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Nezi Keiper (in white, with ball) and the CMS 8th grade hoops squad went 9-0 this season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The final performance? Impeccable.

Fighting through rampant illness, then enduring a bus trip to the wilds of Granite Falls Tuesday, the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams closed their seasons with a bang.

Two wins, one of which capped an undefeated season for a Wolf squad, and a narrow loss in the third game, was the order of the day.

How it played out:

 

8th grade varsity:

Granite came out swinging (literally), but was no match for the Wolves, who cruised home with a 44-26 win to seal the deal on a flawless 9-0 season.

As the game progressed, at least three Coupeville stars were left seeing … stars, as Alita Blouin took an elbow to the eye, Maddie Georges had her nose rearranged, and Gwen Gustafson was body-slammed to the floor.

That last melee drew a technical foul on the hosts, but all the bangs and bruises in the world were no match for the high-flying Wolves.

Blouin, living up to her nickname of “The Assassin,” rained down unholy pain on Granite, torching the joint for a season-high 15 points.

The slash-and-destroy guard scored in every quarter, tossing in five field goals, ruffling the nets for a pair of free-throws, then stabbing Granite through the heart with a three-ball.

Coupeville is far from a one-woman team, however, with its top four scorers finishing within nine points of each other this season.

Tuesday, while Blouin was slashing to the hoop and popping from outside, Coupeville’s dominant post players, Carolyn Lhamon and Nezi Keiper, were the perfect complement, throwing down 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Up 10-7 at the first break, with four players already in the scoring column, the Wolves steadily built the lead from there.

With coach Alex Evans pulling all the right strings, and every player on the floor attacking relentlessly, CMS surged to a 23-12 lead at the half, before shoving the margin out to 35-19 heading into the fourth.

Seven of the 10 players to see action scored, led by the trio in double figures.

Georges, Gustafson, Ryanne Knoblich, and Jill Prince rounded out the attack, with a bucket apiece, while Hayley Fielder, Jordyn Rogers, and Jessenia Camarena also saw floor time.

 

7th grade varsity:

The only loss of the day, but a nail-biter until the end.

“We were always just right there; just needed one more minute!,” said CMS coach Megan Smith. “But proud of the way the girls played.”

The 24-19 loss drops Coupeville’s final record to 2-8, but that’s a bit deceptive.

Smith’s top two scoring threats, Brionna Blouin and Lauren Marrs, only played together six times during the 10-game schedule, as illness had other plans for the Wolf duo.

Tuesday was one of those six games, and they proved how potent they can be when they get a chance to work together.

Marrs went off for a game-high 13, scoring in every quarter and netting a three-ball, while Blouin returned from sick leave to bank in six points in support.

The game was knotted 8-8 after the first quarter, with Marrs having already scored in every possible way, hitting a trey, a field goal, and a free-throw.

The offense slowed down a bit in the second quarter, with Granite holding a 6-2 advantage, and that would prove to be a killer for the Wolves.

The two teams battled almost evenly across the final 14 minutes of the season, but the Tigers stretched the lead ever so slightly with a 6-5 third frame, before the teams closed with a 4-4 stalemate in the final quarter.

Smith got quality floor time for every one in uniform, with Jackie Contreras, Reese Wilkinson, Allison Nastali, Erica McGrath, Kaitlyn Leavell, Desi Ramirez, Skylar Parker, and Kayla Arnold chipping in with defense and hustle.

 

8th grade JV:

Someone check what Jessenia Camarena had for breakfast, because she was unstoppable.

Pouring in a season-high nine points in just two quarters, the defensive dynamo transformed into an offensive whirlwind, pacing Coupeville to an 11-8 win.

The victory, which comes after the  JV had to sit out back-to-back games, thanks to other schools battling their own spring cold and flu season, lifts the Wolves final record to 3-5.

While she got a bit of help from Claire Mayne, who slipped through the Granite defense for a first-quarter bucket, this was Camarena’s game, from start to finish.

She tossed in two buckets to go with Mayne’s basket, as CMS built a 6-2 lead after one quarter of action.

Not content to stop there, Camarena knocked down another field goal, and a three-ball, to account for all of Coupeville’s scoring in the second, and final, frame.

Setting her up for the offensive explosion were her teammates, who harassed the Granite ball-handlers and hit the boards with intensity.

Karyme Castro, Abigail Ramirez, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Adrian Burrows, Prince, Rogers, McGrath, and Contreras rounded out the active roster.

 

Final scoring totals for the 2019 season:

 

8th varsity:

Carolyn Lhamon – 71
Alita Blouin – 65
Nezi Keiper – 63
Maddie Georges – 62
Gwen Gustafson – 25
Ryanne Knoblich – 16
Hayley Fiedler – 10
Jill Prince – 6
Trinity McGee – 2
Jordyn Rogers – 2

 

7th varsity:

Brionna Blouin – 74
Lauren Marrs – 62
Desi Ramirez – 17
Reese Wilkinson – 8
Erica McGrath – 6
Kayla Arnold – 2
Ava Mitten – 2
Allison Nastali – 2
Skylar Parker – 2

 

8th JV:

Jessenia Camarena – 17
Trinity McGee – 11
Claire Mayne – 10
Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson – 9
Adrian Burrows – 8
Cristina McGrath – 8
Ryanne Knoblich – 6
Karyme Castro – 4
Melanie Navarro – 4
Jill Prince – 3
Jordyn Rogers – 3

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Chris Cernick will have two less games to play, thanks to Granite Falls abandoning its season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

April just got a lot more open.

The Coupeville High School boys soccer team was originally set to play seven games that month, but now it’s down to five.

Granite Falls abandoned its season Thursday, citing a lack of numbers, which shrinks the North Sound Conference soccer title race from six teams to five.

For Coupeville, the games falling off the schedule are a home game Apr. 9 and a road game Apr. 25.

The Wolves, at least for the moment, are looking at a 13-game schedule, with eight league clashes.

CHS opens the season 12:30 PM this Saturday, Mar. 9 at home against non-conference foe Chimacum.

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Carolyn Lhamon knocked down 10 points Tuesday, helping the CMS 8th grade varsity rout Granite Falls. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Get out the brooms.

Pulling off a sweep for the first time this season, all three Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams swatted visiting Granite Falls Tuesday, sending Wolf coaches, players, and fans home wearing smiles.

“It was an awesome night for all the girls!,” said CMS 7th grade coach Megan Smith.

How the afternoon played out on the hardwood, while I was off working in the woods on my sister’s farm:

 

7th grade varsity:

Coupeville put Granite down hard, romping to a 19-2 lead before coasting in for a 23-12 win.

The victory snaps a three-game losing skid and lifts the squad to 2-3 at the halfway point of its season.

The Wolves took a chomp out of the Tiger defense from the start, with five different players scoring in the first half.

While the offense was clicking, the defense was in seek-and-destroy mode, as Coupeville held the visitors to a single field goal across the game’s first 14 minutes.

Granite garnered a bit of a comeback in the second half, using a 10-4 surge across the final two quarters, but it was too little, too late to catch the runaway Wolves.

Lauren Marrs paced CMS with a game-high nine points, while Brionna Blouin tossed in six, and Erica McGrath banked in four.

Skylar Parker and Reese Wilkinson rounded out the scoring with a bucket apiece.

It was the first middle school points for both McGrath and Parker.

Ava Mitten, Allison Nastali, Kayla Arnold, Kaitlyn Leavell, and Desi Ramirez rounded out the CMS roster.

 

8th grade JV:

The only saving grace for Granite was the game was limited to two quarters.

Coupeville came out on fire, jumping to an 8-0 lead at the first break, then picked up the offensive pace in the second quarter, roaring home with a 20-4 win.

The second-straight victory for the JV, it lifts the Wolves to 2-2 on the season.

CMS spread its offense out, with four different players knocking down a bucket in the opening frame, before Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson and Karyme Castro teamed up to singe the nets in the final quarter.

The duo combined for 10 points in the second period, with Kalwies-Anderson dropping in six, and Castro ruffling the nets for four.

Cristina McGrath added four points, notching a basket in each quarter, while Trinity McGee, Jessenia Camarena, and Melanie Navarro chipped in with a bucket apiece.

Claire Mayne, Abigail Ramirez, Adrian Burrows, and Jessica Ross-McMahon also saw floor time for the Wolves.

 

8th grade varsity:

Coupeville’s most-dangerous team remains perfect.

Thrashing Granite Falls to a 33-6 tune, the high-flying Wolves roll to 3-0 heading into a road trip Wednesday to Langley.

While both of the other Wolf teams held the Tigers scoreless in one quarter of their games, the 8th grade varsity went one better, tossing a pair of goose eggs onto the scoreboard.

The Wolves opened the game with a 9-0 run through the first quarter, then pulled off a 6-0 bagel job in the third frame.

The quarters when Granite did manage to score didn’t go much better for the Tigers, as they were battered by the quick, aggressive girls repping Coupeville uniforms.

Carolyn Lhamon and Nezi Keiper dominated down in the paint, racking up 10 and eight points, respectively, while Alita Blouin stung the defenders for five of her own.

Getting their first varsity points of the season, Jill Prince (4) and Trinity McGee (2) were joined by Gwen Gustafson (2) and Maddie Georges (2) in the scoring column.

Hayley Fielder, Ryanne Knoblich, Jordyn Rogers, and Jessenia Camarena rounded out the rotation, playing inspired defense and helping set up their teammate’s buckets.

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Sean Toomey-Stout, seen in an earlier game, scored a game-high 14 Saturday, but Coupeville fell short of qualifying for the playoffs. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They went down, but not without a fight.

The season ended abruptly Saturday for the Coupeville High School boys basketball team, but a squad which can return 11 of 12 varsity players, including its top nine scorers, seems to be on the cusp of something big.

The Wolves wanted to make the playoffs, but it wasn’t to be, after back-to-back losses to Granite Falls, coming in two different towns over a 20-hour period, eliminated CHS a win shy of the postseason.

After falling on the road Friday in the regular season finale, Coupeville returned home Saturday, only to come up short again versus the Tigers, losing 52-38.

The loss, coming in a tiebreaker game to decide the fifth, and final, playoff berth from the North Sound Conference, leaves the Wolves final record at 2-16.

Which is a bit deceptive.

After graduating every starter, Coupeville had six players make their varsity debut this year, with freshman Hawthorne Wolfe emerging as the team’s leading scorer.

While the Wolves racked up a string of losses, they were competitive virtually every time on the floor, and were a team which often played hardest when trailing.

CHS coach Brad Sherman preached not giving in, not giving up, continuing to fight regardless of the odds, and his players listened.

And that showed Saturday, as a rough opening could have sucked the life out of the Wolves. Instead, they delivered maybe their most-stirring comeback of the season.

Perhaps Coupeville’s players were a bit road-weary after getting home in the early hours of Saturday morning, then returning to the gym to coach youth basketball teams, all before pulling on their own uniforms again for a 5 PM start.

Or, maybe there was a breeze in the CHS gym, blowing the ball off its intended path.

Whatever the answer, Coupeville couldn’t buy a bucket for much of the first half Saturday, falling behind 9-0. Eventually, the deficit billowed all the way out to 23-4 with under a minute to go until halftime.

A Jered Brown jumper in the first quarter and a Sean Toomey-Stout rumble to the hoop for a second-quarter bucket were all the Wolves could get to drop, and things looked bleak.

CHS finally found a spark, though, right at the end of the second quarter, with Mason Grove burying a three-ball from the right side, followed by Toomey-Stout snatching a deflected rebound and scooting up the floor for a quick pull-up shot right before the buzzer.

The 5-0 mini-surge, and whatever Vince Lombardi-style speech Sherman delivered in the locker room, seemed to do the trick, as the Wolves looked like a vastly different team in the second half.

Coupeville busted out a 15-5 tear across the eight-minute third quarter, cutting the lead all the way back to 28-24, and Granite seemed genuinely shaken.

Multiple Tiger players spent more time complaining to the refs than playing defense and the Wolves took advantage, reeling off one bucket after another.

CHS big man Ulrik Wells opened the run with a soft lil’ jumper under pressure, Toomey-Stout closed the surge by drilling the bottom out of the net with another pull-up, and, in between, Wolfe and Jered Brown both nailed crowd-pleading three-balls from great distance.

And the Wolves didn’t stop there, as Toomey-Stout, who spent the game out-leaping, out-sprinting and out-muscling everyone in sight, took the ball coast to coast for a layup to open the fourth quarter.

A student section which had grown in size as the game developed was on its feet, the collar on the Granite coach’s shirt was getting way too tight, and all the momentum had shifted.

But then things went South.

Kellen Webb, who had been little more than a role player in the first two games the teams played, suddenly decided to become Kobe Bryant reincarnated.

Going off for all 12 of his team-high points in the fourth, the Granite sophomore scorched Coupeville for a three-ball to push the lead back to five, then capped an ensuing 11-0 Tiger run with a second trey.

After fighting so hard to get back from 19 down, Coupeville found a two-point deficit shoved back out to 13 in the seeming blink of an eye, and it was staggering.

But not a total killer.

The Wolves, refusing to believe their season was ending, actually mounted a second rally, cutting the lead back to 42-36 when Toomey-Stout rippled the net on a three-ball from the top of the arc.

That capped a 10-3 run in which post player Jacobi Pilgrim dropped a pair of free throws, then yanked down a rebound and shot up the right side for his own coast-to-coast bucket, eliciting squeals from his coaches.

Toomey-Stout, who has a heart the size of a large galaxy, and played like it Saturday, opened the second rally with a three-point play the hard way.

Not content to just pull down an offensive rebound, he did so with great style, fighting off three Tigers, then spinning like a ballet god in the paint, before flipping the ball up and off the glass while being slapped hard around the face.

If there was justice, the Wolves would have been rewarded for making not one, but two, epic rallies while facing gut-churning suspense.

But, sometimes, basketball can be a cruel sport.

Coupeville’s shot-making artistry vanished in the game’s final two minutes, and, while the Wolves had solid looks at the basket, the rim was a fickle, unforgiving mistress.

Shot after shot rolled out, popped back up or flat-out refused to go down.

Granite, mainly operating at the free-throw line in the waning moments, closed its win and celebrated a chance to go get stomped by league champ King’s in their district playoff opener.

While he wanted a win, while he needed a win, Sherman, the former CHS star who has reshaped the hoops program in his two years on the job, walked away with his eyes set firmly on the positives.

“We are really, really proud of these guys, of how they showed heart tonight and all season, how they always fought back,” he said.

“We will miss (lone senior) Dane (Lucero) and his leadership and everything he gave us,” Sherman added. “But the other guys left here with their heads high, ready to put in work in the off-season and come back stronger next year. We have a lot to look forward to.”

Toomey-Stout, one of eight juniors on the 12-man CHS roster, closed his first varsity season with a game-high 14 points, while Brown knocked down seven.

Wells (5), Pilgrim (4), Wolfe (3), Grove (3), and Gavin Knoblich (2) rounded out the offensive attack.

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Scoring 10 points Friday, Lindsey Roberts rose from #23 to #20 on the CHS girls basketball career scoring list. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

This is how you want to head into the playoffs.

Shaking off a long wait to get on the court Friday at Granite Falls, the Coupeville High School varsity girls hoop squad responded with “great energy,” claiming a 38-29 win.

The victory gives the Wolves a season sweep of the Tigers while lifting them to 6-4 in North Sound Conference play, 8-9 overall.

Coupeville, which was picked to finish fourth in the preseason coaches poll, instead heads to districts as the #3 seed from the six-team NSC.

The Wolves open the double-elimination tourney Feb. 4 against the #2 team from the Northwest Conference, Lynden Christian (17-3).

Win or lose, they’ll be back on the court, and on the road, Feb. 6 to play either King’s (16-4) or Sultan (7-13).

While its playoff path was already set before it played Friday, Coupeville wanted to end the regular season on a positive note.

Mission accomplished.

“Long wait for game time. Sat through both JV games and an interrupted pregame due to senior festivities,” Wolf coach David King said.

“We knew the building would be energized for their six seniors and their last home game,” he added. “We matched that energy and then some.”

CHS blew out to an 8-0 lead to open things, hushing the fans and giving the Tigers a taste of what was to come.

Granite wasn’t ready to crack, however, netting a three-ball to finally get on the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter, before banking home a quick bucket to open the second frame.

That was the cue for Wolf senior Ema Smith to go to work, as she rained down 10 of her game-high 12 in the second quarter.

One, two, three, she shredded Granite’s defense for a trio of three-balls, then capped things with a free throw, sending Coupeville to the break up 21-14.

The two teams exchanged body blows in a very close second half, but the Wolves reached deep and always found an answer when they needed one.

Defensive dynamo Tia Wurzrainer got wild on the other end of the floor, popping home a pair of key buckets, while Lindsey Roberts swished a big-time three-ball in the fourth after the Tigers had sliced away at Coupeville’s lead.

The Wolves played with solid energy on defense, typified by Hannah Davidson, who “came up big with four steals,” including one on which she stole the ball at the free throw line, then led the fast break.

“Posts, they always want to play the point guard position,” King said with a big smile.

Coupeville flustered their foes with quick hands (Ema Smith and Chelsea Prescott chipped in with five and four steals, respectively) and hit the boards with intensity.

Ema Smith and Roberts paced the Wolves on the glass, ripping down eight rebounds apiece.

The senior captains also led the team in scoring, with 12 and 10, while Wurzrainer, Scout Smith, and Prescott each had four and Avalon Renninger and Davidson added a bucket apiece.

With a pair of baskets in the first quarter, Roberts passed Cassidi Rosenkrance (423), Mika Hosek (424), and Sarah Powell (425) on the CHS girls career scoring list.

Sitting with 432 points, the four-year varsity player enters her final playoff run as the #20 scorer all-time, coming up fast on #19 Maureen Wetmore (438) and #18 Vanessa Davis (448).

With seven of his eight regular varsity players scoring Friday, and point guard Scout Smith “doing a great job with her passing,” King got the boost he was hoping for as his team preps for the postseason.

“This was a good bounce-back game for us after a tough schedule in our last two games,” he said. “Very proud of the team in the regular season and especially in league play.

“We wanted to get that sixth win vs. playing .500 ball in league.”

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