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The 7th grade CMS boys hoops team of 2014, featuring seven guys who are still in the program heading into their senior season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Just a few years can radically change people.

That’s evident in today’s Throwback Thursday peek back into the history of Coupeville boys basketball.

It features the guys who will be the seniors next year, anchoring the 2019-2020 edition of the Wolf varsity hoops team.

Seven of the 12 players in this photo, which was shot in Nov., 2014, were still with the program during the basketball season which still ended.

The lineup (with active players in bold):

Back row (l to r):

Aiden Juras, Elliott Johnson, Jean Lund-Olsen, Sean Toomey-Stout, Jered Brown, Dawson Houston.

Middle:

Ulrik Wells, Jacobi Pilgrim, Gavin Knoblich, Trevor Bell, Gavin St Onge

Front:

Mason Grove

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Take a dive back into Coupeville track and field history, and see how many future stars you can ID along the way. (Photo courtesy Ian Somes)

The alumni are ready to do one more sprint drill.

Thanks to a photo found in an old album, the 1994-1995 Coupeville Middle School track and field squad lives again.

A big part of the fun of unearthing pics like this is trying to recognize the younger versions of athletes who went on to be stars.

After some back-and-forth on Facebook, we know Michael Meyer, Jess Roundy, Devyn Barron, April Ellsworth-Bagby, Kellen Ward, David Torres and others are present.

So, how many can you ID?

With Meyer (second from left, bottom row) rockin’ his middle school mane of curly hair, he was the first I knew for sure.

When this photo was taken, he, and the other members of the CHS Class of 2000, were in 7th grade.

Meanwhile, I was in my first year of working for his mom, Miriam, having started my 12-year run at Videoville in Oct., 1994.

So that means … checks my notes … I’m old.

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Claire Mayne and her fellow CMS track and field stars are set to kick off a new season next month. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

On to the next sport!

Middle school girls basketball ended less than 24 hours ago, and already we’re looking ahead to the next season, as Coupeville’s 7th and 8th graders head outside in a few weeks.

CMS track and field kicks off practice Apr. 9, with the first meet set for five weeks from today.

The schedule, as it sits today:

 

Wed-Apr. 24 — @King’s (3:15)
Wed-May 1 — HOME vs. S. Whidbey, King’s (3:15)
Wed-May 8 — HOME vs. Sultan/Lakewood (3:15)
Thur-May 16 — @Sultan (3:30)
Wed-May 22 — @South Whidbey (3:15)
Tue-May 28 — @Lakewood (League Prelims) (3:15)
Thur-May 30 — @Lakewood (League Finals) (3:15)

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Nezi Keiper (in white, with ball) and the CMS 8th grade hoops squad went 9-0 this season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The final performance? Impeccable.

Fighting through rampant illness, then enduring a bus trip to the wilds of Granite Falls Tuesday, the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams closed their seasons with a bang.

Two wins, one of which capped an undefeated season for a Wolf squad, and a narrow loss in the third game, was the order of the day.

How it played out:

 

8th grade varsity:

Granite came out swinging (literally), but was no match for the Wolves, who cruised home with a 44-26 win to seal the deal on a flawless 9-0 season.

As the game progressed, at least three Coupeville stars were left seeing … stars, as Alita Blouin took an elbow to the eye, Maddie Georges had her nose rearranged, and Gwen Gustafson was body-slammed to the floor.

That last melee drew a technical foul on the hosts, but all the bangs and bruises in the world were no match for the high-flying Wolves.

Blouin, living up to her nickname of “The Assassin,” rained down unholy pain on Granite, torching the joint for a season-high 15 points.

The slash-and-destroy guard scored in every quarter, tossing in five field goals, ruffling the nets for a pair of free-throws, then stabbing Granite through the heart with a three-ball.

Coupeville is far from a one-woman team, however, with its top four scorers finishing within nine points of each other this season.

Tuesday, while Blouin was slashing to the hoop and popping from outside, Coupeville’s dominant post players, Carolyn Lhamon and Nezi Keiper, were the perfect complement, throwing down 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Up 10-7 at the first break, with four players already in the scoring column, the Wolves steadily built the lead from there.

With coach Alex Evans pulling all the right strings, and every player on the floor attacking relentlessly, CMS surged to a 23-12 lead at the half, before shoving the margin out to 35-19 heading into the fourth.

Seven of the 10 players to see action scored, led by the trio in double figures.

Georges, Gustafson, Ryanne Knoblich, and Jill Prince rounded out the attack, with a bucket apiece, while Hayley Fielder, Jordyn Rogers, and Jessenia Camarena also saw floor time.

 

7th grade varsity:

The only loss of the day, but a nail-biter until the end.

“We were always just right there; just needed one more minute!,” said CMS coach Megan Smith. “But proud of the way the girls played.”

The 24-19 loss drops Coupeville’s final record to 2-8, but that’s a bit deceptive.

Smith’s top two scoring threats, Brionna Blouin and Lauren Marrs, only played together six times during the 10-game schedule, as illness had other plans for the Wolf duo.

Tuesday was one of those six games, and they proved how potent they can be when they get a chance to work together.

Marrs went off for a game-high 13, scoring in every quarter and netting a three-ball, while Blouin returned from sick leave to bank in six points in support.

The game was knotted 8-8 after the first quarter, with Marrs having already scored in every possible way, hitting a trey, a field goal, and a free-throw.

The offense slowed down a bit in the second quarter, with Granite holding a 6-2 advantage, and that would prove to be a killer for the Wolves.

The two teams battled almost evenly across the final 14 minutes of the season, but the Tigers stretched the lead ever so slightly with a 6-5 third frame, before the teams closed with a 4-4 stalemate in the final quarter.

Smith got quality floor time for every one in uniform, with Jackie Contreras, Reese Wilkinson, Allison Nastali, Erica McGrath, Kaitlyn Leavell, Desi Ramirez, Skylar Parker, and Kayla Arnold chipping in with defense and hustle.

 

8th grade JV:

Someone check what Jessenia Camarena had for breakfast, because she was unstoppable.

Pouring in a season-high nine points in just two quarters, the defensive dynamo transformed into an offensive whirlwind, pacing Coupeville to an 11-8 win.

The victory, which comes after the  JV had to sit out back-to-back games, thanks to other schools battling their own spring cold and flu season, lifts the Wolves final record to 3-5.

While she got a bit of help from Claire Mayne, who slipped through the Granite defense for a first-quarter bucket, this was Camarena’s game, from start to finish.

She tossed in two buckets to go with Mayne’s basket, as CMS built a 6-2 lead after one quarter of action.

Not content to stop there, Camarena knocked down another field goal, and a three-ball, to account for all of Coupeville’s scoring in the second, and final, frame.

Setting her up for the offensive explosion were her teammates, who harassed the Granite ball-handlers and hit the boards with intensity.

Karyme Castro, Abigail Ramirez, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Adrian Burrows, Prince, Rogers, McGrath, and Contreras rounded out the active roster.

 

Final scoring totals for the 2019 season:

 

8th varsity:

Carolyn Lhamon – 71
Alita Blouin – 65
Nezi Keiper – 63
Maddie Georges – 62
Gwen Gustafson – 25
Ryanne Knoblich – 16
Hayley Fiedler – 10
Jill Prince – 6
Trinity McGee – 2
Jordyn Rogers – 2

 

7th varsity:

Brionna Blouin – 74
Lauren Marrs – 62
Desi Ramirez – 17
Reese Wilkinson – 8
Erica McGrath – 6
Kayla Arnold – 2
Ava Mitten – 2
Allison Nastali – 2
Skylar Parker – 2

 

8th JV:

Jessenia Camarena – 17
Trinity McGee – 11
Claire Mayne – 10
Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson – 9
Adrian Burrows – 8
Cristina McGrath – 8
Ryanne Knoblich – 6
Karyme Castro – 4
Melanie Navarro – 4
Jill Prince – 3
Jordyn Rogers – 3

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Carolyn Lhamon (11), seen here in an earlier game, was a one-woman wrecking crew Thursday as Coupeville’s 8th graders improved to 8-0. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Some good, some bad, all covered in a solid slathering of germs.

Thursday night offered up the home finales for the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams, and the Wolves emerged with a split against pesky Sultan.

Or, at least the girls semi-healthy enough to play did.

There was no JV game, as the visiting Turks, also dealing with flu and cold season, couldn’t field enough bodies for a contest.

How the varsity games played out:

 

8th grade:

Alex Evans played with fire, and didn’t get burned.

Trying to achieve two missions – to give a chunk of JV players valuable floor time since their game was cancelled, while still getting a win to keep his team undefeated – the Wolf hoops guru succeeded admirably in a 33-20 victory.

Coupeville, which is 8-0 with one road game left on the schedule, blew Sultan off the floor the first time around.

This time, the Wolves showed the same dominance, but just in spurts, and when it mattered most.

The prime example came in the fourth quarter, as Evans‘ two missions collided.

With all of his starters on the bench, the coach watched a 12-point lead shrink to four, but showed only calmness to the folks in the stands, and, most importantly, his own players.

Evans allowed his more inexperienced players a chance to discover what it’s like to play under pressure, holding a lead against a rival which was greatly-improved from the two teams first meeting.

Then, when the Turks had a brief moment of hope, Coupeville’s coach slid his starting five – Maddie Georges, Nezi Keiper, Gwen Gustafson, Alita Blouin, and Carolyn Lhamon – back into the game, and let them put the hammer down.

And they did, closing the game on a 9-0 run, started by Keiper pounding down low and utterly annihilating her defender in the paint.

After that, her buddy in the post, Lhamon, snatched the spotlight, throwing down five of the game’s final seven points.

One bucket came on a nice roll to the hoop, set up by a pinpoint pass off the fingers of Georges, while another showcased Lhamon’s skills in the open court.

Leading a one-woman charge down the floor, Lhamon broke every bone in her defender’s body, faking left, then slashing hard to the right, all while on the move.

As the backpedaling Turk went down in a crumpled pile of misery and regret, the Wolf ace pulled the ball back into her body to keep it away from a different defender, then banged home the layup.

The run, one unbroken charge from coast to coast, was a thing of beauty, even more so coming from a player who gets the majority of her points working with her back to the basket.

Coupeville used sustained runs like that 9-0 swan song to set the pace all afternoon.

The Wolves closed the first quarter on an 8-2 surge, punctuated by Hayley Fiedler drilling the bottom of the bucket out with a long-range bomb.

In the second quarter, it was a 6-0 run to close the half, then, in the third, CMS capped the quarter with an 8-0 tear.

The one constant through it all was “The Assassin,” zippy guard Alita Blouin, who blew by the Turks for buckets, then jumped outside to nail a three-ball from the top of the arc.

Coupeville spread its offensive attack out nicely, with Blouin topping the scoring chart with nine points, while Lhamon banked home seven, and Keiper popped for five.

Georges (4), Gustafson (4), Fiedler (2), and Ryanne Knoblich (2), who looked deathly ill, yet hit the boards with her usual ferocity, rounded out the scoring.

Mixing and matching his lineups, Evans was able to get a whopping 16 players floor time.

Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Melanie Navarro, Jill Prince, Jordyn Rogers, Claire Mayne, Jessenia Camarena, Cristine McGrath, Abigail Ramirez, and Adrian Burrows all saw action.

Camarena was a particular standout on this day, ripping down rebounds and playing an enforcer role.

In the midst of another Wolf win, this one coming in the final home game, the game’s enduring moment was crafted by a ref, however.

Coming out of halftime, one of the two officials was late to return to the floor. When he did, he turned and blindly lobbed the ball cross-court to his partner, only to drill a hapless Sultan player in the back of the head.

 

7th grade:

The Wolves were missing four players, including leading scorer Brionna Blouin, and fell 21-9.

The loss drops the young guns to 2-7 on the season.

Take away the first quarter, when Sultan romped to a 12-0 lead as the basket displayed a harsh, unforgiving nature whenever a Coupeville shot came its way, and the game was a tie.

Sparked by Lauren Marrs, who pumped in seven of her team’s points, the Wolves put up a strong fight over the game’s final 21 minutes.

Desi Ramirez finally got CMS on the board when she plucked a rebound free, then swished a fall-away shot over a sea of Turk arms with 2:30 left to play in the opening half.

Marrs immediately followed by gunning it up-court on Coupeville’s next possession, weaving through a pack of defenders jammed together in the paint, and slapping home a running layup.

But, just as quickly as the Wolves hit those back-to-back buckets, the basket went back to being a jerk, spitting out any and all offerings from CMS.

Other than a Marrs free throw right before halftime, Coupeville couldn’t get anything to drop until midway through the fourth quarter.

By that time the Wolves trailed 20-5, thanks to a couple of offensive rebound put-backs by the Turks, and a glaring lack of traveling calls being whistled on a Sultan team which seemed to have studied with James “I’ll take five steps, thanks” Harden.

Marrs finally broke the drought, with a pair of sweetly-crafted buckets.

On the first, she curled around the defense, then slashed through a tiny gap for a layup. The second, a breakaway bucket, was set up by a strong outlet pass from Mayne.

Each Wolf to see action chipped in with something, from Reese Wilkinson playing strongly on the boards, to Kaitlyn Leavell streaking down floor, ahead of the play, almost every single time.

Allison Nastali, Skylar Parker, Karyme Castro, and Erica McGrath rounded out the active roster, with all four fighting until the final buzzer for coach Megan Smith.

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