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Posts Tagged ‘Haylee Armstrong’

Capri Anter, ready to destroy the hopes and dreams of rival pitchers. (Allison Scarpo photos)

The final game doesn’t tell the entire story.

The Central Whidbey Little League Majors softball squad is a high-flying group of talented young women, with bright diamond futures ahead of them.

So, while Thursday’s season-ending 28-9 loss to a red-hot Sedro-Woolley squad hurts, it’s a bump in the road, and not the end of the journey.

The Wolves, who finish 13-6 this season after being knocked out of the District 11 tourney, will be back.

Central Whidbey won’t be going to the state championships this time — Sedro claims that ticket thanks to Thursday’s win at Rhododendron Park — but the prairie powerhouses have much to look forward to in years to come.

“The girls came a long way this year and will continue to develop,” said Wolf coach Aaron Lucero. “Excited to see them grow in the future.

“Always tough when a season ends – that part never changes, but we’ll get there.”

“And just where do you think you’re going?!?!”

Central Whidbey beat Sedro during the regular season, but the visitors were locked-in during what turned into an elimination game.

“Sedro has a good core, including solid pitching, fielding, and hitting,” Lucero said. “Hats off to them.”

Lucero and fellow Wolf coach Lark Gustafson also work with the Coupeville High School softball program, and the hope is for the CWLL players to keep moving upwards together, rung by rung.

The diamond guru praised his players, and their families, for their work and commitment.

“Families (were) all supportive,” Lucero said. “Really one of the best groups of parents I’ve ever had, and I think this is my 15th year coaching.”

One team, one dream.

Thursday’s game wasn’t a blowout until the end, as Central Whidbey hung tough through the first two innings.

The Wolves pushed across a pair of runs in the first, then plated seven runners in the second, trailing just 12-9 at that point.

The killer was the third frame, however, as Sedro erupted for 16 runs, eventually forcing the mercy rule to be enacted.

Haylee Armstrong and Capri Anter paced Central Whidbey, both scoring twice, while Sydney Van Dyke, Adeline Maynes, Alison Powers, Cameron Van Dyke, and Emma Cushman also tapped home plate.

Michelle Michaud, Chelsi Stevens, Rhylin Price, Ava Lucero, and Amelia Crowder complete the Wolf roster.

“On to next season!”

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“We’re coming for all the wins! All of them, I said!!” (Allison Scarpo photos)

Adeline Maynes fires a laser.

They’re still very much in it to win it.

The Central Whidbey Little League Majors softball squad rallied Wednesday on its home field, crushing South Skagit 20-10 in a loser-out game at the District 11 all-star tournament.

The victory eliminates Skagit and sends the Wolves into the championship round for a rematch with Sedro-Woolley, which it lost to Tuesday.

Central Whidbey needs to win back-to-back games Thursday and Friday to earn a trip to the state tourney, while Sedro can get to the big dance with one more victory.

All games are set for Rhododendron Park, with 6 PM starts.

The Wolves attacked early and often against Skagit, raining down 10 hits while also eking out a steady series of walks.

Sydney Van Dyke slammed a double for the game’s big blow, with Capri Anter and Adeline Maynes both picking up a pair of singles.

Also collecting base-knocks were Ava Lucero, Rhylin Price, Emma Cushman, Cameron Van Dyke, and Amelia Crowder.

Chelsi Stevens dares the pitcher to try and get one past her.

Nine different Wolves scored, with Anter (4), Mayne (3), and the Van Dyke sisters (3 each) leading the way.

Haylee Armstrong and Lucero both tapped the plate twice apiece, with Chelsi Stevens, Price, and Cushman also coming around to score.

Alison Powers and Michelle Michaud round out the 12-player Wolf roster.

Stars of today, stars of tomorrow.

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Kierra Thayer rumbled on both ends of the floor as an 8th grader. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

They closed with a vengeance.

Capping a season of huge improvement, the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams went basket for basket with their next door neighbors Thursday in Langley.

The Wolf varsity, led by the red-hot long-distance shooting of Haylee Armstrong, pushed the Cougars hard, before being nipped 21-19 in what coaches from both schools termed “their best game so far.”

Haylee hit a couple of big threes, and our defense was nearly flawless, keeping South Whidbey from setting up an offense the majority of the game,” said Coupeville coach Kassie O’Neil.

Haylee Armstrong led all Coupeville Middle School players in scoring this season.

“The girls came out ready to play and kept up the same energy throughout the entire game,” O’Neil said.

“I think both of our teams brought our A-games and it was great to see two similar teams going head-to-head.”

While Armstrong was droppin’ bombs from the parking lot, Kierra Thayer anchored the Wolf defense.

Kierra had a few HUGE stuffs, denying the shooters any time they tried to get a shot up past her,” O’Neil said. “And she was there to rebound on both ends of the court.

“Her hustle during this game was the best I’ve seen from her this season.”

While Coupeville couldn’t quite nab the season-ending victory, O’Neil still came away flushed with pride in her young players.

“It was the best ending for our season. I’m so proud of these girls and the gains they made in such a short amount of time,” she said.

“I think we accomplished our big goals — they gained foundational skills, learned what it means to turn a team into family, and fostered a love for the game.”

A former Coupeville hoops star who was known for knocking down big shots at crunch time, O’Neil was pleased with a lot of what she saw in her first season being in charge.

“If I’m lucky enough to continue coaching Wolves hoops, I’ll be happy to see these girls back on the court for another couple of seasons,” she said. “It’s been a blast to witness their growth and joy, playing the sport I love.”

O’Neil’s fellow coach, Kristina Forbes, had a similar experience in her first go-round with the Wolf JV, which fell 46-11 at Langley.

“We had one main goal and that was to just play better than we did the first we played South Whidbey,” she said. “We accomplished that. These girls played their hearts out and never gave up!”

Willow Leedy-Bonifas is a fireball on the floor.

Forbes gave her whole team props, with a special shout-out for feisty guard Willow Leedy-Bonifas.

“She was not afraid to get in the face of her opponent and try for the steals!” Forbes said with a big smile.

Coupeville’s second squad was almost entirely made up of players who were brand new to competitive basketball, but they held up well against much more experienced teams such as King’s, Sultan, and Langley.

“This season was full of learning to cope with emotions, and to develop skills, bonding with their teammates and learning to trust each other on the court,” Forbes said.

“My girls have come so far from the beginning of the season till the end.

“By last night’s game the nerves seemed to be distant and all that beamed through them was determination.

“Overall, I hope that my girls had a fun season and will plan to come out next year.”

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Coupeville Middle School hoops star Inara Maund played in one game Tuesday and sketched her teammates in action during the other. (Photo courtesy Kristina Forbes)

“They came with a fire and a passion that I have been waiting to see this season.”

For first-year Coupeville Middle School girls basketball coaches Kassie O’Neil and Kristina Forbes, this has been a season of celebrating each milestone, as largely inexperienced players learn the game on the fly.

Instead of wins and losses, the Wolves have measured their success on lessons learned, skills picked up, and confidence built.

Which is why O’Neil exited the CMS gym Tuesday after game #7 in a eight-game season with a visible sense of pride.

“This was our best game, by far,” she said. “The girls walked away super happy and ready to play in the offseason. It was the perfect last home game.”

Coupeville closes the campaign with a road trip to Langley Thursday, and the program has taken a major leap forward since opening day.

How Tuesday played out:

 

Varsity:

Coupeville upped its point total in each quarter, and while the Wolves fell 37-19, the hot shooting of Haylee Armstrong and the team’s defense were big standouts.

“We just learned zone (defense) this week and you couldn’t even tell,” O’Neil said. “It looked like they had been playing zone all season.

“I honestly wish we had been, because they KILLED it.”

Armstrong rattled the rims for a season-high 11 points, including hitting a three-ball which further cements her status as a fast-rising, sweet-shooting star.

Haylee came out shooting amazing; she kept swishing shot after shot,” said O’Neil, who nailed her fair share of big shots during her own Coupeville hoops days.

“Our guards worked hard on driving with a purpose and dishing to the posts or wings to shoot,” she added.

“Our big thing has been “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” so today, whether they made them or not, I told the girls I would be proud of them just for taking the shot.

“And they did just that.”

Kierra Thayer slapped home six points in support of Armstrong, with Rhylin Price and Brynn Parker each rippling the net on a free throw.

Liza Zustiak, Tenley Stuurmans, Capri Anter, Ava Lucero, Marin Winger, Lexis Drake, and Avery Williams-Buchanan also saw floor time, with Winger getting a nice shout out from O’Neil for having “hustle every time she hit the court — executing our defense perfectly and being aggressive on offense constantly.”

The Wolf hoops guru spread love to everyone on the roster.

“The girls went out and weren’t afraid,” she said. “When the season is over, these are the games I hope they’ll walk away holding onto, pushing them into further basketball careers.

“Their excitement and pride was palpable in the locker room after the game,” O’Neil added. “Today was a day that reminded me why I love this game so much.

“Regardless of the score, we walked away knowing we won that game in all of the ways that matter.”

 

JV:

Facing a physical team, the young Wolves held up well, playing Sultan virtually even in the second half during a 25-11 loss.

Forbes and her players achieved one goal — holding the Turks to 25 or less points — while narrowly missing out on setting a season-high with their own scoring efforts.

Most importantly, the Wolves set out to play better against Sultan than they did earlier in the season, a mission you can mark as accomplished.

“The girls stayed strong throughout this game,” Forbes said. “They got beat up pretty good!”

Taylor Marrs sparked the rough-and-ready Wolf attack, using every one of her allotted fouls while clamping down on the Turk shooters.

“We had our first foul-out of the season,” Forbes said with pride. “When you think of defense, that’s Taylor all the way. She has definitely come a long way.

“I am so proud of these girls and the confidence they are starting to show on the court!”

Melanie Wolfe topped the Coupeville scorers, dropping in all five of her points in the fourth quarter, while Chelsi Stevens, Adeline Maynes, and Rhylin Price each chipped in with a bucket.

It was the first points of the season for the hard-working Stevens, who becomes the 15th CMS player to score.

Rosie Lay, Willow Leedy-Bonifas, Marrs, Laken Simpson, Elyse White, Ava Carpenter, Inara Maund, and Lexis Drake also saw floor time for the Wolves.

 

The art of the game:

Earlier this season, while I was covering a CMS hoops game in person, Inara Maund was busy working the camera, shooting the action for her coaches.

During time-outs she showed me some of her artwork and I later wrote about how I wanted to showcase some of her creations here on Coupeville Sports.

And what do you know, it’s happening!

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Haylee Armstrong scans the defense. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They make the basket pop.

Three games into the 2022 middle school girls basketball campaign, there are 10 Coupeville players who have racked up points.

Defense wins games, and hustle wins the hearts of coaches, but points are the easiest stat for me to track, so here we go.

 

CMS scoring leaders:

Kierra Thayer – 13
Tenley Stuurmans – 12
Haylee Armstrong – 6
Lexis Drake – 4
Brynn Parker – 4
Liza Zustiak – 4
Rosie Lay – 2
Adeline Maynes – 2
Rhylin Price – 1
Melanie Wolfe – 1

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