered.

The first one tied the game up with three minutes to play, and the second one a minute later turned out to be the game-winner.

Burrows and McGee paced the Wolf attack with four points apiece, while Knoblich, Jordyn Rogers, and Camarena added a bucket each.

Jill Prince, Claire Mayne, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Abigail Ramirez, Melanie Navarro, Jesse Ross-McMahon and Cristina McGrath rounded out the roster, with Mayne doing especially well as a plucky point guard.


7th grade varsity:

Brionna Blouin came to play.

Making her middle school debut, the SWISH-seasoned hoops gunner rattled the rim for 14 points, including seven in a decisive fourth quarter, as Coupeville rallied for an 18-16 win.

Blouin carried the Wolf offense in the first half, raining down a three-ball en route to outscoring Langley 7-6 by herself.

A big blocked shot from Kayla Arnold in the late moments of the half kept the visitors on their heels, but Langley re-found its groove in the third quarter.

Three straight buckets to open the second half staked the Cougars to their biggest lead of the night at 12-7, but then Blouin’s teammates came up big time.

Reese Wilkinson, who was a force on the boards all game, knocked down a beautiful bank shot from the top of the key to start things.

Hot on her heels came Arnold, who pulled in a nice pass from Wilkinson, which split a pair of defenders, then lofted in a short jumper in the paint.

Langley, desperate for some good news, hit a pull-up jumper to stretch the lead back out to 14-11 heading into the fourth, but then it was Blouin time.

She pulled off the same move on back-to-back trips down court, faking her defender out of her shoes before spinning around the corner for a high, arching layup.

Then, with the Wolves back in the lead, Blouin rained down her second three-ball of the game, but this time she banked the ball off the glass while shooting from a seemingly impossible angle.

That crushed Langley’s spirit enough that, even after netting a late bucket to cut the lead to two, the Cougars failed to foul Blouin as the final seconds of the clock ticked away and she dribbled in place.

Along with the three Wolves who scored, Allison Nastali, Desi Ramirez, Ava Mitten, Jackie Contreras, Skylar Parker, and Erica McGrath rounded out the opening day roster for coach Megan Smith.

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