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Posts Tagged ‘Coaches Corner’

Amy and David King

   Amy and David King have guided the CHS varsity girls hoops squad to three straight 15+ win seasons.

With success comes the desire for more.

Girls basketball has been the strongest sports program at Coupeville High School the past three years, and it isn’t even close.

With 46 wins overall, a 27-0 mark in Olympic League play, three straight league titles and a trip to state last year, the Wolf hoops players are the current gold standard.

Now, coaches David and Amy King and their players want to get to another level, reviving memories of the late ’90s and early 2000’s, when CHS won seven games at the state tourney and hung banners for top eight finishes three times.

Coming off a season-ending playoff loss to Cascade Christian, David King swings by The Coaches Corner to reflect on the current success and the outlook for the future.

Before we left the locker room on Thursday, I told the players to hold their heads high. They should be proud of the season we had.

Yes, it was a disappointing end to the season; we just didn’t play as well as we would have liked.

But we are looking at the season as a whole.

15-6 isn’t bad at all. Who would have thought it after losing a two-time Olympic MVP (in Makana Stone)?

I’ll tell you who, the players and coaches in our locker room!

We did some pretty good things all season long.

Our defense, like in years past, is what we are built on. As our defense goes, our offense follows.

We also struggled at times, mostly offensively and that’s something we need to fix. Especially if we want to come back stronger next season.

Here are a few things I would like to say to the returning players. We can’t be satisfied with how we finished our season.

Once we settle and are happy with our current status, then others will pass us by.

That may be a teammate putting in the extra work to raise their game and earn more playing time or earn a starting spot.

It’s also the other teams in our league or the non-league teams.

Our team has shown a commitment to defense. This off-season we need to turn it up a notch.

When all five players are clicking on defense, it’s a thing of beauty.

Offensively we struggle. Many of us went to the shooting clinic. Many worked to continue what they learned.

This process never stops. For us to go further next year we have to be willing to change and improve our shooting.

We have to step on the court with confidence, improve our mental toughness and execute our offense. I believe these three things go hand in hand.

For the fans of our team, we want to thank you for the support all season. The players do appreciate it.

Some believe we should be playing in a tougher league or schedule harder non-league teams so when we get into the playoffs we can represent at a higher level.

We as coaches see these players every day for three months. That’s just during the season.

I can guarantee that they show up to practice and work hard. They suit up and give their best effort in the games.

We are in the league we are in.

Almost all nine of our league games were competitive. The non-league schedule was also competitive.

We had 7 home games out of 21 games.

As players and coaches we can only control our own play. We can’t worry about who is on our schedule.

Play a perceived easy opponent or play a tougher opponent, we still have to show up and play our game. If we don’t, that’s on us.

Just like we can’t control the many away games this year.

Talk about toughness, not having a home game for 40+ days could wear on a team. But not this group of players.

One thing I’ve said for years to teams and players — you are only as good as you allow yourself to be.

If the effort and attitude is there along with a willingness to put in extra work, then the teams we play don’t matter.

Players need to be be unselfish in their play, and make the necessary changes to improve their game.

The future is very bright for this program. We have athletes coming back, but there is work to be done.

I wouldn’t bet against this group.

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(John Fisken photo)

It’s playoff time. (John Fisken photo)

They’ve been waiting, but not just sitting around.

With a 10-day gap between their final regular season contest and their postseason opener (6 PM Tuesday vs. Seattle Christian at Bellarmine Prep), the Coupeville High School girls’ hoops players have been busy fine-tuning their games.

Wolf round-ball guru David King swings by the Coaches Corner to check in the day before his 15-4 squad kicks back into action.

The playoffs are upon us.

We’ve had a week to prepare for our first round opponent. We have one more practice before the game on Tuesday.

Every player from top to bottom has to bring their best effort to practice and carry this over to the game.

Since the first day of practice we have stressed to every player that they have an opportunity to earn their playing time.

That’s done by attitude, effort, teamwork and skill-set along with dedication and team goals over personal goals.

We have continued to emphasis these things once the regular season games finished.

The great thing is some players are taking advantage of the opportunities put in front of them. This helps their individual game and pushes their teammates to raise their level of play.

The work the players have put in all season have led us to the spot we are at right now.

I couldn’t be happier with how much this team has accomplished up to now and how much more we can do.

This week is going to be a fun and exciting ride!

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Allison Wenzel (left) and Tiffany Briscoe are postseason vets. (Sylvia Hurlburt photo)

   Allison Wenzel (left) and Tiffany Briscoe are postseason vets. (Sylvia Hurlburt photo)

The games get bigger, but so does the reward.

As the Coupeville High School girls’ basketball squad prepares for the postseason — the Wolves are the Olympic League’s #1 seed and open double-elimination district play Feb. 14 — it’s all about remembering what got you there, then building on that.

Wolf coach David King swings by The Coaches Corner to drop a little wisdom:

The regular portion of our season is over, but it’s not going to be forgotten.

We are going to take what we struggled with and look to shore them up and get better.

The things we did well, we will also look to improve. We aren’t going to settle where we are at.

Our goal is to enhance and improve on them.

District play is upon us and it’s a new season.

The great thing about this team is they will put in the work.

Each of the players has postseason experience in one or more sports. That experience is a great thing.

It helps with knowing what it takes to get there, the work required to be successful.

Here are a few things I want the players to realize as we begin our preparation for districts:

Never settle.

Believe in yourself, your team and the system.

Play with confidence.

Push yourself beyond what you think your limitations are.

Enjoy the experience and ride.

But, most important, have fun!

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seniors

   Wolf seniors (l to r) Tiffany Briscoe, Lauren Grove, Kailey Kellner and Skyler Lawrence. (John Fisken photo)

One chapter is coming to a close.

Four CHS girls hoops players, who have been a vital part of a program which is celebrating its third-straight league title, will get their moment in the spotlight six days from now.

Senior Night for the Wolf girls is Saturday, Feb. 4 (3:30 JV/5:00 varsity).

In anticipation of that, Wolf hoops guru David King is devoting his Coaches Corner this week to looking back at what the Fearsome Foursome have accomplished.

A busy past week with three games, then looking ahead to our upcoming week (three more), it got me thinking about four players.

They’re closing in on their final home game, so I thought I would share a few words on each.

Skyler Lawrence:

She wasn’t able to play this season due to a nagging injury, but she’s still part of our team.

She has been invaluable as a manager for us. Doing whatever is asked of her throughout.

Everything she does she does with a purpose and the biggest thing she’s brought is someone that accepted her role this season and took over being our away game scorekeeper.

Her freshman through junior years, she gave her team and teammates everything she had in practice and on the court.

Throughout her playing time, she was asked to handle the ball, be the in-bounder against a press. Play the post on defense and offense.

Not once did she question any of this.

Defensively and rebounding she was a force.

Despite not being the tallest post player, she did everything fundamentally sound and was able to put herself in the right spot more often than not while on the court.

Kailey Kellner:

She showed up in Coupeville a few months into her freshman year.

When she got here, she was a one-dimensional player; she could score and shoot well from the outside.

As she integrated into the system and played more with her teammates, that one-dimensional player started to develop into an all-around player.

Her sophomore and junior seasons she made strides and continued to work on her game. One player that showed up to almost all available open gyms and extra activity we had.

Fast forward to her senior season and her game has taken the biggest leap from years past.

She can still score and shoot from the outside. But she has developed her inside game, is able to put the ball on the floor and drive.

Her effort in the rebounding area is outstanding.

But one area that has really impressed me is her desire to improve her defense. She wants to guard the best offensive player on the other team.

What a turnaround from her freshman year.

Lauren Grove:

As a freshman and sophomore she was so dynamic on defense. At times she was a one-person press that caused havoc for the other team.

One of the quickest and fastest players in the program, Lauren had to learn over time that the game of basketball had different speeds.

Once she did that, her game got better and better.

As a freshman and sophomore she played a lot of point guard for the JV teams.

This minimized her offensive game, but she did what was asked for the team.

Her junior year and this year, she stepped into a starting role on varsity and has been a big contributor to the team.

When we wanted to shut down an opposing player, Lauren is the one we turned to each and every time.

Offensively she has worked on her form and shot and she is shooting with confidence this season.

One final note about Lauren — the younger players should watch her effort as a rebounder.

She isn’t the biggest or strongest player, but what she does well is anticipate and creates her own opportunities.

Tiffany Briscoe:

Talk about an undersized post player. Tiffany is one of the first players to come to mind when I think about undersized post players.

From day one of her freshman year, Tiffany has never been out-worked by a teammate.

She has always put the team above anything she does as an individual player.

I’ll take players like Tiffany every day.

Even though she is undersized in the post, Tiffany is a battler. She is a prideful player and her forte was on the defensive end.

As a freshman and sophomore her offensive game didn’t exist. Receive a pass or get an offensive rebound, she wanted to give the ball up as quickly as possible.

I think it was last year when she moved up to varsity, starting I might add, she and I talked about her only playing half of the game.

She was only playing defense and we needed her to become more offensive-minded.

It took time, but if the fans really watch Tiffany’s game this year, she works so hard on defense still, but she has made herself into someone that looks at the basket and will take the open shot.

She didn’t do it for herself, but for her team and that’s what Tiffany is all about.

I am also writing this about these four because they should be celebrated as young women and as athletes.

Each one wants to be the best they can and would put any personal stats on the back burner and cares about the team competing and playing well.

I’m hoping the stands are packed for the double header games on Monday night (boys Senior Night), and then again on Saturday for our final home game and the senior night for these four players.

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(John Fisken photo)

   Half of the most successful high school hoops squad on Whidbey Island. (John Fisken photo)

Overcoming adversity by banding together as a team.

The Coupeville High School girls’ basketball squad has done just that season, overcoming a brutal schedule (11 of 13 on the road), illness and injuries to sit at 10-3 overall, 5-0 in Olympic League play.

Carrying a six-game winning streak, and sitting just one victory from clinching a third straight conference title, the Wolves also cracked the top 10 Sunday in the state RPI rankings for 1A teams.

The key?

Unity, as CHS round-ball guru David King expounds upon in this week’s visit to the Coaches Corner:

Five years ago when Amy and I took over the program, our goal was to change the culture of the basketball program.

The team had talent, but we needed to learn how to battle every day and win consistently.

That first year we made some good strides, but after year two things were really starting to change. You could see players starting to believe that we could compete against each opponent we played.

Years 3-4, we kept the culture moving in the right direction, but emphasized ‘One Team, One Goal, Family’.

The team really took that to heart and played well with one goal in mind. First in league and then make it to districts and advance.

Returning players knew the system, helped lead the younger players as they were starting their high school basketball careers.

This year we added Unity (the state of being one) to what we have going on with our culture as a program and playing as a family.

Our last ferry ride home after our Port Townsend game, the state of Unity rang so true for the team.

They may or may not have realized it, but it was front and center during their post game spotlighting (a carry over from the Greg Oldham years we still do).

During the game I wasn’t able to make the substitutions like I had hoped for after a very strong first quarter.

This meant less playing time for some players. This can be frustrating, however the ultimate goal is to get a win.

What I witnessed as a coach was what every coach would want. The unity and unselfishness with the players is outstanding.

The way teammates talked about each other is what makes us as successful as we are.

Multiple teammates talked about their teammates who may not have played much, but still brought energy, encouragement and a calmness to those playing.

Those are the players I want on my team each and every day.

We have one goal we are working towards and when you have players/teammates that play for each other and as a unit, it keeps us competitive and a team that puts team goals over personal ones.

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