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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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Coupeville lineman Ryan Labrador recovered a fumble Friday as he and his defensive mates put up a strong fight in a loss to Friday Harbor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

For one play Friday night, everything was perfect.

Freshman kicker Xavier Murdy lofted a beautiful ball, dropping an onside kick exactly where he wanted it to be.

And that landing spot was right on the fingertips of teammate Gavin Straub, who bounded off the ground as he hurtled down the right sideline, neatly plucking the ball from the skies.

It was a single football play run to perfection.

One which sent the student section into an explosion of cheers, as chants of “G-3! G-3! G-3!” rained down on Straub as he clutched the ball to his chest with an iron grip.

If the rest of Friday night had gone in the same direction, we’d be talking about the first Coupeville High School football team to go 3-0 in a very, very long time.

But, unfortunately, we are not.

Unable to get their offense into gear, and beset by rain, (distant) lightning and a very strong Friday Harbor defense, the Wolves fell 17-0 on their home turf.

The non-league loss drops Coupeville to 2-1, with a road game at La Conner next week the final warm-up before North Sound Conference play begins Sept. 28.

Friday’s rumble pitted two running backs — Wolf junior Sean Toomey-Stout and Friday Harbor senior Emeron Geiser — who had each racked up 500+ rushing yards across their first two games.

But this game was a tale of two defenses, as neither runner was able to really break free.

While Geiser scored a pair of late touchdowns, he only ripped off a 20+ yard run once Friday night.

Toomey-Stout was bottled up even more, attacked from all sides by an aggressive Wolverine D which kept him from getting to the corners.

His biggest play came not on a run, but a pass play, as he hooked up with Dawson Houston on a 32-yard catch-and-run, in which the run part covered most of the yardage.

The two squads spent the first half exchanging body blows, playing smash-mouth football, moving the chains a bit, but suffering from slippery fingers.

A torrential downpour which hit for the first 5-10 minutes of the game, before greatly abating, helped to put a sheen on the ball, even when it was toweled down. Cue players jumping on loose balls every third play or so.

Coupeville came up with two big turnovers in the early going, with Jake Pease and Ryan Labrador recovering fumbles, but the Wolves also gave the ball back twice.

A fumble at the 17-yard line brought an abrupt end to the one and only time Coupeville got inside Friday Harbor’s 20-yard line, while a picked off pass set up the only score of the first half.

Handed the ball at Coupeville’s 16-yard line with under a minute to play in the half, the Wolverines tried to ram the ball into the end zone, only to be thwarted by a fired-up CHS defense.

Still, Friday Harbor walked away with something, netting a 25-yard field goal off the toe of sophomore Milo Geiser to carry a 3-0 lead into the half.

Coupeville, which was tied 6-6 and 0-0 headed into the third quarter of its first two games, respectively, has been a second-half team in 2018.

The magic never showed up this time, however, as the Wolves gave Murdy plenty of chances to work on his punting after the break.

While the freshman booter took advantage, nailing one for a solid 50 yards with no return, it’s hard to win a game when your punter is operating as your biggest weapon.

Coupeville’s defense kept its offense in the game for a long time, holding the score at 3-0 until Emeron Gleiser slipped away on his only semi-long run of the night, a 27-yard TD bolt up the middle.

The PAT kick sailed wide, and hope hung in the air for at least a few more ticks … then things got weird.

The game came to a screeching halt at the 3:57 mark of the third quarter when a lightning strike somewhere up around Albuquerque (or Everett, I’m bad at geography…) sent the game into a half-hour delay.

Wolf fans filled the time with a dance-off, with the song selections cued up by Ema Smith delivering one sweet bonus.

That was the reappearance of 2008 rap hit turned dance sensation “The Wobble” by V.I.C., which used to play after every Wolf football game until it was unfairly banned by an uptight former administration.

For one night, as rain drops splattered down on Mickey Clark Field and lightning sparked somewhere up around San Jose (still bad at geography…), the forbidden dance was back.

Somewhere, in a different part of the world, former Head of Mischief Brian Norris snapped to attention, pulled his vuvuzela horn from its hiding place and screamed, “I’m on my way!!!”

If only, if only…

Anyway, back in the slightly misty reality of Coupeville, circa 2018, the players were finally let back on the field, as the lightning had seemingly moved on to Caracas.

What do you mean I’m in the wrong country, now? Geography, kicking my butt since 1971…

Anyway, the Wolf defense filled the remainder of the game with inspired plays, even as the offense continued to spin its wheels.

Chris Battaglia blew up a dude five steps behind the line, Isaiah Bittner knocked the very soul out of a rival, and Alex Turner, after shedding multiple blockers, administered one tackle known simply as “The Back Breaker.”

Meanwhile, Shane Losey, while stretched out and airborne, snagged a runner by his shoelaces and promptly untied the laces before both he and the runner met the Earth together.

But Emeron Geiser added a six-yard bolt to the end zone to stretch the lead to 15-0, and a late safety on a muffed Wolf kickoff return set the final margin in amber.

While the end result wasn’t what he wanted, Coupeville coach Marcus Carr handled his first loss in red and black with a calmness which filtered out to his players.

Already looking ahead at La Conner, the Wolf boss realizes a little rain must fall into everyone’s lives.

“They kept fighting, and I’m happy with that,” Carr said. “The guys never gave up.

“We’ll get back to basics, work on a few things and get back at it. When we execute well, good things happen. We just need to execute.”

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Put a volleyball in the hands of Willow Vick (or twin sister Raven) and they will unleash Hell on Earth. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Don’t hurt ’em, Vick sisters! Whoops, too late.

Combining to win points on 19 serves, the twin terrors that are Raven and Willow Vick (friendly, artistic souls off the court, cold-blooded assassins between the lines) were on fire Thursday night.

Actually, so was everyone else in a Wolf uniform, as the Coupeville High School JV volleyball team mashed visiting Friday Harbor in a match where the word “rout” would be an understatement.

Kicking off their season with a 25-7, 25-9, 25-11 cakewalk, the Vick-powered wrecking crew left coach Chris Smith leaning back in his chair, contented grin on his face as his game plan came together flawlessly.

Coupeville controlled the match from the service stripe, with one player after another going off on sustained runs in which they peppered Friday Harbor receivers with balls which had no chance of ever coming back over the net.

Abby Mulholland, Maddie Vondrak, Ivy Leedy, Eryn Wood, Izzy Wells – didn’t matter who was spinning the ball and rocketing sweet, sweet missiles over the net. They all had the magic touch.

But it was the Vicks who put the final stamp on the night.

Willow ripped off four-straight aces at one point in the final set, with each serve kicking in a different direction (except for the one which tattooed a Friday Harbor player in the chest).

Her twin was even more lethal, as Raven went on a tear which netted 12 consecutive points as the Wolves cruised through the second set.

She got some help from Zoe Trujillo, who cranked a winner off a rival, unleashing a shot which just about tore the girl’s arm out of its socket.

Other than that brief rally, Friday Harbor could not get anything off of Raven Vick, however, as she dropped aces in front of them, then blasted aces to the deepest, darkest part of the court.

Picking up inspiration from her older teammate, Wood, a freshman making her high school debut, put together her own run of six straight points on serve.

Fellow frosh Mulholland bashed a serve off of a Friday Harbor player’s very-surprised face, while Lucy Sandahl got nasty with her own serves, launching bombs which dove and bit the court, spraying fragments everywhere.

With Coupeville’s service game firing on all cylinders, there weren’t a whole lot of sustained rallies, but buried in the midst of a series of one-off plays there was one majestic conflict.

After Jaimee Masters put the ball in play off of her serve midway through the second set, both teams pulled off unexpected last-ditch saves, keeping the ball in the air longer than at any other point in the match.

While Friday Harbor looked like they had a winner, Vondrak, roaring up the middle of the floor, stretched out, using every last inch of her frame to scrape the rapidly-descending ball off the floor.

Pushing it skyward, she not only kept the play alive, but popped it perfectly on to Trujillo’s fingertips, allowing the Wolf outside hitter to pound home a convincing winner.

With everything falling his way, Chris Smith was able to use all 14 players on his roster, with Kylie Van Velkinburgh, Abby Meyers, Anya Leavell and Noelle Daigneault also seeing solid floor time.

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