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Abby Mulholland tossed in four points Wednesday during a thriller of a JV game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Thriller, part deux.

Playing in the moments after the varsity team escaped with a two-point win Wednesday, the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball squad decided to up the ante.

The first game ended when the Wolves chased down and corralled a final rebound to seal their victory. So, in the second clash, things got pushed to a final, buzzer-beating shot.

Which, unfortunately for Coupeville, refused to drop.

CHS had the look it wanted, and the shooter it wanted, but the rim proved unforgiving and this time it was Friday Harbor escaping with a 29-27 victory.

“The girls executed the play as drawn, the ball comes in and gets to Kiara (Contreras), who had a defender on her,” said Coupeville coach Amy King. “Perfect pass to Izzy (Wells), who has a perfect-looking shot, hit the rim and just bounced off.

“It was an exciting game,” she added. “Varsity was behind the JV bench chanting “defense” in the loudest volume possible.

“Improvements are happening with every practice and every game, and as long as we continue to work on the little things, we will be just fine.”

The scrappy Wolf young guns, now 0-3 on the young season, opened play minus starting post player Kylie Chernikoff. A ferocious rebounder and defender, she injured her leg earlier in the day.

That left King scrambling to adjust the starting lineup, but the Wolves quickly adapted.

Down 7-6 after one quarter, Coupeville got a couple buckets from Abby Mulholland and a three-ball off the fingertips of Mollie Bailey in the second quarter and flipped the switch.

Tack on a rebound put-back from Ja’Kenya Hoskins, who “was a monster under the basket, making sure the other teams couldn’t just get easy passes or shots,” and the Wolves went to the break up 15-11.

Then things went all higgedly-piggedly for a bit.

“The second half we came out very slow and were forced to call a timeout to bring out the energy,” King said. “Anya (Leavell) and Mollie came out of that timeout and forced good things to happen with some steals and fast breaks.”

Leavell stayed hot in the fourth quarter, raining down seven points in the frame, including a three-ball, and the Wolves battled to the wire, with “both teams trying to get the ball down the court, pressing the ball, causing turnovers.”

While Friday Harbor came out on the positive side of the final score, King came away pleased with a lot of what she saw from her freshman-heavy squad.

Izzy was a steady player the entire game, snagging rebounds, helping with the ball, taking shots and just playing a well-rounded game,” she said.

Kiara, Anya and Mollie took care of defending the top half of the key, with help through the game from Abby, Kylie (Van Velkinburgh), Alana (Mihill) and Lily (Leedy).”

Coupeville’s scoring attack was led by Leavell, who toasted the net for a game-high 11 points, while Mulholland (4), Wells (4), Bailey (3), Van Velkinburgh (2), Hoskins (2), and Contreras (1) also got their name in the book.

Wells hauled down 13 rebounds, Hoskins snatched 12 boards, Leavell and Bailey each notched five steals and Contreras doled out a pair of assists.

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Tucker Hall netted five points Wednesday as the Coupeville JV waged war with visiting Friday Harbor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They still have the best record in town.

Even after running into a very talented Friday Harbor squad Wednesday, resulting in a 65-38 loss, the Coupeville High School JV boys basketball team boasts the best win/loss record of the five Wolf hoops teams.

Sitting at 2-2 after the defeat, the young guns are already on the move, mentally preparing for a Saturday road trip to Orcas Island.

Facing off with Friday Harbor, the Wolves had speed and shooting, but couldn’t match the height advantage of the visitors.

Most of Coupeville’s scoring came from its back-court aces, as sophomores Daniel Olson and Sage Downes paced the attack with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Grady Rickner swished six, Tucker Hall dropped five, Logan Martin rumbled for four, and TJ Rickner knocked down a pair of free throws to round out the scoring.

Cody Roberts, Chris Ruck and Miles Davidson also saw floor time for the Wolves, who were missing Alex Jimenez and Xavier Murdy.

Downes hit a pair of three-balls, while Hall and Grady Rickner added treys of their own.

That trio combined to score all of Coupeville’s points in its best frame of the night, a 14-point second quarter in which Hall and Downes each rattled home five points and Rickner added four.

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Jered Brown knocked down a season-high 11 points Wednesday to lead Coupeville’s scoring attack against Friday Harbor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“The coaching staff is really, really proud of these guys.”

Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball coach Brad Sherman is still looking for his first win of the new season, but, four games in, he can’t, and won’t, fault his players for their heart.

“I’m really proud of the hustle and effort we are showing every game,” he said. “We’re starting to find our shooting rhythm, as well, which is nice to see.”

While a quick glance at the scoreboard after Wednesday’s 60-40 non-conference loss to visiting Friday Harbor might indicate a one-sided game, it was anything but.

Coupeville, now 0-4 on the season, used a hail of three-point bombs to hang with a team which had a huge height advantage, but one bad stretch ultimately doomed them.

The Wolves had fought back from a 10-point first-quarter deficit to knot the game at 18-18, and only trailed by a bucket after Gavin Knoblich slapped home a rebound put-back with a minute to play in the first half.

Down just 24-22 and having at least momentarily muted the inside play of Friday Harbor’s 6-foot-8 and 6’6 post players, CHS was on the move.

And then the rim swore a vendetta against the Wolves, and not a shot would drop for an agonizingly long time.

Friday Harbor took advantage, slipping a pair of free throws through the net, turning a steal into a two-handed jam, and then, worse of all, hitting a desperation three-ball right before the halftime buzzer.

Sean Toomey-Stout gave Coupeville a small sliver of hope when he alertly stripped the ball as Friday Harbor attempted a second dunk on the final play of the half, but the 7-0 surge was a killer, emotionally, mentally and on the scoreboard.

The break didn’t ease the shooting curse, as the Wolves continued to have shots pop out, roll away and take weird bounces through much of the third quarter.

By the time CHS junior Jered Brown hit a one-hander in the paint, after a feed from Jacobi Pilgrim, Friday Harbor had run off 16 straight points and turned a one-basket game into a semi-romp.

Brown banged home a step-back three-ball a moment later, and the Wolves played the visitors almost dead even in the fourth, but the damage in the middle of the game was too much to overcome.

Once the lead ballooned out, Coupeville wasn’t able to get closer than 17 down the stretch.

A big part of that was Friday Harbor’s dominance on the boards, as tree toppers Marshall Clark (29 points) and Kyle Mapstead (14) used their long arms to snatch away many of the caroms and convert them into put-backs from close range.

The Wolves didn’t go down easily, with Ulrik Wells, at 6’4 Coupeville’s only true big man, snatching his fair share of boards.

Meanwhile, the 5’10 (and super springy) Toomey-Stout rejected a couple of shots that caught the Friday Harbor players (and their fans) by surprise.

Coupeville’s best run in the game came when the game was still fairly young.

Down 18-8, with Brown and Mason Grove having hit three-balls, the Wolves dropped three consecutive treys to start a crowd-pleasing comeback.

Freshman Hawthorne Wolfe, whose first bucket of the night came on a play in which he twisted himself into a pretzel in mid-air to get around a defender, nailed the first three-ball.

After that, Grove stepped up, launching a three-point special to end the first quarter, then another to open the second.

A Toomey-Stout free throw capped Coupeville’s 10-0 run and seemed to signal nothing but good times ahead, but the offense is still a work in progress for a young, transitioning Wolf squad.

“We’re improving each game; it’s just little things we need to fix,” Sherman said. “We need to take a little better control of the ball, be a little more patient.

“Our bigs (Wells, Dane Lucero, Pilgrim, Knoblich, Koa Davison) played really tough tonight, which was a big task against a big front line like that,” he added. “They all played pretty dang hard.”

Brown and Grove each netted their season-best scoring performance, with 11 and nine points, respectively, while Wolfe, the team’s leading scorer, added eight.

Wells (4), Toomey-Stout (4), Davison (2) and Knoblich (2) rounded out the scoring attack, with Davison’s bucket, off an offensive rebound, settling through the net with 0:00.1 to play.

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Coupeville captains (l to r) Ema Smith, Scout Smith and Lindsey Roberts all came up huge Wednesday as the Wolves won a thriller against Friday Harbor. (Photo by Johnsphotos.net)

Offense sells tickets, but defense wins games.

Luckily for the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball team, it was clicking on both sides of the ball Wednesday night.

Powered by a season-high 16 points from Lindsey Roberts, the Wolves exploded on visiting Friday Harbor, then turned to a withering defense (and some pressure-packed free throws from Ema Smith) to nail down a 34-32 win.

The non-conference victory, which came down to the game’s final play, lifts Coupeville to 1-3 on the season.

As exciting as the ending was for the fans, it was heart-stopping for both coaches, as the last 58 seconds were a jumble of nerves, miracle shots, and gut-check plays.

Up 32-27 after Roberts slipped a pair of free throws through the net with just a bit over a minute left on the clock, the Wolves looked in control.

Then Friday Harbor got dramatic.

A pull-up jumper cut the margin to three, before the visitors forced a turnover in the back court on the ensuing in-bounds play.

Taking things from bad to worse for Coupeville, Friday Harbor slid a dagger between the rib cages, knocking down a three-ball from the right side that needed a prayer to hit pay dirt, and got that prayer answered.

With the game knotted at 32 — the first tie since early in the first quarter — it might have been easy for the Wolves to fold. To put up a good fight, fall just short, and accept a moral victory.

To which Coupeville, to a player, said “screw that.”

Ema Smith, who was born with ice water running through her veins, absorbed a foul with 38.6 seconds to go, calmly loped to the line, stared down each Friday Harbor player one after another, then drilled both free throws.

The net barely moved on either shot, the partisan CHS crowd exploded, but Ema Smith didn’t smile. Not yet.

Instead, she and her teammates slapped hands, hunkered down and made not one, but three defensive stands, as the clock spun madly towards 0:00 and the score remained locked at 34-32.

Roberts yanked down a long rebound on the next shot, only to lose her footing and have the ball skid out of bounds.

No problem, as Hannah Davidson, lunging forward/being bulldozed from behind by a Friday Harbor player, pulled in the next rebound.

The fact she ended up on the floor after being pasted sent the Wolf junior to the line with 6.9 ticks left, but the rim turned unforgiving, spitting out both of her charity shots.

Again, no problem, as Ema Smith tipped the rebound to Roberts and … lost in the moment, the Wolves put up a shot instead of holding on to the ball, letting the clock run and getting fouled.

Ball hit rim and kicked way, way out, possibly causing Coupeville coach David King to have an aneurysm as he watched what could have been a game-tying layup at the buzzer by Friday Harbor develop in slow motion.

Except, Lindsey Roberts is fast, and by fast, I mean, faster than anyone in a Friday Harbor uniform could ever hope to be in their entire lifetime.

Roaring past two rivals in a single bound, she flung out her long arms, fingertips made contact with leather as the buzzer roared, and then she was hugging the basketball to her chest like she had saved a baby from a burning building.

Then, and then only, Ema Smith smiled, pummeling her fellow senior captain with glee.

As their teammates crowded around, keeping the celebration going, King sank into his chair, let out his breath with a great whoosh, and smiled, too.

A game that ended with a defensive stand for the ages began as an offensive slug-fest.

Roberts came out firing on all cylinders, dropping eight points in the first quarter.

Toss in a bucket from Nicole Laxton, who scooped up a loose ball and nimbly twirled and banked the ball home, and Coupeville had one of its better offensive frames of the season.

Only problem is, Friday Harbor had an answer for every bucket, then tossed in two more just because, and led 14-10 at the first break.

While the Wolves were trailing, they didn’t look or play as if they were down, though, and promptly took control of the game in the second quarter.

Roberts splatted a three-ball from the left side to cut the lead back to one, then after Friday Harbor’s only bucket of the quarter, Coupeville went to work.

Scout Smith drained a long jumper off of an offensive rebound, then Avalon Renninger pump-faked her defender into the parking lot, spun past her and sank a gorgeous little runner.

That shot proved to be huge, as the Wolves would never trail after Renninger crafted her own personal highlight reel.

Three free throws (two from Chelsea Prescott and one from Scout Smith) sent CHS into the locker room up 20-16, then two jumpers from Scout Smith to kick off the third pushed Coupeville’s lead to eight.

Friday Harbor refused to break, running off six straight points to pull back within 24-22, before Roberts ended the third with a free throw and then a long, crisp outlet pass that perfectly led Prescott to a breakaway layup.

All of which set up the frantic fourth.

King praised his team’s effort from top to bottom, while singling out two players for being a catalyst.

“This was Scout’s best game on the young season. She took care of the ball and defensively stepped up with guarding their #12 post player,” King said. “She did a great job sticking with her and not letting her get to the spots she wanted in their offense. She also deflected many passes, very disruptive.

“I’d also like to throw some praise Tia (Wurzrainer’s) way,” he added. “She is still working on being comfortable with handling the ball. Tonight she helped with getting open on their press. Then, after her steals and rebounds, she dribbled out of trouble.”

Roberts filled up the stat sheet, adding nine rebounds, two steals, two assists and three blocks to go with her game-high 16 points.

The scoring outburst carries her five slots higher on the all-time CHS girls basketball career scoring chart, from #35 to #30.

With 332 points and counting, Roberts passes Mia Littlejohn (317), Marie Grasser (321), Taniel Lamb (330), Misty Sellgren (331) and Amanda Allmer (331).

Scout Smith knocked down seven in support of Roberts, while Prescott (4), Renninger (2), Ema Smith (2), Laxton (2) and Davidson (1) also scored.

Ema Smith ripped down eight boards, with Scout Smith adding four rebounds and three steals.

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Harris Sinclair teamed with Thane Peterson to shred their foes Tuesday, as Coupeville tennis bounced Friday Harbor 5-0. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Koby Schreiber rolled to a straight-sets win at #1 singles.

Call it a palate cleanser.

Taking a break from their slog through the Emerald City League, AKA “The Toughest Boys Tennis Conference in the State,” the Coupeville High School netters had a much-easier mission Tuesday afternoon.

And sure enough, even juggling the lineup and not using four regular varsity players, the Wolves still shredded visiting Friday Harbor 5-0.

After playing ritzy private schools much of the season, the chance to duel an old-school rival which was, admittedly, not up to its former glory, was a bit refreshing.

“Friday Harbor just resurrected their program this year,” said CHS coach Ken Stange. “They were green and it was their first match.”

Still, a win is a win, and this one lifts Coupeville to 6-4 on the season, kicking off a week in which it is scheduled to play three matches in as many days.

The Wolves travel to Bear Creek Wednesday, then host Bush Thursday, as they scramble to get all their matches in before the rain and the fast-approaching district tourney conspire to bring an end to the regular season.

 

Complete Tuesday results:

 

Varsity:

1st Singles — Koby Schreiber beat Ryker Mattox 6-2, 6-4

2nd Singles — Andrew Aparicio beat Max Mattox 7-5, 7-5

1st Doubles — Mason Grove/James Wood beat Frankie Black/Ricky Hughes 6-2, 6-2

2nd Doubles — Jaschon Baumann/Tiger Johnson beat Tyler Fleming/Hank Erickson 6-1, 6-1

3rd Doubles — Thane Peterson/Harris Sinclair beat Levi Wolf/Erik Ryan 6-1, 6-1

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