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CHS basketball players (l to r) Ema Smith, Scout Smith, and Lindsey Roberts were tabbed for All-Conference honors. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They made a strong first impression.

The Coupeville High School girls basketball team beat preseason predictions, finishing third in the new six-team North Sound Conference.

Proving the best of the four scrappy public schools, CHS pushed back as hard as anyone against the twin private school juggernauts who ruled the roost.

The Wolves took Cedar Park Christian to the final moments in the second meeting between the teams, and did what it could to contend with league champ King’s.

Based on their play, and their refusal to back down, league coaches tabbed three Wolves for All-League honors, led by senior Lindsey Roberts earning a First-Team distinction.

A four-year varsity vet, she led Coupeville in scoring for the second-straight season, and wrapped her career as the #18 scorer in program history.

Fellow senior Ema Smith and junior Scout Smith, Coupeville’s other two varsity captains, were honored as Second-Team All-League picks.

Both Smith girls had big seasons, with Ema topping the team in nailing three-pointers, while Scout ran the point for the Wolves and sealed a key win at Sultan with a pair of late free throws.

In addition, junior Avalon Renninger shared the NSC Sportsmanship Award.

The coaching staffs from each league team picked one player from their squad to be honored.

The league awards were just the start Thursday as CHS coaches David and Amy King capped their seventh season with a team banquet.

 

Team awards:

 

Four-Year Varsity:

Lindsey Roberts

 

Four-Year Participation:

Nicole Laxton
Ema Smith

 

Varsity Captains:

Lindsey Roberts
Ema Smith
Scout Smith

 

JV Captain:

Mollie Bailey

 

Most Improved:

JV:

Alana Mihill
Morgan Stevens

Varsity:

Ja’Kenya Hoskins

 

Best Offense:

JV:

Audrianna Shaw
Izzy Wells

Varsity:

Lindsey Roberts
Ema Smith

 

Best Defense:

JV:

Ja’Kenya Hoskins

Varsity:

Tia Wurzrainer

 

Hustle Award:

JV:

Kiara Contreras

Varsity:

Tia Wurzrainer

 

Most Inspirational:

JV:

Mollie Bailey

Varsity:

Avalon Renninger

 

Wolf Pride:

Alana Mihill

 

Coaches Award:

Nicole Laxton

 

Varsity letter winners:

Hannah Davidson
Ja’Kenya Hoskins
Nicole Laxton
Chelsea Prescott
Avalon Renninger
Lindsey Roberts
Ema Smith
Scout Smith
Tia Wurzrainer

 

Varsity participation certificates:

Mollie Bailey
Anya Leavell
Izzy Wells

 

JV participation certificates:

Mollie Bailey
Kylie Chernikoff
Kiara Contreras
Ja’Kenya Hoskins
Anya Leavell
Ivy Leedy
Lily Leedy
Alana Mihill
Abby Mulholland
Audrianna Shaw
Morgan Stevens
Kylie Van Velkinburgh
Izzy Wells

 

Manager:

Heidi Meyers

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Brionna Blouin dropped in six points Thursday as Coupeville’s 7th graders played at Everett. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It wasn’t a win, but it was the next best thing.

Fighting until the very final second Thursday in Everett, the Coupeville Middle School 7th grade varsity came within a bucket of upsetting private school powerhouse Northshore Christian Academy.

While the Wolves fell 27-26, stabbed in the back by a foul call in the final seconds, their effort was everything coach Megan Smith wanted to see.

“Another good and close game,” she said. “It was a good learning game for us all.”

While the CMS 7th graders are 1-3 after the loss, two of those defeats have come by a single basket.

And, with a full roster, the Wolves are clicking and taking some of the scoring load off of top gunner Brionna Blouin.

She knocked down another six points Thursday, giving her 53 across four games, but it was running mate Lauren Marrs who had the really hot hand on this day.

Rattling the rim for a game-high 11, the feisty Wolf point guard scored multiple ways.

While Marrs slapped home three field goals, she also rippled the nets for five free throws, proving she’s cool under pressure.

Coupeville got scoring from five different players, its biggest number of the season in that category.

Along with Marrs and Blouin, the Wolves got four points from Reese Wilkinson, three from Desi Ramirez, and Allison Nastali’s first two of the season.

Skylar Parker, Jackie Contreras, Kayla Arnold, Kaitlyn Leavell, and Erica McGrath rounded out the active roster.

 

There were no 8th grade games Thursday (varsity or JV), as Northshore is only fielding a 7th grade team this season.

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Nezi Keiper tossed in seven points Wednesday as the CMS 8th graders pounded host Sultan. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a good day to be in Sultan, unless you played for the home team.

Rampaging through town like a horde of Vikings, the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams left destruction in their path, winning two of three games played on the hardwood.

How the merry mayhem played out:

 

8th grade varsity:

Coupeville hammered the Turks through three quarters, before coasting home with a 35-12 win to stay undefeated.

The Wolves got started on getting to a crisp 2-0 start on the season with a 10-4 first quarter run, then steadily pulled away.

Four different CMS players scored in the opening frame, led by Nezi Keiper, who pounded home a pair of buckets.

The attitude of sharing spread from there, as five Wolves combined to shape a 9-2 second quarter surge.

Coupeville’s most dominant seven-minute stretch was in the third, as Maddie Georges and Carolyn Lhamon tossed in four points apiece to fuel a 10-2 run, before CMS closed the fourth with a mild 6-4 advantage.

Georges paced the Wolves with eight points, while Keiper popped for seven, and Lhamon netted six.

Ryanne Knoblich and Alita Blouin both added four points to the scoring explosion, Hayley Fiedler, Gwen Gustafson, and Jordyn Rogers chipped in with a bucket apiece, and Jill Prince was a terror on defense.

 

8th grade JV:

A defensive gem, as the Wolves limited the Turks to just a single bucket in both quarters played, claiming an 8-4 win.

The game was knotted up at 2-2 after the first seven minutes, with Coupeville’s lone bucket coming off the fingertips of Jessenia Camarena, but things changed after the break.

While a 6-2 run in the second quarter might not bring back memories of the Showtime-era Lakers, it was enough to lift the JV to its first win of the season.

Now 1-2 on the still-young season, the Wolves picked up a second-quarter basket from Cristina McGrath and two buckets by Trinity McGee to seal the deal.

Claire Mayne, Abigail Ramirez, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Adrian Burrows, Karyme Castro, Jessica Ross-McMahon, and Melanie Navarro rounded out the CMS roster.

 

7th grade varsity:

The lone loss of the day came down to the final moments, but a late Sultan surge carried it to a razor-thin 27-25 win.

With the defeat, Coupeville drops to 1-2 on the season.

The Wolves get an immediate chance to bounce back, however, as the 7th graders (and only the 7th graders) travel to Everett Thursday to play Northshore Christian Academy.

Facing off with Sultan, CMS put up a strong fight.

Trailing just 6-4 at the first break, and 14-9 at the half, the Wolves put together a sizzling 12-6 run across the third quarter with three players dropping in points.

Brionna Blouin worked the glass for six of her game-high 14 during the surge, while Lauren Marrs tossed in four and Desi Ramirez knocked down a bucket.

Back up by a single point heading into the fourth, Coupeville couldn’t quite hold on down the stretch, with a late Sultan three-ball being an especially sharp dagger.

With her 14 points, Blouin increased her lead in the season scoring race.

Sitting with 47 points after three games, she’s averaging 15.7 a night, while Georges, who has 22 in two 8th grade contests, is throwing down 11 a game.

Marrs, who was making her season debut, chipped in with seven points, including a three-ball of her own, while Ramirez rounded out things with four points.

Reese Wilkinson, Ava Mitten, Kaitlyn Leavell, Skylar Parker, Erica McGrath, Allison Nastali, Jackie Contreras, and Kayla Arnold gave coach Megan Smith multiple options to work with.

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“Mad Dog” on the prowl. Maddie Georges, seen here last season, scored nine of her 14 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday as the CMS 8th graders roared back to stun visiting Langley. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

For teams which hadn’t been in a gym for awhile, they played pretty darn good.

Finally hosting their season openers Wednesday, after snow and ice caused numerous cancelled games and practices, both Coupeville Middle School varsity girls basketball teams rallied to overcome deficits and KO visiting Langley.

How the afternoon played out:

 

8th grade varsity:

If you left early, the final score might surprise you.

Down by 15 points in the second quarter, and still trailing by eight midway through the fourth, Coupeville closed the game on a 15-1 run to stun Langley 35-29.

Call it good coaching by Alex Evans, or a stubborn desire to win ingrained in battle-hardened players like his lil’ sister, Maddie Georges, who scored nine of her 14 points in the final eight minutes.

Either way, a message was sent – we will beat you, today, tomorrow, any day, any way.

In the early moments of the game, however, it might have seemed like a long shot, as the visitors came out ramped up.

Back-to-back three-balls, paired up with two nice put-backs off of offensive rebounds by Morgan Batchelor sent Langley on a 14-0 run in the first quarter.

That erased an early 3-2 Wolf advantage, keyed by Alita Blouin feeding Nezi Keiper for a bang-bang bucket, and sent a shiver through Wolf fans jammed into a sweaty gym.

Keiper finally broke the run, rolling hard to the hoop for a bucket, this time on a pass from Hayley Fiedler, but the damage was done.

It momentarily got worse in the second quarter, as the Cougars stretched their lead all the way out to 20-5.

It was then the Wolves began to clamp down on defense, forcing miss after miss, and slowly, ever so surely, crawling their way back into the game.

Two buckets from Carolyn Lhamon, packaged around the low-to-the-ground Blouin sneaking through the big trees to slap home a layup, pulled CMS back within 20-11 at the half.

Switching gears, the Wolves, who had hit just a single free throw in the first half, suddenly started forcing play, driving repeatedly at the hoop and daring the Cougars to whack them.

It worked, and how, as Coupeville repeatedly stopped the clock, thanks to suddenly-consistent referee whistles, then drained their freebies – hitting 14 charity shots down the stretch.

But while they got as close as five points early in the fourth, the Wolves couldn’t seem to get over the hump.

Langley notched a freebie of its own, then converted another offensive rebound into a bucket, and seemed to be set, up 28-20.

To which “Mad Dog” said, “Not in my gym.”

A Georges free throw, followed by big buckets in the paint from Keiper and Lhamon, started the game-changing 15-1 run, and, once it started, there was nowhere to hide for the Cougars.

Langley couldn’t hit a single field goal over the final six minutes-plus of the game, as its ball-handlers were hounded relentlessly by Georges, Blouin, and Gwen Gustafson.

If anything got past the pesky trio, Wolf enforcers Lhamon and Keiper promptly blew it right back out of the paint, making Evans do a happy dance in his coach’s box.

A steal and breakaway bucket by Georges was huge, then the Wolves clinched the game at the line, scoring the final eight points on charity shots.

Georges drained five of those, while Gustafson rippled the net for two, and Keiper capped things by splashing home a final heave.

Coupeville spread its offense out, getting points from six of nine players.

With Georges going off for 14, Keiper (9) and Lhamon (7) combined for 16.

Blouin (2), Gustafson (2), and Ryanne Knoblich (1) rounded out the attack, with Fiedler, Jordyn Rogers, and Jill Prince also seeing key floor time.

 

7th/8th JV:

Coupeville’s lone loss on opening day came down to the wire, with Langley slipping home the tying and winning buckets in the final moments to claim a 16-14 win.

A game which saw 16 points scored in the opening quarter, including a bucket which dropped through at the buzzer, later turned into a defensive war of attrition.

Adrian Burrows had the hot hand early for the Wolves, banking home a pair of jumpers, including one immediately after snatching the ball off a successful opening tip by Jessenia Camarena.

Toss in a power move down low for a bucket by the deceptively-strong Ryanne Knoblich and a sideline jumper from Camarena, and CMS was in control in the first eight minutes.

The play of the quarter, and maybe the game, came when an inbound pass from under the Wolf basket went long, way long, forcing Trinity McGee to race almost the length of the court to corral the wayward missile.

Saving the runaway ball a few steps from going out of bounds at the other end of the court, she spun, charged back up the right side, then slashed through the backpedaling defenders.

McGee’s hand shot skyward, the ball slapped glass and then happily plunked through the net, silencing the Langley cheering section in a flash.

The Cougar faithful did find something to cheer for however, as one of their guards desperation-heaved the ball skywards while rolling under her bucket, beating the odds and the buzzer.

That cut the margin back to 10-6, and Langley eventually knotted things up at 12-12 by the time the two squads headed to the halftime locker room.

While the first half featured some sterling baskets and a fair amount of offense, neither team could hit much of anything after the break.

McGee slapped home the only bucket of the third quarter, on a rolling run at the basket, but the Wolves went scoreless in the fourth.

Langley couldn’t do much better, failing to score for the first 13 minutes of the 16-minute second half.

But, when it mattered, the Cougars threw up a pair of prayers to the basketball gods, and had them answered.

The first one tied the game up with three minutes to play, and the second one a minute later turned out to be the game-winner.

Burrows and McGee paced the Wolf attack with four points apiece, while Knoblich, Jordyn Rogers, and Camarena added a bucket each.

Jill Prince, Claire Mayne, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Abigail Ramirez, Melanie Navarro, Jesse Ross-McMahon and Cristina McGrath rounded out the roster, with Mayne doing especially well as a plucky point guard.

 

7th grade varsity:

Brionna Blouin came to play.

Making her middle school debut, the SWISH-seasoned hoops gunner rattled the rim for 14 points, including seven in a decisive fourth quarter, as Coupeville rallied for an 18-16 win.

Blouin carried the Wolf offense in the first half, raining down a three-ball en route to outscoring Langley 7-6 by herself.

A big blocked shot from Kayla Arnold in the late moments of the half kept the visitors on their heels, but Langley re-found its groove in the third quarter.

Three straight buckets to open the second half staked the Cougars to their biggest lead of the night at 12-7, but then Blouin’s teammates came up big time.

Reese Wilkinson, who was a force on the boards all game, knocked down a beautiful bank shot from the top of the key to start things.

Hot on her heels came Arnold, who pulled in a nice pass from Wilkinson, which split a pair of defenders, then lofted in a short jumper in the paint.

Langley, desperate for some good news, hit a pull-up jumper to stretch the lead back out to 14-11 heading into the fourth, but then it was Blouin time.

She pulled off the same move on back-to-back trips down court, faking her defender out of her shoes before spinning around the corner for a high, arching layup.

Then, with the Wolves back in the lead, Blouin rained down her second three-ball of the game, but this time she banked the ball off the glass while shooting from a seemingly impossible angle.

That crushed Langley’s spirit enough that, even after netting a late bucket to cut the lead to two, the Cougars failed to foul Blouin as the final seconds of the clock ticked away and she dribbled in place.

Along with the three Wolves who scored, Allison Nastali, Desi Ramirez, Ava Mitten, Jackie Contreras, Skylar Parker, and Erica McGrath rounded out the opening day roster for coach Megan Smith.

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Chelsea Prescott powers to the hoop for another bucket. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Morgan Stevens leads the charge up-court.

Hannah Davidson looks for a little help.

Flying past her defender, Anya Leavell heads in for a quick two.

Backed up by Audrianna Shaw, sophomore Ivy Leedy looks for an open teammate.

Fab frosh Kylie Van Velkinburgh hangs out with dad Dustin.

The power of the braid compels you. Lindsey Roberts easily out-leaps a rival player to win the opening tip.

Scout Smith makes it rain.

Call it spring cleaning or call it a photo dump.

Either way, I’m reaching into the pile of pics John Fisken shot this basketball season and shaking out ones I haven’t used.

A mix of varsity and JV action, they’ll remind you of a time when you could actually walk out your door and make it down to the CHS gym.

You know, back before we entered a new ice age and all life came to a screeching halt.

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