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Posts Tagged ‘C-Team’

Ben Smith scored four points and played aggressive defense Thursday as the CHS basketball C-Team played in prime time. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s an uphill battle.

When the Coupeville High School boys basketball program unexpectedly ended up with enough players to field a C-Team this year, in addition to varsity and JV, the powers that be had to do a last-minute scramble.

And while they did pull together an eight-game schedule against all odds, they also had to nab whatever was available.

Which is why a very raw Wolf hoops squad, repping one of the smallest 1A schools in the land, faces a formidable road.

We’re talking two games against 4A Mount Vernon, two against 3A Oak Harbor, three against private schools King’s and Cedar Park Christian and one against Granite Falls, a 1A school which used to be 2A until a moment ago.

But, while the win-loss record may not end up looking spectacular, the chance for growth, and the response of the players involved, warm the heart of coach Scott Fox.

“The guys show up excited for practice every day, ready to get after it,” he said. “Can’t ask for better attitudes.”

Thursday night the Wolves, an eight-man team heavy in players with limited or no prior hoops experience, squared off with Mount Vernon, and it went about how you would think.

Given the chance to play in prime time on their home court, in front of a nice smattering of their fellow basketball players, other CHS athletes, family and friends, they looked tentative at times, and inspired at others.

The final score — 51-19 in favor of the visiting Bulldogs — was lopsided, but the Wolves made a sustained offensive run in the first half, and clamped down on defense after halftime, holding Mount Vernon to just 12 points in the final 16 minutes.

The visitors bolted out to an 18-2 lead in the first, but Coupeville changed the tone of the game with one play.

It came at the very end of the first quarter, with the clock madly racing and the ball loose on the floor.

Plucking it from between the legs of two rival players, Wolf guard Jaylen Nitta, the team’s most-experienced player, whirled, bumped a defender backwards, then arced a three-ball high into the air.

The orb flew to the ceiling, the buzzer sounded, the ball snapped through the net with a pleasing “splat!” and the crowd of CHS varsity players went bonkers.

More than just three points, it sent a jolt of electricity through the Wolves, and they sprang out of the huddle to begin the second quarter with a new look of confidence in all of their eyes.

And it immediately paid off.

Nitta slapped home a breakaway layup, hauling in a long pass from Andrew Aparicio and beating the Bulldogs to the glass by a step-and-a-half, and Coupeville was off on a 10-6 run.

The surge, which lasted through the midway point of the second quarter, included a fall-away jumper from the right side from a fist-pumping Ben Smith and a put-back off of an offensive rebound by Chris Cernick.

The lanky soccer ace, a relative newcomer to the hoops world, began to assert himself on the boards more and more as the game played out, something his coach took note of with a nod of approval.

For a brief, shining second, Coupeville had the deficit down to 12, had the Bulldogs on their heels, and were flying high.

And then reality stepped in for a bit.

The much-more polished Mount Vernon squad, which featured a group of freshmen who looked like they had all been ballers for multiple seasons, ripped off the game’s next 21 points.

Not that Coupeville didn’t get its licks in, though.

Both Cernick and Smith added put-backs for buckets late in the game, Damon Stadler scored the game’s final basket by muscling his way through the paint, and the young Wolves had a few defensive gems.

Smith rose to the ceiling to swat away one shot, Brayden Coatney ran down and utterly demolished an unlucky Bulldog while in pursuit of a steal, and budding enforcer Tony Garcia made sure the Mount Vernon players felt every foul deep in their bones.

And then there was Jonathan Partida, who became a legend with one play.

The arguably most-talented player on the Mount Vernon roster had a breakaway, with a clear path to the glass and no one in front of him.

What he didn’t see was Partida, who was flying from behind, head up, fire in his eyes and muscles bunched.

Elevating at the last second, he flung out his arm while airborne and rejected the layup attempt from behind, catching nothing but ball and hammering it off the back wall.

It was a beauty of a play, at any level, and a testament to the heart displayed by the Wolves as they scrap towards the promised land.

Nitta paced the Wolf attack, rattling home eight points, while Cernick (5), Smith (4) and Stadler (2) also etched their names in the score book kept by former Wolf hoops star Jordan Ford.

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When she's not busy keeping her teammates hydrated, Sarah Wright likes to destroy the souls of her rival spikers. (John Fisken photo)

   When she’s not busy keeping her teammates hydrated, Sarah Wright likes to destroy the souls of her rival spikers. (John Fisken photos)

Lucy Sandahl

Lucy Sandahl was a precision passing machine Tuesday night.

Few reserves? No big deal.

Splitting their roster so they could play two matches Tuesday, the Coupeville High School JV spikers put up a strong fight against much-larger Bellevue Christian.

The seven girls who stayed in the high school gym — Maddy Hilkey, Hannah Davidson, Scout Smith, Nicole Lester, Allison Wenzel, Sarah Wright and Zoe Trujillo — fell in three tough sets, losing 25-21, 19-25, 15-10.

Meanwhile, the spikers who went next door — Lucy Sandahl, Willow Vick, Maya Toomey-Stout, Peytin Vondrak, Emma Mathusek, Raven Vick and Jillian Mayne — came away winners, sweeping their C-Team match in straight sets.

With one of his assistants out for the night, Wolf varsity coach Cory Whitmore took the reigns for the C-Team and was happy with what he saw unfold in the middle school gym.

“I was really impressed with our consistency on passing,” he said. “That’s been a particular focus for us and all the girls really stepped up tonight.

“Our service, especially after the first set, was very strong, as well.”

If there was a game ball to give out, it would have gone to Sandahl.

Lucy got to just about every ball and put them all into play,” Whitmore said. “She did a really nice job of distributing the ball.”

Back in the high school gym, JV coach Kristin Bridges started with one sub on the bench and almost ended up one player down.

Davidson hurt her ankle and spent part of the match with an ice pack on it, while Trujillo took a shot to the nose.

Both Wolves proved to be tough warriors, though, and ultimately finished the match on the floor together, still playing.

When she was able to stay on both feet, Davidson teamed with Wright to provide a solid one-two punch of big hitters.

Lester lashed a scorching winner deep into the farthest left corner, chipping off a few flecks of paint as the ball exploded on the end line, as well.

Wright was the star of the show, taking full advantage of numerous opportunities, sending balls kicking left, right and then down an opponent’s throat.

Her defining moment came late in the second set.

With Bellevue having clawed back from a 10-point deficit to close the lead to 22-18, the Wolves were reeling a bit and needed a shot of confidence.

Up stepped Wright, who uncorked a high, hard one that split two Vikings defenders, caught the back line, slammed into the gym wall and rebounded halfway back down the court.

As she walked away, huge smile on her face, the only sound you could hear in the gym was the sound of Bellevue player’s knees knocking together as they trembled in fright.

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