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Nick Guay sizes up a free throw Thursday during the CMS boys hoops season finale. (Morgan White photos)

Andrew Williams gets ready to rocket a pass cross-court.

Noted ball-hawk Cole White lunges for the steal.

You always want to end the season on a positive.

Regardless of your final record, if you can exit on a high note – be it a big win, a highly-competitive loss or just overall improved play, it has a strong chance to carry over to future seasons.

So consider Thursday night a roaring success for the three Coupeville Middle School boys hoops teams, which all closed with a bang against visiting Granite Falls.

How it played out:

 

7th grade varsity:

The most successful Wolf team provided the biggest finale moment, using a 19-7 run in the fourth quarter to smash open a nail-biter and run away with a 43-28 win.

The victory, the second-straight for Coupeville’s young guns, lifts their final record to 4-6.

The game was a tightly-played, and low-scoring, affair through the first two quarters, with the visitors clinging to a 10-9 lead at the half.

Things took a change after the break, however, as the Wolves started to knock down shots from behind the arc, picked up the pace, and threw the Tigers back on their heels.

A 15-11 surge in the third quarter, fueled by a pair of three-balls from Ryan Blouin, plus treys off the fingertips of Cole White and Nick Guay, changed the entire flow of the game.

Once it had the lead, CMS didn’t let up, pouring on the offense in a torrid fourth quarter.

The Wolves got all their points in the final frame from three players – Logan Downes, who banked in eight, Guay, who popped for seven, and Blouin, who kicked in four.

The buckets were set up by Coupeville’s stingy defense, with White making off with three straight steals and Zane Oldenstadt dominating his rival big men in the paint.

“Boys played well tonight!,” said Wolf coach Greg White. “It was a tight game until the fourth.

Zane played great defense on their giant post – it was a true team effort tonight,” he added. “It was a fun one to end on!”

Downes paced the Wolves with 14 points, while Blouin and Guay had season-highs, swishing home 13 and 10, respectively.

White and William Davidson added three apiece, while Oldenstadt and Mikey Robinett were rock-solid on defense.

 

7th grade JV:

Coupeville’s least-experienced squad didn’t get the game win, but they did score several moral victories.

First, after falling behind 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Wolves rallied to win a 4-3 battle in the second, and final, frame.

Also, Alex Clark netted his first bucket of the season, a big moment for both the player, and his coach.

Alex had a huge smile!,” Greg White said. “Justin (Wilkinson) and Andrew (Williams) also played really tough defense.

“Even though our scoring was limited, I thought it was a much better showing for our JV squad.”

Robinett tossed in Coupeville’s other basket, while Quinten Pilgrim, Timothy Nitta and Chris Villarreal all saw floor time.

 

8th grade varsity:

Playing their final middle school game, the Wolves came dangerously close to nabbing a season-closing win.

But, in the end, Granite Falls escaped with a 24-23 triumph, leaving Coupeville to finish 1-9 on the season.

The Wolves had one of their strongest performances of the season at the free-throw line, with four players combining to net eight shots at the charity stripe.

Alex Wasik, who showed tremendous growth as a player from game one to game 10, led the Wolves with seven points, notching at least a point in every quarter.

Ty Hamilton was hot on his heels, pouring in six, while Alex Murdy flicked in five, Dominic Coffman and Mitchell Hall swished two apiece and Josh Upchurch sank a free throw.

Rounding out the roster were Kevin Partida, Levi Pulliam and Jesse Wooten.

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Coupeville 7th grader Logan Downes outscored Granite Falls by himself Thursday afternoon. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Logan Downes was so hot Thursday, he didn’t just singe the nets, he burned down an entire town.

Outscoring host Granite Falls by himself, the youngest of three brothers staked his claim to family athletic superiority and sparked the Coupeville Middle School 7th grade varsity boys basketball squad to a huge road win.

The victory was a bright spot for the Wolves, who lost two of three on the day.

 

7th grade varsity:

Pouring in points in every quarter, Downes rained down 19 in a 27-16 Wolf victory.

The win evens Coupeville’s record at 2-2 headed into an 11-day break.

None of the CMS hoops teams play again until Nov. 27, when they host Lakewood.

Wanting to go out on a high note, and possibly send a message to older brothers Hunter and Sage, Logan Downes went straight to scorch city.

He popped in four points apiece in each of the first two quarters, then scored all of Coupeville’s seven points in the third quarter.

Four free throws in the final frame capped Downes season-best performance, while lifting his season scoring average to 14.3 a night.

Cole White knocked down a three-ball en route to a four-point performance in support of Downes, while William Davidson and Quinten Pilgrim each banked home a bucket.

Ryan Blouin, Nick Guay and Mikey Robinett rounded out the roster for the Wolves, who outscored Granite in every quarter.

Up by just one at the first break, then four at the half, CMS put the game away with a 14-7 second-half surge.

The Wolves held Granite to just two field goals over the final three quarters of play.

 

8th grade varsity:

Playing without their leading scorer, the older Wolves fell 31-14.

The loss drops the 8th graders to 1-3 on the season.

CMS played without high-scoring Alex Murdy, but got a season-best performance from Mitchell Hall.

He went off for eight points and 10 rebounds, both career-highs, and drew praise from coach Dante Mitchell.

“He was killing it on the boards and on offense. He has a lot of heart!”

Ty Hamilton rattled the rims for six points to round out Coupeville’s offensive output.

 

7th grade JV:

The young guns came up empty in their first road game, falling 23-0 to the Tigers.

The loss drops the JV to 0-1-1 on the season.

Coupeville went just five deep in the two-quarter contest, with Justin Wilkinson, Andrew Williams, Alex Clark, Chris Villarreal and Timothy Nitta pulling iron man duty.

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Shane Losey, one of 10 Coupeville football seniors, played strongly at QB Thursday in a season-closing loss. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Very few football players get to end their season, or career, with a win.

For the rest, it comes down to being able to hold your head high as you walk off the field, knowing you fought until the final play, the final seconds ticking off the scoreboard.

Coupeville High School’s gridiron squad didn’t get the Hollywood ending Thursday, falling 35-0 to visiting Granite Falls.

But the Wolves, and their 10 seniors — six in uniform, four out with injuries — have nothing to hang their heads about.

They finished 3-6 overall, 0-5 in a very-competitive North Sound Conference, but the record doesn’t tell the entire tale.

Coupeville started with a thin roster, was depleted by injuries, and was playing for its third head coach in four years.

Yet the Wolves beat arch-nemesis Port Townsend, thumped Vashon Island and La Conner, and came within a play or two of upending King’s.

The new coaching staff, led by Marcus Carr, made inroads and seems in it for the long haul, potentially providing the stability the CHS gridiron program has lacked in recent years.

“This is a good group of guys; I’ll miss the seniors, but we’ll continue to build on what we have,” Carr said. “It hurts when you have a good group and they don’t get to have the success you hope for, but we showed outstanding fight a lot of times this season.

“We got off to a little bit of a late start this year, but we’ll be ready to go right away next season, from spring ball all the way,” he added. “I’m already looking forward to next season.”

Coupeville’s main offensive weapon, Sean Toomey-Stout, who scored 10 of his team’s 17 touchdowns, is just a junior, the same as starting QB Dawson Houston, and two-way terrors like Andrew Martin and Gavin Knoblich.

Toss in lineman Gavin St Onge, urban legend Gavin Straub, and Derek Leyva, who started as a kicker with a booming leg, then morphed into a dangerous receiver and rusher, and next year’s seniors will form a solid core.

Facing off with Granite Falls, which clinched the fourth and final NSC playoff berth with the win, the young guns and their senior teammates hung tough even while missing multiple two-way starters.

Coupeville stuffed the Tigers on their opening possession, using big defensive plays from seniors Ryan Labrador and Shane Losey, to bend but not break on a 14-play drive.

A string of penalties on that drive, called on both teams, set the tone for a game in which the refs took great delight in tossing little yellow flags with wild abandon.

While the Wolf defense was firing hot, the CHS offense came out a bit cold, however, failing to get a first down until early in the second quarter.

Coupeville got stung when an interception on its own nine-yard line set up Granite’s first score, a pass over the middle from freshman QB Ryan Gese to Mason McBride with two minutes left in the opening quarter.

The Tigers added a four-yard TD dash and another aerial scoring hookup, this one covering 17 yards, to stretch the lead out to 21-0 at the half, while CHS had trouble responding.

Leyva finally cracked the first-down barrier for Coupeville, plunging over the left side on a second-and-one to move the chains, but the Wolves lost Houston, who went to the sideline with a possible concussion.

Without their starting signal caller working under center, Coupeville swapped out Losey, and he hooked up with Toomey-Stout on the most thrilling play of the night.

Facing third-and-eight and pinned at their own 20, the Wolves went to the air, with Losey zipping a pass over a defender’s head.

That allowed “The Torpedo” to stretch out, yank the rapidly falling ball out of the air, then tumble end over end, eventually coming to a rest with a pretty, pretty 32-yard gain.

Racing the halftime clock, Coupeville put together its best drive of the game, using Toomey-Stout’s snag and two Granite penalties to get all the way to the Tiger 15-yard line.

But it wasn’t to be, as the potential TD pass to the right side narrowly fell short on the final play of the half.

The Wolves moved the ball well in the second half, getting bull runs from Martin, quick scampers by Leyva, smooth scrambles from Losey and Toomey-Stout doing his usual “it’ll take five guys to bring me down” act every time he had the ball.

Proving to be a multi-faceted weapon, “The Torpedo” also took a direct snap, then slid a left-handed pass through a thicket of trees, hitting Dane Lucero for an 18-yard pickup.

Through it all, the Wolf line, powered by vets like Labrador, Matt Stevens and Alex Turner, cleared space for the skills players.

But getting in the end zone proved elusive for CHS, with a pick ending one drive, and failures to convert on fourth-down ending everything else.

Even with Granite tacking on a pair of third-quarter touchdowns, the Wolves refused to take a knee.

Cam Dahl blew up a Tiger runner on one play, while Toomey-Stout and Martin went for 10+ yards on their final carries of the season, which came on back-to-back plays.

Afterwards, as Granite exited, Carr and his coaches brought their players together in the middle of the field.

What they said is their own thing, but it was obvious the Wolf coaches were still doing what their title implies – coaching – and you can’t ask for anything more.

Some of the departing Wolves will never play a competitive football game again. One or two seniors have expressed interest in making a bid to play college ball.

The underclassmen face a moment when they can, and should, embrace the opportunity in front of them.

Commit to work as hard as Toomey-Stout, their low-key but passionate leader, in and out of the weight room, and future seasons could have a different finish.

The end comes for all football players, yes, but how that end comes, and how you handle it, rests with each guy who pulls on a uniform.

By the end Thursday, the numbers were small, but the hearts were large.

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Alita Blouin (middle) and Maddie Georges led the Coupeville Middle School 8th grade varsity volleyball squad to a season-ending win Thursday. (Suzan Georges photos)

One last afternoon on the court (until next season).

Hayley Fiedler (left) and Gwen Gustafson, part of the bright future of Wolf female athletics. (Irene Gustafson photo)

Coupeville Middle School volleyball has left the building.

After waging war with visiting Granite Falls for four-plus hours Thursday, it’s time for the CMS spikers to call it a wrap.

The Wolves closed their season in style, getting big plays, considerable fan support and a three-set thriller of a win from the 8th grade varsity squad.

The action as it played out in front of fans camped on the hardest bleachers known to humanity:

 

8th grade varsity:

The first time these teams met, it was in a Granite Falls gym where the temperature cracked 80 degrees.

A lot less sluggish this time around, the Wolves dominated early and late, capturing a 25-12, 19-25, 25-23 win.

In the opening 10 minutes, the match looked as one-sided as is humanly possible.

Coupeville, behind scorching serves from Allie Lucero and Lucy Tenore, tore out to a huge lead.

After Gwen Gustafson dropped a winner during a rally set off by a sizzlin’ Taygin Jump serve, the Wolves were up 17-5 and Granite looked like a team counting down the minutes until its season ended.

The Tigers eventually woke up, and rallied a bit, but all that did was light a fire under Alita Blouin.

“The Assassin,” who is going to be a very special athlete — actually she already is — is the rare Coupeville athlete who approaches every play with the intensity of a bone-cracking hit man (or hit woman).

Off the court, Blouin has smiles for everyone, but on the floor, she seems to want to watch people (metaphorically) bleed out … and it’s beautiful to watch.

Coming hot on the heels of a sweet tip winner from running mate Maddie “Mad Dog” Georges (also a pretty solid hit woman in her own right), Blouin unleashed a service ace that redefined the word nasty.

The serve abused the Granite receiver, leaving scorch marks along both arms and forever scarring her psyche.

Just to drive the point home, Blouin’s next serve skipped off a Tiger’s arm, knocked her glasses askew, then bounded away as the Wolf ace stared down Granite’s team, not a flicker of emotion on her steely game face.

When she wasn’t serving hot death, “The Assassin” was skidding across the floor, filling up the highlight reel.

On one play, Blouin slid five feet on her knees to save a ball, then promptly popped up, hustling back into place to deliver a winner on the third CMS hit on the rally.

Granite was much more effective in the second set, but the Wolves made things difficult for them.

Vivian Farris delivered a nice run on serve, Gustafson got a return to crawl up and over the net, hanging at the top for an eternity before splashing down for a point, and Georges laid out on the floor, punching a winner while sprawled.

With high school players and coaches in attendance during a break from practice next door, Tenore cracked back-to-back slicing winners, Trinity McGee rampaged from one side of the court to the other chasing down runaway balls, and the Wolves pulled off an unexpected bang-bang play.

On that one, Hayley Fiedler smashed her return of a Granite serve, but flipped her body just a hair and sent the ball right into Blouin’s face.

Reacting without thinking, Blouin jabbed her hand and somehow caught the ball a millisecond before it connected with her noggin, spinning the ball back towards Fiedler.

As both teams watched, jaws on the floor, Fiedler completed the stunning play, sending Blouin’s accidental pass back over the net, where it dropped to the floor for the most unexpected of winners.

Even with that stunner to their credit, the Wolves couldn’t ice the match in the second set, but they were more than up to the task in the final frame.

The battlin’ Lucero twins, Maya and Allie, led the charge down the stretch, mixing up booming serves with a graceful tip winner or two, while Ryanne Knoblich crushed a spike which caught the net, flipped straight upwards, then dropped in for a point.

 

8th grade JV:

Despite strong play from Jordyn RogersCypress Socha, Jill Prince, Katie Buskala and Melanie Navarro, the Wolves fell 25-11, 25-16.

After a run of back-and-forth play in the early going, with Buskala ripping off three straight aces for CMS, Granite began to steadily pull away.

The first set had four ties, and Coupeville was up by a point twice, but once the Tigers grabbed the lead at 9-8, they never gave it back.

The second set looked like another runaway, as Granite bolted out to a 6-1 lead, but the Wolves had a few tricks up their sleeve.

After forcing a side-out, Coupeville gave the ball to Navarro and she kick-started things in the opposite direction with a run of three straight points on her serve.

One rotation later, it was Prince’s turn to fire up the ace machine at the service line, then Socha slammed a winner off of a Granite player’s toe and suddenly the Wolves had turned a five-point deficit into a 12-10 lead.

The visitors had their own high-powered servers, however, and used three long runs at the line to close the set on a match-deciding 15-4 run.

 

7th grade JV:

After being bounced 25-16 in the opening set, Coupeville came within a point of taking the second frame and earning a split  in the match.

Unfortunately for the Wolves, the Tigers had a mighty mite armed with a very-effective, and surprisingly-powerful, underhanded serve, and she ran off the final five points as Granite rebounded to edge CMS 26-24.

Coupeville got strong play from Sofia Peters, who snapped off an ace that dropped suddenly and skidded away, before returning to notch a point on a play where she punched the ball between defenders while on a full run.

Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson and Lauren Marrs keyed Coupeville’s run in the second set, both ripping off five straight points on their serve – the maximum allowed in middle school volleyball — as the Wolves built a 15-7 lead.

Marrs put some extra mustard on her winners, bashing an ace which skipped off of a Granite player’s forehead, then operating as a one-woman wrecking crew.

After sending a low, slicing serve into play on her third attempt, Marrs eventually closed out the point by going airborne and crunching a spike which launched from her own back-court and splashed down behind the defense just inches away from the line.

The next five CMS servers failed to garner a single point on their serve, however.

That blunted Coupeville’s surge, despite a great hustle play on which Brenna Silveira ran down a ball and popped it skyward, giving Kalwies-Anderson a prime opportunity to smash the put-away.

It wasn’t until Marrs once again rotated back behind the service line that the Wolves reclaimed their mojo, as she deposited yet another ace in a spot where Granite had no hope of returning the ball.

But, up 24-20, Coupeville’s luck ran out under a hail of high-arcing rainbow serves from the smallest, but deadliest, girl on the floor.

 

7th grade varsity:

Granite made it three wins in four matches with a 25-18, 25-12, 15-8 victory, playing with a quick, decisive style as the clock skipped past 7 PM.

Marrs continued to be one of the true stars of the season finale, bashing one bullet-like winner with the heel of her hand, before dropping another point on a well-placed lob.

Desi Ramirez and Jesse Ross-McMahon cracked off service winners, while Ava Mitten, Skylar Parker, Lily Meyers, Kaitlyn Leavell, Grey Peabody, Karyme Castro and Hayley Thomas all chipped in with hustle, fighting for every point.

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Hannah Davidson, elevating in an earlier game, played strongly Wednesday as CHS volleyball kept its hot streak alive. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Everybody steps up, every night.

That could be the mantra for the Coupeville High School volleyball squad, which solidified its hold on second-place in the North Sound Conference Wednesday with a gutsy four-set win at Granite Falls.

Playing without big-time masher Maya Toomey-Stout, who was home recuperating from an illness, the Wolves got strong work from other key players, and inspired play from “The Gazelle’s” replacement, Zoe Trujillo.

Pulling out a 25-13, 24-26, 25-18, 25-18 victory, Coupeville improves its record to 6-2 in league play, 9-2 overall.

That leaves the Wolves a game up on Cedar Park Christian (5-3) and two up on South Whidbey (4-4) with two to play in the battle for the league’s #2 playoff seed.

It also keeps alive the hope of the Wolves earning a share of the league title, at least mathematically.

Coupeville’s final regular-season matches are at home, Oct. 23 vs. King’s (8-0) and Oct. 25 against Sultan (0-8), when the Wolves will honor seniors Ashley Menges and Emma Smith.

Win both and have King’s be toppled by CPC in its finale, and CHS would finish in a dead-heat with the defending 1A state champs.

While Wolf fans daydream, Coupeville’s players will have five days to rest, kick various bugs and prep for the big match-up with the Knights.

Toomey-Stout and her uncanny ability to elevate, hang in mid-air for an eternity, then devastate the ball, should be back in the lineup when that royal rumble goes down.

Wednesday night, though, the other Wolves rose up and filled her (missing) shoes.

In the case of Trujillo, literally.

Zoe did a great job filling in for Maya and taking on a strong role playing all the way around,” said Coupeville coach Cory Whitmore, who is now 33-13 in his three years at the helm of the Wolf program.

“I’m proud of this group adapting and raising the level of play in order to compensate not having a key player.”

The Wolves were balanced across the board, something their coach is always pleased to see.

“Our serving was much more consistent and we did a nice job of getting Emma Smith the ball,” Whitmore said. “Scout Smith did a fantastic job of distributing the ball and our strong passing from Chelsea Prescott, Emma Mathusek, Ashley Menges and Zoe did a solid job of passing the ball in order to run our offense.

Hannah Davidson was great off one foot and had a first-set serving run that helped propel us forward,” he added. “We’re happy to pull off the road win and look forward to next week.”

Emma Smith paced the Wolf attack, shredding Granite for 11 kills, while also dominating at the net with four solo blocks and two assists on other stuffs.

Springing from one side of the court to the other, the bounce in her step never wavering, Scout Smith doled out a season-high 30 assists, while also adding three aces, two blocks and two digs.

Prescott (seven kills, six digs), Trujillo (five kills, two digs), Mathusek (18 digs), Menges (four kills, three aces, three digs), Davidson (three kills, two aces) and Lucy Sandahl (a wicked ace) all chipped in to keep CHS manager Heidi Meyers busy as she recorded team stats.

 

JV wages strong fight:

Coupeville’s young guns forced Granite Falls to a third and deciding set for the second time this season, but couldn’t quite pull out the win.

The Wolves ultimately fell 25-19, 23-25, 25-14, dropping their record to 3-5 in league, 5-6 overall.

“We lost, but we got some good work in,” said Coupeville coach Chris Smith. “We are a work in progress, but I like the improvement we are seeing.”

Sandahl, the motor which makes the JV squad run, was limited to just a single set so she would be available for duty with the illness-depleted varsity. She made good use of her time on the floor, however, recording seven assists and two service aces.

Kylie Van Velkinburgh pounded home seven kills, while Izzy Wells tallied 10 assists and five aces.

Meanwhile, the rampaging Vick sisters, Willow (five digs, four kills, two aces) and Raven (five digs, three aces) were their usual consistent, dangerous selves.

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