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Ryanne Knoblich, pulling down a rebound in an earlier game, was one of six 8th grade varsity players to score Wednesday in a Coupeville win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The offense was hot. The defense was impeccable. The result was magical.

Shutting down rival Langley in style Wednesday, the Coupeville Middle School 8th grade varsity girls basketball team rolled to a 30-20 win on the road, improving to a flawless 4-0 on the season.

Unlike the first time these Island rivals met, when the Wolves had to storm from behind to net the victory, Wednesday’s match-up was much more of a blowout.

Up 16-9 after the first quarter, Coupeville clamped down and shut-out Langley in both the second and third quarters.

The Cougars missed all six of their free throw attempts across the 14-minute span of play, and every single, stinkin’ field goal attempt they lofted skyward refused to drop.

While Coupeville’s own offense slowed a bit in the middle of the game, it still used mirror-image 6-0 runs in the second and third to stretch the lead out to 28-9.

Langley eked out a measure of redemption in the fourth, using an 11-2 surge to make the final result on the scoreboard seem a bit more palatable.

But just a bit.

With King’s and Northshore Christian not playing 8th grade basketball this season, Coupeville is scrambling to fill out its schedule, and will face Langley a third time Mar. 5.

The older Wolves still won’t get a full schedule, playing nine games to the 10 that the CMS 7th grade varsity has planned, but the drive for a perfect season continues.

A huge part of the success that Wolf coach Alex Evans and his squad are enjoying comes from his team’s ability to hit you a million different ways.

Nezi Keiper and Carolyn Lhamon worked the paint like pros Wednesday, both tossing in a game-high eight points, while Wolf guards Maddie Georges (6) and Alita Blouin (4) scorched Langley from outside.

On the season, Keiper (32), Lhamon (31), and Georges (30) form a wicked three-pronged scoring attack.

Ryanne Knoblich and Gwen Gustafson each knocked down a bucket Wednesday, while Hayley Fielder and Jill Prince chipped in with defense and hustle.

 

8th grade JV falls:

Claire Mayne netted all of Coupeville’s points, but the Wolves went down 14-4 in a two-quarter game.

The loss snaps a two-game winning streak for the JV, leaving them at 2-3 on the season.

Things stayed fairly close in a 6-2 first quarter, but Langley pulled away for the win with a solid second quarter.

Trinity McGee, Cristina McGrath, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Abigail Ramirez, Jessenia Camarena, Karyme Castro, Adrian Burrows, Melanie Navarro, and Prince also saw floor time.

 

No 7th grade game:

Coupeville’s youngest players had the day off, as Wednesday’s games were added to bolster a depleted 8th grade schedule.

The 7th graders, who sit at 2-3, kick off the second half of the season Mar. 5, when all of Coupeville’s teams return to Langley.

After that comes a road trip to Lakewood (Mar. 6), home games against Lakewood (Mar. 12) and Sultan (Mar. 14), and, finally, a visit to Granite Falls (Mar. 19).

All three CMS squads will play in the final five match-ups.

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   With Genna Wright cleaning the boards with a fury Friday, the Coupeville JV girls crushed Port Townsend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Put ’em down and put ’em down hard and fast.

That was the goal for the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball squad Friday as it faced off with very-overwhelmed Port Townsend.

Mission accomplished, as the Wolves, behind the hot shooting touch of frosh phenom Mollie Bailey, jumped out to a 13-0 lead, then strolled home for a 28-6 win.

The victory lifts the CHS young guns to 3-4 in Olympic League play, 7-10 on the season, and gives them the most wins of any of the four Wolf hoops teams this winter.

Port Townsend’s JV is very much a work in progress, with many of its players unable to breach the withering Wolf defense.

Nicole Lester slapped home a rebound a few seconds into the game, effectively ending things, though the two teams continued to play so the paying fans would get their money’s worth.

With Bailey dropping home a pair of first-quarter buckets, one on a fall-away jumper, the other on a runner off of a break, Coupeville went to the first break up 11-0.

Tack on another Lester bucket, this one set up by a zinger of a pass from Tia Wurzrainer, and the game looked much like the two previous times the Wolves and RedHawks faced.

But there was a new wrinkle, as the Port Townsend JV, which didn’t score until the fourth quarter in the last meeting, tickled the twines just two minutes or so into the second quarter this time around.

It might not have been much, and was quickly answered by a soft jumper from Wurzrainer, a three-ball off the fingertips of Bailey and a stop ‘n pop jumper from Ashlie Shank, but it was still a nice moment for the still-growing RedHawks.

Up 22-4 at the break, Coupeville decided to give fans a chance to head to the snack bar or bathroom in the third.

In a rarity I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed at the high school level before, the squads combined to rim out 247 shots (give or take one or two) and score a combined ZERO points in the third.

Then it was back to Bailey knocking down jumpers and calmly cruising back down court, small smile slightly acknowledging the screams of her rabid fan base, and we were done.

The freshman sharpshooter finished with 11 points, while Wurzrainer, Lester and Genna Wright each tallied four.

Maddy Hilkey (3) and Shank (2) also scored, while Kylie Chernikoff was a one-woman wrecking crew on the boards, and Spanish sensation Julia García Oñoro came dangerously close to scoring her first American points.

Drawing an explosion of cheers from her teammates, García Oñoro pulled down a rebound and, maybe for the first time since she hit these shores, immediately shot right back up and tried to knock down the shot.

While her bucket wouldn’t drop, the foreign exchange student was battered around the head by a pair of RedHawk rivals and earned two free throws.

Trying to stay composed as varsity star Sarah Wright hollered her name, García Oñoro had both charity shots pop back up and out, as the basketball gods refused to play fair.

Still, her shy smile as she was mobbed by teammates and congratulated by CHS coach Amy King afterwards, was worth far more than two points.

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   Ethan Spark scored a game-high 21 Friday, netting five three-point bombs in a Wolf win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“They want it pretty bad.”

As he basked in the glow of his first win as a varsity basketball coach Friday, Brad Sherman wanted to make one thing clear — in his eyes, all the credit goes to his players.

Having inherited a senior-heavy roster, the former Coupeville High School hoops star has unleashed the current Wolves on defense, and it’s paying immediate dividends.

Harassing visiting Mount Vernon Christian every inch of the floor, CHS turned a close game into a rout in the second half, then coasted home with a 49-37 win.

The non-conference victory evens Coupeville’s record at 1-1.

The Wolves got strong offensive work from Ethan Spark and Hunter Smith, who combined to score 41 of their team’s 49 points, but it was defense which turned the tide in this one.

The kind of defense where it looked like five rabid dogs attacking as one, poking passes, rejecting shots, forcing turnovers and mental errors and being a royal pain in the tush to anyone unlucky enough to be wearing a Hurricanes uniform.

“I really liked our intensity on defense,” Sherman said. “We were flying all over the place, applying ball pressure and closing down the passing lanes, just making it very hard for the other team to run any kind of offense.”

Coupeville’s starting five – Smith, Spark, Cameron Toomey-Stout, Joey Lippo and Hunter Downes – are all seniors, and have yet to see a Wolf boys hoops squad post a winning record during their tenure.

Friday night, those recent struggles seemed far away, though, as the Wolves fed off a boisterous crowd, and vice versa.

There were times, with the joint rocking, where the excitement level hit the kind of highs it did back when Sherman and his classmates were soaring to success in the early 2000’s.

Whether it was Lippo rising up to reject a shot, Downes swinging his elbows while rebounding, begging any fool to get too close, or Spark making off with steals, the Wolves were in shut-down mode.

And that was most evident when Smith and Toomey-Stout, All-Conference defensive backs on the football fields, continually broke up passes in mid-sprint.

Even when they didn’t get an outright steal, balls were repeatedly jarred free and MVC, which had a distinct height advantage, got more and more gun shy and frustrated.

Adding to their intensity on defense, the Wolves chose the right moment to showcase their offensive attack, closing each of the first three quarters with a substantial run.

The first came after Coupeville fell behind 6-1 midway through the first quarter.

Mixing four free throws — two each from Smith and Spark — and a pair of buckets, Coupeville closed the period on an 8-2 tear, grabbing its first lead with less than a tick on the clock.

The go-ahead bucket came courtesy Lippo, who ripped a rebound free from a Hurricane, spun and rose up to swish a sweet fall-away jumper that tickled the twine with 0:00.3 to play.

The two teams traded baskets to kick off the second quarter, with MVC taking its final lead of the night at 16-14.

After that, the final three minutes of the half were a thing of beauty (if you were a CHS fan, at least).

Smith hung in the air for an impossible amount of time before hitting a jumper on his way down, before Spark … um … lit the spark with the first of what would be five three-point bombs.

Just to make sure MVC knew the jig was up, Smith rattled home his own three-ball, and, as it splatted through the net, he became only the 42nd male Wolf player (in 101 years) to reach 500 career points.

But, wait, there’s more!

Dribbling out the final seconds of the half, Smith sucked in all five defenders, who were dead certain he was driving to the hoop.

Instead, he whistled a pass right onto the fingertips of junior Dane Lucero, who banged home the quarter-capping layup for his first-ever varsity points.

If MVC went into the locker room still holding out hope, with the margin just 24-18, that vanished, hard, in the third.

Spark, who earned praise from his coach for his off-season dedication to working on his shooting, went ballistic, raining down three consecutive treys, each shot getting deeper and deeper into the darkest corner of the court.

As each ball hit, flipping the net skyward with a happy little sigh, the crowd, which has been somewhat dormant at times in recent years, went progressively more berserk.

The loudest scream might have come for two boom-boom plays to cap the third.

Downes and Smith, who combined for many a touchdown as quarterback and receiver, connected again, with Downes yanking a ball free, then lofting it three-quarters of the court.

His target caught it in perfect stride, flipped it up for a layup … then promptly stole the in-bounds pass and scored again.

With everything clicking, Coupeville stretched the lead out to as many as 18 points twice, the final one coming at 47-29 when sophomore Jacobi Pacquette-Pilgrim netted a free throw for his first varsity point.

While an 8-2 MVC run to close the game tightened the score just a bit, the Hurricanes left the court heads bowed, looking very much like a team which just got bushwhacked.

For Coupeville’s players, and its fans, the early-season win set off a celebration, and, for Sherman, a never-ending string of congratulatory handshakes.

Spark finished with 21 to pace the Wolves, while Smith popped for 20.

With 509 career points, he passed Jason Bagby (499) and David Lortz (502) Friday to move into 41st on the all-time CHS boys hoops scoring list.

Downes chipped in with three, Lippo and Lucero knocked down buckets and Pacquette-Pilgrim’s free throw capped the scoring.

While Coupeville’s seniors led the attack, sophomores Jered Brown and Gavin Knoblich also saw valuable floor time.

The Wolves now get a week to rest up, not returning to action until Friday, Dec. 8, when Sequim comes to town.

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Hawthorne Wolfe (John Fisken photo)

   Hawthorne Wolfe and the CMS 7th grade varsity are 4-2 after a big win Thursday. (John Fisken photo)

(Bob Martin photos)

Heading off to the wilds of Forks. (Bob Martin photos)

Forks

Get away from the snow and things are actually pretty dang scenic.

Sage Downes (Fisken photo)

   Sage Downes and his 8th grade teammates put up a strong fight, but fell to a high-powered offense. (Fisken photo)

No baskets. Ever.

Employing a blistering man-to-man defense Thursday, the Coupeville Middle School 7th grade varsity boys’ basketball squad froze out host Forks.

Holding the Spartans to a measly five points over the game’s first 24 minutes, the Wolves ran away with a 23-16 win in their first game in three weeks.

The victory lifts Randy King’s team to 4-2 on the season, and was the highlight on a day when Forks won two of three games.

Coupeville was nipped 46-38 in the 7th grade JV game while the 8th grade varsity fell 67-25.

Kicking off the second half of its 10-game season, CMS made its longest trek of the year, braving the snow (and alleged twinkly vampires).

The 7th grade varsity was on point from the opening tip.

“Defense. How’s about that 7th grade defense?,” King said. “Gave up one in the first and two in the second. And they were good!

“We didn’t shoot great but the “D” was incredible,” he added. “We are figuring it out!”

After combining for just 18 points in the first three quarters (the Wolves led 13-5), the two squads threw down 21 in the fourth.

Connor Barton paced CMS with 12 points, pouring in buckets in all four quarters.

He scored four in the final quarter, teaming with Hawthorne Wolfe, who knocked down all four of his points down the stretch, to keep Forks at bay.

Grady Rickner swished both of Coupeville’s free throw attempts in the fourth, as well, allowing the Spartans no hopes of launching a comeback.

Xavier Murdy rounded out the Wolf offense, dropping in five on the afternoon, while Caleb Meyer, Cody Roberts and Logan Martin also saw floor time.

7th grade JV nipped:

Coupeville had only six players, making for a lonely bench, but actually got stronger as the game went on.

Toss out a 20-8 Forks run in the first quarter, and the Wolves were the better team over the final three quarters to a 30-26 tune.

Gabe Shaw was a one-man wrecking crew, hammering home 14, while Martin added seven of his 10 in the fourth.

Logan Wertz (5), Roberts (5), Aiden Burdge (4, including a three-ball) and Jonathan Carroll rounded out the roster.

8th grade falls:

A slow start and a rough finish doomed the Wolves.

Jake Mitten banked home 11, while Daniel Olson chipped in with 10 to provide most of Coupeville’s offense.

Alex Jimenez and Dakota Eck each added a bucket, with Sage Downes and Ben Smith providing defense and hustle.

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Brian Shank (John Fisken photos)

   Brian Shank threw down eight points Tuesday in a hard-fought battle at Concrete. (John Fisken photo)

One bucket.

Unable to come up with a game-changing one, the Coupeville High School boys’ basketball squad returned from Concrete bearing another ding on its shield.

Outlasted in a tough-nosed, low-scoring non-conference game Tuesday night, the Wolves fell 33-31, dropping their record to 1-8 on the season.

With Christmas break hitting, Coupeville is off until Dec. 30, when it travels to Orcas Island.

While negatives took their toll Tuesday — the Wolves were just 2 of 9 at the free throw line and tallied their second fewest-points of the season — CHS was consistent.

Unlike a lot of games this season, there was no big drop-off in one specific quarter to point at when scanning the post-game stats.

Coupeville dropped in eight in the first, five in the second, seven in the third, then rallied to its best showing with 11 in the final eight-minute stretch.

Hunter Smith tossed in 10 to pace the Wolves, while Brian Shank knocked down eight.

Gabe Wynn (7), Ethan Spark (3), Joey Lippo (2) and Cameron Toomey-Stout (1) rounded out the scoring attack, while Ariah Bepler and Hunter Downes also saw floor time.

Concrete (1-4 after the win) was led by James Schoolland, who went for a game-high 16.

Coupeville had three players knock down a three-ball, with Wynn hitting one in the first quarter and Shank and Spark nailing second-half treys.

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