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Posts Tagged ‘girls basketball’

CHS freshman Ryanne Knoblich, a one-woman wrecking crew. (Photos courtesy Suzan Georges)

Gwen Gustafson beats the defense and leads the charge.

New Wolf head coach Scott Fox dispenses wisdom.

Coupeville players and coaches enjoy being up at 6 AM on a summer day.

Jill Prince gets set down low.

Hannah Davidson (in headband) entertains the troops.

Trinity McGee (far left) and teammates wait for their turn to play.

Word (or photos) has arrived from the far-flung outpost.

Battling through low-rent WiFi, Coupeville High School girls basketball support staff have breached the internet desert, sending out pics from Soap Lake.

The Wolves are stationed in Grant County this week for a summer basketball camp, the first under new CHS coaches Scott Fox and Megan Smith.

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Gwen Gustafson is bringing her athletic skills to Coupeville High School in the fall, following in the footsteps of successful older siblings. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Gwen Gustafson has the pedigree.

Both of her older siblings, Amanda Fabrizi and Clay Reilly, had standout careers at Coupeville High School, and both now sit in the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

But just wait, because the lil’ sis has game too, and is already a well-established three-sport star in her own right as high school beckons.

Gustafson, who will be a freshman at CHS this fall, has been playing almost since she could walk, and has been a key part of successful teams in volleyball, basketball, and softball.

Her last two teams went a combined 22-1, in fact.

First, Gustafson was a starter on a Coupeville Middle School 8th grade hoops squad which polished off everyone on its schedule, rolling to a flawless 9-0 record.

Then she capped that by pulling double duty as a flame-throwing pitcher and a hit-happy batter for a Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball team which outscored foes 245-101 while romping to a 13-1 mark.

While Gustafson plans to stay with all three of her sports in high school, the siren call of the hardwood is a powerful one.

“I like the competitiveness, and the teamwork,” she said. “I can compete with my teammates, stay healthy, and have fun.”

Away from the court, Gustafson enjoys gym and math class, listening to rap and pop music and spending time with friends and family.

But when she’s practicing, or playing in a game, regardless of the sport, she does so with deep commitment.

“I have confidence, trust in my teammates, I don’t give up, and I can pick skills up quickly,” Gustafson said. “(My goals are) to work hard and improve my team.”

While her older siblings have shown her the path to success, Gwen also looks to her parents, Lark and Fawn Gustafson, for support and encouragement as an athlete, student, and human being.

“My dad has inspired me and really helped me grow as a person and as an athlete,” she said. “He has been my coach and a loving father for my whole life.

“My mom has also supported me,” Gustafson added. “Helping me be aware of my health and well-being, and she has inspired me to be a better person.”

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Alita “The Assassin” Blouin heads to Coupeville High School this fall, ready to turn hard work into success. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They call her “The Assassin” for a reason.

Off the court, Alita Blouin is a strong, smart, highly-motivated young woman.

On the court, she’s all those things — and also a stone-cold killer.

Of all the athletes headed to Coupeville High School this fall, Blouin is the one I most feel confident in hailing as a star.

She has talent, which she has shown on the volleyball and basketball court, and will soon bring to the tennis court, but it’s more than that.

During her middle school days, Blouin showed a fieriness, an unwillingness to back down, which is too often missing in Coupeville athletes.

That was key to success in volleyball, where she was a leader, and in basketball, where she sliced ‘n diced rivals both as a passer and shooter for a Wolf 8th grade team which went undefeated.

You can read more of my thoughts on the rare qualities Blouin brings to Wolf sports by popping over and reading an article from last year:

https://coupevillesports.com/2018/12/30/heart-of-a-wolf-heart-of-a-champion/

Now, no one can truly know if middle school success will translate to high school stardom.

Sometimes everything clicks, other times life intrudes.

Most of all, it’s not fair to put too much pressure on a young woman yet to attend her first class as a CHS freshman.

But Blouin, with a solid support crew headed up by parents Shawn and June, and younger brother Ryan, seems built for success.

And it all starts with her positive attitude.

“My strengths as an athlete are taking criticism and applying it to how I play,” Blouin said. “I also always look for a way to give one of my teammates a good opportunity to succeed and work together in the process.”

She’s very close to many of those teammates, which helps her both be a leader and work together for the greater good of the team.

“Being an athlete helps me make a stronger bond with my teammates/friends,” Blouin said. “It helps me bring out my competitive nature.

“And playing sports is just overall really fun.”

Meshing well with the other young women on the court is one of Blouin’s primary goals, and it extends not only to those her own age, but to the upperclassmen she will soon join.

“My goal as a high-school athlete is to create stronger bonds with my older teammates, so that we can all have chemistry while we play,” she said.

“And also, so I can learn from them, since they have more experience than I do.”

While she’s already achieved some athletic success, Blouin isn’t content to rest on her laurels.

Instead, she has a clear vision of the future, and what she and her teammates can accomplish over the next four years, if they continue to grow, both as individuals, and in a team framework.

“I would like to work on my self-confidence,” Blouin said. “Many times I miss out on an opportunity simply because I don’t believe in my own abilities.

“Also, I would like to win, and maybe make it to state for at least one of my sports.”

While she enjoys basketball, and is looking forward to trying out tennis, the first high school sport she will play claims the biggest part of her heart.

“My favorite sport is volleyball, because when you are playing, you get rushes of adrenaline during rallies and this rush of energy makes the game so exciting,” Blouin said.

“Especially when the point is won and everyone is cheering, it just makes me really happy.”

When she’s not competing or practicing, Blouin also excels in the classroom, enjoying art, math, and computer design.

She helped create the CMS yearbook as an 8th grader, spends time painting and drawing at home, and will bravely tackle both geometry and algebra at the same time during her freshman year.

As she makes the jump to high school, Blouin knows she isn’t alone.

Her family and friends, many of whom play sports alongside her, will always be there to provide support at crucial moments.

“My teammates have had one of the biggest impacts on the person I am today,” she said. “Mostly (fellow basketball starters) Maddie (Georges), Gwen (Gustafson), Carolyn (Lhamon), and Nezi (Keiper).

“We all push each other and help each other improve as athletes,” Blouin added. “We are all very competitive with each other and that is why we are competitive when we play in games.”

Before and after she steps on the floor, she gets a different kind of support from her family, with extended members, from grandparents to cousins, often filling a chunk of the stands at her games.

“My parents also have always believed in me since day one,” Blouin said. “They always tell me what I do well and what I can improve on next time.

“Without them I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be an athlete.”

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Nezi Keiper (middle) gets mugged in broad daylight, but refuses to surrender the basketball. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Keiper is one of the most promising athletes headed to Coupeville High School this fall.

Nezi Keiper is going to be a star.

Let’s just start there, with a little editorial comment.

There’s a strong group of athletes headed to Coupeville High School this fall, especially on the girls side of things, and Keiper, if she wants it, could be the kind of athlete people talk about long after her prep playing days are done.

She’s a standout on the soccer pitch, and a far better basketball player than she might think, one who showed tremendous growth from 7th to 8th grade.

Her time on the gridiron — she more than held her own while playing for the CMS football team — prepared her for the sometimes-vicious battle awaiting her down in the paint, and she showed a nice scoring touch for an 8th grade hoops team which went undefeated.

As Keiper prepares for her freshman year, she’s dead-set on following her love of soccer as far as it will carry her.

“I’ve been playing soccer since third grade,” Keiper said. “Soccer is my favorite sport because it was the very first sport I played.

“My mom got me into it at a young age and I continued to love it,” she added. “I only want to get better at soccer and I think I have a pretty good chance at being a starter on varsity this season if I give it my all.”

Keiper plays shut-down defense, and is a player not afraid to stand up to any foolhardy rivals who dare to crash into her side of the field.

“I’ve heard that I am a good defender and I will risk any body part to stop the ball from going into the goal, except my hands … that’s illegal,” she said.

“Soccer is also something I turn to when I’m not feeling myself, to remind me of who I am and what I am meant to do, be a good athlete and follow my dreams.”

Those dreams include playing on the soccer pitch beyond her high school days.

“My main goal is to make varsity for soccer and be a starter,” Keiper said. “I want to play soccer all four years and hopefully get into a college with a scholarship for soccer.”

As she progresses in her own sports career, she also continues to give back, helping keep the circle of life going for Coupeville sports.

“Being an athlete has its perks if you’re good,” Keiper said. “I’ve heard many people tell me they look up to me when it comes to soccer and I enjoy being able to help younger kids who want to learn how to play.”

While she’s firmly entrenched in the soccer world, she’s wavering a bit on basketball, intending to play her freshman year and then see how it goes.

When I hear Keiper say, “being an athlete includes getting respect from others and from older people if they think you are good,” I agree.

So, here’s another quick editorial comment.

As one of those older people, and one who has seen all your middle school basketball games, and a lot of other games before you hit CMS, let me say one more time — you are a far better basketball player than you may think.

I hope you don’t give up hoops, because with your combination of inside power, ferocious rebounding skills, and a surprisingly light scoring touch, you, Nezi Keiper, can be a star in two sports.

End of editorial comment, cause every young woman (or man) needs to choose their own path, what will make them personally happy, so, whatever route Keiper takes, good on her.

The bright, outgoing soon-to-be-a-high-schooler has a great mind-set (“I have a good attitude when it comes to what I love; win or lose I still have fun”) and is a star in the classroom, as well.

Language arts is her favorite class, she has her heart set on getting into AP English, and writing stirs her soul.

“Writing is something I really enjoy doing,” Keiper said. “I like to write essays about historical events or even just a story about something stupid.

“I do it a lot in my free time and I’m proud of my language arts grade; being able to write essays good is a big part of it.”

On or off the field and court, Keiper knows there is one person she can always look to for guidance and support.

“My mom has definitely helped me become the person I am,” Keiper said. “She has a strong personality and doesn’t give a crap about anything people say or think about her and I respect that and I want to be able to be like that one day.

“I look up to her when it comes to sports because she was a star athlete when she was my age,” she added. “She inspires me and I will need her to get through high school.”

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Former CHS hoops star Megan Smith has been selected as the school’s new JV girls basketball coach.

Megan Smith has come all the way back around.

The former Coupeville High School basketball star is returning to the gym of her youth, but this time as a coach.

After two years working with middle school players, Smith has been tabbed as the high school’s new JV girls basketball coach, and will join Scott Fox, who debuts as varsity coach next season.

The duo replace David and Amy King, who retired this winter, and both hires are not official until approved by the school board.

Smith, a 2010 Coupeville grad, was a 12-time letter winner (volleyball, basketball, and softball) and three-time CHS Female Athlete of the Year.

She sits as the #4 scorer in Wolf girls basketball history, having tossed in 1,042 points across her four seasons on the court.

After graduation, Smith played basketball for Peninsula College, where she was joined by former Coupeville teammate Ashley Manker.

When she’s not coaching basketball, Smith is a teacher at the Skagit/Islands Head Start in Mount Vernon.

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