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Ulrik Wells was a force on both ends of the floor Tuesday, as Coupeville drilled Friday Harbor 54-41 in a scrimmage. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

No one has touched them this spring.

And with that word – spring – we can probably simmer down, but still, the Coupeville High School boys basketball team is off to a strong start.

First came a 5-0 run through the Crescent Classic, and Tuesday, it was time for the Wolves to lace up their sneakers and go toe-to-toe, and three-ball-to-three-ball, with visiting Friday Harbor in a scrimmage.

Playing two 25-minute halves, with a running clock and refs working the floor, Coupeville rebounded from a slow start, then poured it on, building a 24-point second-half lead before walking off with a 54-41 victory.

And it was those three-balls which did a lot of the damage.

Back-to-back daggers from Hawthorne Wolfe and Logan Martin gave the Wolves the lead for good midway through the first half, and, by the time it was done, CHS rained down 10 shots from behind the arc.

The two teams played with very different styles, as Coupeville won the three-point battle 10-3 (providing a nice 30-9 cushion), while Friday Harbor spent much more time at the free-throw line, carving out a 16-4 advantage in made shots.

In the early going, the Wolves hit the boards with ferocity, getting strong glass-cleaning work from the trio of Ulrik Wells, Gavin Knoblich, and Jacobi Pilgrim.

Only problem is, Coupeville couldn’t get anything to drop, going nearly five minutes into the game before any of its players found the bottom of the net.

That was Knoblich, who finally broke the seal on the rim, banging home a short runner in the paint off a feed from Sean Toomey-Stout.

Koa Davison immediately hit a shot of his own the next trip down the floor, pulling off a bang-bang give-and-go play with Knoblich.

That cut the margin to 5-4, and the game stayed as a one or two basket affair for the game’s first 14 minutes.

Daniel Olson picked the pocket of a Friday Harbor guard, then crashed end-to-end, smacking the layup home under great duress, to stake CHS to its first lead at 8-7.

But it was the final 10-11 minutes of the first half which radically changed the flow of the game.

Three different Wolves — Martin, Wolfe, and Davison — splashed home three-balls as Coupeville went on an 11-0 run, gave back one single, solitary bucket, then tacked on another quick seven points.

The eventual 18-2 surge carried CHS into the halftime locker room up 26-13, and Friday Harbor would never remotely sniff the lead again.

The Wolves, who had a 12-7 advantage in players — even with varsity vets Mason Grove and Jered Brown sitting out the game — used their depth to run the visitors a bit ragged, especially after the break.

Coupeville used a 14-3 surge coming out of the break, with Wolfe hitting for eight of the points, to push its lead out to 40-16, which would be the high-water mark for the afternoon.

Brad Sherman’s squad mixed it up, using the long ball to knock Friday Harbor back on its heels, before utilizing crisp, efficient passing to garner buckets on quick slashes to the hoop.

While Wolfe dropped three of his four treys in the second half, his prettiest bucket came on a little one-hander that was set up by a one-man-wrecking-crew play from Wells.

The CHS big man took the ball three-quarters the length of the court, sucked the defense to him, then flicked a perfect lil’ set-up pass to Wolfe, who was strolling through the paint, acting all innocent until he gutted the defense.

Other Coupeville players had big moments, as well.

Knoblich nailed back-to-back buckets, one after he chased down a loose ball, then spun and hit nothing but net, the other on a shot which made almost as many bounces on the rim as Kawhi Leonard’s series winner against Philly.

When Wells wasn’t setting others up, he was benefiting from the positive karma he had collected.

Martin, holding down the back line, went airborne to reject a Friday Harbor shot, smashing the ball right onto Wolfe’s fingertips.

Skipping second gear, and going right to third, Wolfe spun down the right side of the court, before zipping the ball on a bead to Wells coming down the left, setting him up for a sweet layup.

Then there was Xavier Murdy, the right man in the right place, with the right touch on the ball.

Davison drove the lane, got hammered by multiple enforcers, and saw the ball pop loose and shoot towards the sideline.

But, a mere moment before the orb disappeared for good, Murdy, coming in hot, yanked the ball out of the air, reversed on a dime and let fly with a fall-away three-ball.

Time stopped for a second, then ball tickled the twines as it landed with a soft, satisfying plop, sending Wolf JV players in the stands into near hysterics.

In the end, nine of the 12 Wolves in uniform scored, led by Wolfe’s game-high 15-point performance.

Knoblich (6), Martin (6), Jean Lund-Olsen (6), Davison (5), Murdy (5), Olson (5), Wells (4), and Toomey-Stout (2) also scored.

Wolfe ruffled the nets for a crowd-pleasing four treys, while Lund-Olsen and Martin netted two apiece. Murdy and Davison rounded out the three-ball assassins.

While they didn’t score, Pilgrim, Tucker Hall, and Sage Downes all delivered with strong work on the defensive end of the floor.

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Coupeville’s Avalon Renninger – a scary, scary woman on the tennis court. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Second time around, things got a little crazy.

Four days ago, the Coupeville High School girls tennis team swept Friday Harbor 5-0 while on a tour of the outer islands.

Jump forward to Tuesday, the Wolves were back at home, it was Senior Night for foreign exchange student Bruna Moratori, and everything spun off in new, and sometimes, exciting, directions.

Coupeville still won the rematch, but this time it was 4-0 as #1 singles, against all odds, ended in a tie.

Yes, a tie, and not even on the soccer field.

There were a lot of contributing factors.

Friday Harbor showed up a bit later than expected, and when you live in the outer islands, there comes a time when you have to sprint for the last ferry or forever be stuck on Whidbey to deal with rogue wandering bears.

But mainly it was because Coupeville’s Genna Wright and Friday Harbor’s Aida Must waged a war of attrition, mixing up styles of play, swapping power for precision, and refusing to give an inch.

Wright won the first set, Must the second, then the Wolf sophomore dug down deep to save herself in the final frame, roaring back from 5-3 down to knot things up at 5-5.

The only players still on the court as the sun dipped, and, far off, a ferry tooted a plaintive horn, the duo would have stayed out there all night if allowed.

But it wasn’t to be, as reality intruded and the Friday Harbor van screamed out of the Coupeville parking lot on two wheels, the last player diving through the open door on a dead sprint.

It capped a wild afternoon in which three of five varsity matches went the full three sets.

While Wright’s rumble didn’t quite reach the finish line, the Wolf duos of Moratori/Jaimee Masters and Eryn Wood/Emily Fiedler both rallied to pull out wins in a third frame.

The only two matches which went (fairly) quickly were Jillian Mayne at #2 singles, who was last on the court and yet still beat Wright off, winning in straight sets, and #1 doubles duo Avalon Renninger and Tia Wurzrainer.

The warriors in white (tennis dresses) demolished their foes, pounding the snot out of the ball, and leaving a notable impression on the players on the other side of the net.

“I’m not built to play that blonde girl!,” whispered one Friday Harbor netter as she marveled at Renninger’s wicked power. “She scared me sometimes!”

“And that other girl … zip, zip, zip, every shot,” murmured her partner as Wurzrainer walked away, twirling her racket like a sword.

With the back-to-back wins over Friday Harbor, the Wolves improve to 2-4 in North Sound Conference play.

Coupeville hits the road the next two days, traveling to Chimacum Wednesday, then Granite Falls Thursday.

The first of those matches is the team’s only non-conference tilt this spring, while the latter will be a doubleheader, as the North Sound Conference rivals finish a rained-out match, then play the regularly-scheduled finale.

The Wolves return to Granite May 7-8, taking two singles players and two doubles teams along for the district tourney.

 

Complete Tuesday results (varsity only):

1st Singles — Genna Wright tied Aida Must 6-3, 5-7, 5-5 (ferry)

2nd Singles — Jillian Mayne beat Alli Benz 6-3, 6-3

1st Doubles — Tia Wurzrainer/Avalon Renninger beat Katy Kulseth/Tori Polda 6-0, 6-1

2nd Doubles — Eryn Wood/Emily Fiedler beat Joely Loucks/Lucy Urbach 6-3, 4-6, 7-5

3rd Doubles — Jaimee Masters/Bruna Moratori beat Ayla Ridwan/Kai Di Bona 6-1, 4-6, 6-3

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Emily Fiedler and her doubles partner, Eryn Wood, teamed up to notch their first win of the season Friday afternoon. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a very good day.

Less than 24 hours after being swept by South Whidbey, the Coupeville High School girls tennis team rebounded with a vengeance Friday afternoon.

With eight different Wolves winning for the first time this season, CHS swept host Friday Harbor 5-0 in varsity play, then fought to a 3-3 tie in JV action.

The varsity win lifts Coupeville to 1-4 on the season, and it bodes well for the Wolves starting a winning streak.

Friday Harbor travels to Whidbey Apr. 30 for a rematch, and, unless something radically changes, back-to-back team wins seems pretty likely.

Varsity singles players Genna Wright and Jillian Mayne, and first-year doubles duo Eryn Wood and Emily Fielder all tasted victory for the first time, as did JV doubles players Cassidy Holmes, Cecelia Camarena, Bruna Moratori, and Lola Jimenez.

 

Complete Friday results:

 

Varsity:

1st Singles — Genna Wright beat Lucy Urbach 6-1, 6-1

2nd Singles — Jillian Mayne beat Kai Di Bona 6-3, 6-4

1st Doubles — Tia Wurzrainer/Avalon Renninger beat Katy Kulseth/Tori Polda 6-4, 6-0

2nd Doubles — Eryn Wood/Emily Fiedler beat Joely Loucks/Ren Di Bona 6-0, 6-1

3rd Doubles — Jaimee Masters/Abby Mulholland beat Ayla Ridwan/Allie Fleming 6-0, 6-1

 

JV:

4th Doubles — Noelle Daigneault/Bruna Moratori lost 8-4

5th Doubles — Katelin McCormick/Daigneault won 4-2

6th Doubles — Maddy Andrews/Mary Milnes lost 6-3

7th Doubles — Lola Jimenez/Annika Heller lost 6-4

8th Doubles — Cecilia Camarena/Cassidy Holmes won 6-1

9th Doubles — Jimenez/Moratori won 4-2

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Coupeville freshman Izzy Wells was a beast in her high school softball debut Tuesday, sparking an incredible come-back win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

No one saw this coming. No one.

And if you say you did, you’re a cock-a-doodie liar.

I mean, let’s be honest here, there was a time Tuesday afternoon when I already had this Coupeville High School softball story mostly written in my head, and it was going to be a lot different than what you’re about to read.

It was going to be about a rebuilding team coming out on Opening Day, facing a rival with a big win already to its credit, and having the kind of struggles you often have in that kind of situation.

We would have reached down, plucked out the tale of Ms. Unflappable, freshman hurler Izzy Wells, and focused on that primarily, as a way to ease the rawness of a lopsided loss.

Maybe we would have talked about some truly, jaw-droppingly awful calls by the umpiring crew, but, ultimately, we would have looked for some kind of silver lining.

And then the world turned upside down.

Three outs away from being ten-runned, three outs away from absorbing a dispiriting loss, the Wolves, to a player, stood up and pulled off a stunning reversal of fortune like maybe none I’ve ever seen in 29 years of on-and-off sports writing.

You can look at the box score, see Coupeville beat Friday Harbor 18-17 — yes, that was really the score — and have no freakin’ clue of how wild, weird, wacky and, ultimately, wonderful, this one was.

So, let me try and give you some kind of clue, even as my own brain keeps doing dizzy laps around the inside of my noggin, screaming like a 10-year-old jacked out of his mind on Mountain Dew and Pop Rocks.

I mean, we’re talking about a game in which Coupeville trailed 9-0, 12-2, and, finally, 16-6 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.

A game in which the Wolves didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning.

A game in which CHS led once, and only once, on the final swing of the game, as senior catcher Sarah Wright delivered the latest in a four-year run of crafting epic prairie moments.

A game in which the biggest performance, without question, came from a freshman making her high school softball debut, but also a game in which all 12 Wolf hitters got on base, often at crucial times.

Racing the setting sun, Coupeville’s diamond women did the impossible, brought a standing-room-only crowd to delirium, and sent a shell-shocked Friday Harbor squad off on a very long, and probably very tear-stained, bus and ferry trip home.

The visiting Wolverines had opened their season by clubbing always-scary Lynden Christian, and they came out bats smoking against CHS hurlers Scout Smith and Chelsea Prescott.

Coupeville is in transition, with Katrina McGranahan, its pitching ace the past four years, now sitting in the front row of the bleachers, offering quiet, sage advice to the group following in her large footsteps.

Smith and Prescott didn’t pitch all that badly over the first two innings-plus, with Smith whiffing three and Prescott setting Friday Harbor hitters back on their heels.

But, the Wolverines benefited from some dubious calls, which prompted one fan to inquire if the ump had gotten two glass eyes installed at their last visit to the eye doctor.

One play in particular, on which Wright came up firing and nailed a runner leaning off first, was textbook fraud.

The throw to teammate Veronica Crownover was so on the money, the tag so flawlessly applied, every person this side of Texas could see the runner was out.

Including the runner herself, and the Friday Harbor coach at first-base.

But, in the first of 27 times Coupeville coach Kevin McGranahan was gutted in one afternoon, both umps publicly admitted they couldn’t see the play, while calling the runner safe.

Howlers like that set the table, but give the visitors credit for using their lumber to deliver bone-crunching hits, as Friday Harbor surged out to a 12-2 lead midway through the third inning.

A two-run home-run to deep left field was seemingly the bow on the present the Wolverines were crafting for their coaching staff, but then Wells came stomping into the game to play a very-popular Grinch.

A star in little league, who has gone on to have successful high school volleyball and basketball seasons, the middle child belonging to Lyle and Katy Wells looked a hair nervous as she took the ball from Kevin McGranahan.

With a runner at second, nobody out, and a 10-run deficit, few were expecting the moment to be much more than a chance to give the youngster a taste of high school varsity ball.

Wright, once a raw, but talented 14-year-old herself, is now a seasoned old pro, albeit one who still delights in loudly leading every sing-along chant from the bench.

As their coach departed, she leaned in, whispered something to Wells, then grinned, the kind of smile which covers the prairie, whacked her mitt lightly against her young teammate’s arm and headed back to the plate, showering her newest battery mate with a wave of confidence.

Two pitches later, the transformation was complete.

Wells body language noticeably changed, her back went straighter, her pitches started to hum, and, whether they knew it or not, the Wolves were on the comeback trail.

She whiffed the second batter she faced, escaped the inning, struck out the side in the fourth, and chucked five impressive innings of relief.

Bolstered by their fab frosh, the Wolves, after racking up nine walks, finally broke through with their bats.

When it came, it came all at once, with three straight base-knocks — Chelsea Prescott smoking a two-run triple to left, Wright mashing an RBI triple, then Mollie Bailey crunching an RBI single to center.

Back within 12-6, there was hope … and then it was seemingly gone.

A couple of soft hits which found teeny-tiny holes in the defense helped Friday Harbor inch back out to a 16-6 lead, and things looked bleak once more as the bottom of the sixth approached.

Of ye of little faith.

Three straight walks to open the sixth juiced the bags, a passed ball brought one home, then Wright cranked a two-run single and scampered home when a throw to second skipped wildly away from the shortstop.

Crownover eked out a walk, Wells stroked a single to left, and it was time for the other freshman to get dramatic.

Having made her varsity debut a mere half hour before, Audrianna Shaw was a wild card, and Friday Harbor never saw her coming.

Leaning into a pitch, she went Incredible Hulk on the ball, mashing a frozen rope to center, where it smacked the top of the madly running fielder’s glove and skipped away.

With the lead cut to 16-12, Coupeville went for the KO, only to see their foes dodge the punch when Prescott’s long shot to left with the bags full was run down.

It mattered not, however, as the improbable had become the possible.

Even though Friday Harbor scraped out a run in the seventh to go up 17-12, the air felt different.

Some would say it was just the already-cold weather being affected by the sun sinking over the horizon. Others are more poetic.

Coupeville sent 10 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, and the final nine reached base.

The big blow was a rocket launched into left by Crownover, a booming double which tore the cover off the screaming, pleading ball and plated a runner.

Equally important were four consecutive bases-loaded walks, with Shaw, Smith, Emma Mathusek, and Prescott bringing teammates home while displaying eagle eyes at the plate.

That set up Wright, the four-year starter, the four-year hitting sensation, she of the voice run raspy after three-plus hours of screamin’ and hootin’ and hollerin’ and singin’ and laughin’ her head off.

The slump of the pitcher’s shoulders told the tale, almost as much as the way Wright rolled to the plate, lofting her bat onto her shoulder and licking her lips in anticipation.

Friday Harbor’s hurler whipped a good pitch — the best she had thrown all inning — but, with one final laugh, Wright crushed her hopes and dreams, whipping a walk-off hit back up the middle.

Scout Smith came flying home, giving dad Chris, whose CHS baseball team had to postpone its game due to illness, a chance to pump his fists in the air and go home happy.

All across the prairie, bedlam rained.

Bad calls were forgotten, early struggles placed to the side, and, while it’s just one win, in the first game of a 20-game regular-season schedule, its impact could be monumental.

“Just a great game, by a group of girls who never gave in!,” Kevin McGranahan said. “Give Izzy a lot of credit, for coming in and holding them down. Really good first game for her, and Audri, too.”

Coupeville finished with eight hits and 20 walks, with Smith and Mathusek eking out five free passes apiece.

Senior sluggers Wright (1B, 3B) and Crownover (2B, 2B) led the hit attack, with Prescott (3B), Shaw (3B), Wells (1B), and Bailey (1B) also connecting on base-knocks.

Coral Caveness collected two walks, while Chloe Wheeler, Nicole Laxton, and Mackenzie Davis all walked as well, as every Wolf in uniform reached base.

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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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