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Ashlie Shank and the Coupeville girls kick off the playoffs Feb. 10 with a home game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Winter belonged to the RedHawks, but the school year has belonged to the Wolves.

Both Port Townsend basketball teams won league titles Saturday, with the girls ending Coupeville’s three-year run atop the standings.

But, if we look at the entire 2017-2018 school year, CHS is the big dog right now.

Looking at the six fall and winter sports the Wolves play (football, volleyball, boys tennis, girls soccer and girls and boys basketball), they have the most varsity wins of any of the four Olympic League teams with 31.

Klahowya, whose boys basketball team had the title sewn up until a late-season collapse, has 28, while Port Townsend sits with 21.

Chimacum, which has suffered win-less campaigns in boys basketball and tennis, brings up the rear with nine total varsity wins.

Spring is on the horizon, and with that comes softball, baseball, girls tennis and boys soccer as we follow the team wins battle.

Track also arrives, but is largely an individual sport disguised as a team sport, and team win totals are all but impossible to keep track of when multiple schools are involved in every meet.

This is the final year of the current set-up of the Olympic League, as Coupeville is bouncing to the new North Sound Conference next fall.

Before the Wolves go, they would love to repeat as unofficial league-wide champs and defend the varsity wins title they copped last year, when they edged Klahowya 51-48.

The Eagles, who spring from the second-biggest student body in 1A, prevailed 52-40 and 45-42 over CHS the first two years of the league, with Chimacum and Port Townsend well behind in every year.

In other matters, the end of the regular season for basketball means the end of the trail for the Coupeville boys.

While the Wolf girls kick off a playoff run Feb. 10,  their male counterparts were tripped up by the Olympic League only having two playoff slots this season.

Still, before they were done, a couple of Wolves hit milestones.

Ethan Spark topped the 200-point mark in his senior season, while Hunter Smith’s 382 points was the best single season for a Wolf boy since Mike Bagby tossed in 414 back in 2004-2005.

Smith also came very close to having one of the best seasons in school history, with the tenth-best single-season mark by a Wolf boy being 392 by Wade Ellsworth in 1978-1979.

On the girls side of the ball, Wolf junior Lindsey Roberts, who still has games to play, has more than doubled her previous career total.

With 152 points this season, she’s jumped from 137 career points (#77 all-time for CHS girls) to 289 points (#36 all-time).

Final regular-season varsity scoring totals and league standings:

Girls:

Lindsey Roberts 152
Mikayla Elfrank 99
Sarah Wright 99
Ema Smith 94
Kyla Briscoe 78
Scout Smith 52
Kalia Littlejohn 38
Chelsea Prescott 34
Hannah Davidson 10
Allison Wenzel 5
Avalon Renninger 1

Boys:

Hunter Smith 382
Ethan Spark 216
Joey Lippo 88
Cameron Toomey-Stout 54
Hunter Downes 53
Mason Grove 51
Kyle Rockwell 29
Jered Brown 24
Dane Lucero 16
Gavin Knoblich 5
Ulrik Wells 4
Jacobi Pilgrim 1

Olympic League girls basketball:

School League Overall
Port Townsend 7-2 9-10
COUPEVILLE 6-3 8-13
Chimacum 4-5 7-12
Klahowya 1-8 4-15

Olympic League boys basketball:

School League Overall
Port Townsend 7-2 11-8
Klahowya 6-3 10-10
COUPEVILLE 5-4 7-13
Chimacum 0-9 0-14

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   Hunter Smith tossed in 17 in a win Saturday and finished as the #12 scorer in Wolf boys basketball history. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

   Mason Grove dropped in 12 in Coupeville’s JV win, giving him 337 in 19 games for the second Wolf squad. 

They closed the season on fire.

Raining down three-balls in both games Saturday, with almost everyone on the roster scoring, the Coupeville High School boys basketball squads put a final stamp on their campaigns, crushing host Chimacum.

The Wolf varsity rolled 60-31, while the JV cruised in for a 61-23 victory.

With the wins, the first squad finished 7-13 overall, 5-4 in their final season of Olympic League play.

Coupeville’s second team closed out at 5-14, 4-5.

Varsity:

Facing a win-less Cowboys team limping to the finish, the Wolves put them down hard and fast, busting out to a 24-2 lead at the first break and not slowing down.

“The boys should be proud of how strong they finished out the season,” said Coupeville coach Brad Sherman. “Taking care of the ball, shooting well, tough on defense – playing their best team basketball.

“Says a lot about them, their character, and how hard they worked,” he added. “They can hold their heads high.”

Nine of the 10 Wolves to see action Saturday scored, with Hunter Smith leading the way as he tossed in 17 in three quarters of action.

That gave him 382 for the season and 847 for his career.

Despite missing a chunk of his sophomore year with an injury, Smith finished as the 12th highest scorer in Wolf boys basketball history.

Fellow senior Ethan Spark banked home 13, which gives him 216 for the season.

Cameron Toomey-Stout knocked down 10 in support of the big two, with Dane Lucero (6), Hunter Downes (4), Gavin Knoblich (3), Mason Grove (3), Kyle Rockwell (2) and Ulrik Wells (2) also scoring.

Lucero, a big man who plays in the paint most of the time, shocked the world in the finale, scoring all of his points off of a pair of three-point bombs.

James Vidoni was the lone Wolf not to score, but he drew praise from Sherman for “his toughness on the boards.”

JV:

The big quarter was the third in this one, as the Wolves used a 22-4 surge to ice the game.

Much as in the varsity game, Coupeville spread its scoring out, with 11 of 13 tallying at least one point.

Freshman Sage Downes and sophomore Mason Grove tied for top honors with 12.

That brought Grove’s final mark to 337 over 19 games this year, just shy of the unofficial school JV record of 347, set by Allen Black in 2002-2003.

Grove, who hit double figures in 16 games, and topped 30 three times, was denied the record by his own success.

In the latter stages of the season, he stopped playing full JV games, so he could swing up to varsity, where he finished sixth on the #1 squad in scoring in very limited court time.

The JV scoring Saturday was rounded out by Jake Pease (9), Tucker Hall (7), Koa Davison (5), Daniel Olson (4), Alex Jimenez (4), Vidoni (2), David Prescott (2), Trevor Bell (2) and Knoblich (2).

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   Kyle Rockwell, celebrating Senior Night with dad Sheldon, played the best game of his career Thursday as Coupeville shocked first-place Klahowya. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They could not lose. They would not lose.

Weathering a torrid fourth-quarter run by their first-place foes, and the loss of a key starter mid-game to injury, the Coupeville High School boys basketball players reached down deep Thursday, finding a final bit of magic to close out their home careers.

Playing for much of the game with essentially five players, all seniors, the Wolves toppled visiting Klahowya 59-54 for an emotion-packed victory which will be remembered for some time to come.

The win lifts Coupeville to 4-4 in Olympic League play, 6-13 overall, with a road game Saturday at win-less Chimacum all that’s left on the schedule.

Klahowya slips to 6-2 and its game Saturday against Port Townsend, also 6-2, will be a battle royal for the league crown.

With only two playoff spots available, Coupeville will miss the postseason, so the Wolves had to make their memories now.

And did they ever.

Playing on Senior Night, the six-pack of Hunter Downes, Ethan Spark, Cameron Toomey-Stout, Joey Lippo, Hunter Smith and Kyle Rockwell attacked with a wild abandon.

Lippo was lost to a hyper-extended knee two minutes into the second quarter, but his teammates rallied in his absence, closing the half on an 11-2 run.

The lanky defensive ace returned to the bench in the second half, limping and grimacing, yet trying to talk his coaches into putting him back on the floor.

Instead, they chose the prudent route, leaving Lippo strapped to his seat and operating as a vocal, impassioned fan for his classmates.

Other than brief cameos for junior Dane Lucero and sophomore Mason Grove, the other five seniors never left the floor, and all five made huge plays down the stretch.

A tightly-contested game started to turn into a pro-Coupeville blowout early in the fourth quarter, then the game took a sickening lurch before things righted themselves again.

With Smith raining down buckets from every direction on his way to a career-high 35, including a three-ball that caressed the net as it sank through in perfect unison with the third-quarter buzzer, CHS was on fire.

When Toomey-Stout poked a ball free, then hit the afterburners to beat two Eagles to the ensuing loose ball and slap it home for a breakaway bucket, the Wolves were up 51-39.

The stands were rocking, the Wolf bench was pounding the floor and CHS coach Brad Sherman had a huge smile on his face.

And then Klahowya reminded everyone how it landed in first place in the beginning.

Using a 12-2 run, with the final exclamation point a “no way that’s going in and … CRUD, it just did” three-point bomb, the Eagles pulled all the way back to 53-51 with 30 ticks on the game clock.

Coupeville could have cracked. It probably should have cracked.

But it didn’t.

Smith knocked down a free throw to stretch the lead to three, and, when he shocked the world by missing attempt #2, Rockwell made the single most memorable play of his sporting life.

The Wolf big man, an urban legend who the fans adore, came roaring up the lane, out-muscled three Klahowya players, yanked the rebound to his chest, then exploded up and banked home the put-back as he got savagely beat around the head and arms.

As Rockwell headed to the line to try and make it a three-point play the hard way, you could cue the bedlam and the celebration.

Except there was still 28.4 agonizing seconds on the clock and we weren’t done quite yet.

Rockwell’s charity shot rimmed out, popped airborne and … Smith came flying in from the right side to return the favor to his teammate, yanking down the rebound and hugging the ball to his chest.

Two more Smith free throws, another Klahowya three-ball, then a Spark free throw and the margin was finally too large and the time left on the clock too little for even the most die-hard of Eagle fans to still be dreaming of a win.

Just to drive home the point, Toomey-Stout jumped 72 feet in the air (give or take a few inches) to pick off Klahowya’s final in-bounds pass.

In the scrum, a Klahowya player unloaded a kick into Rockwell’s shins, then, realizing it was probably better not to tick off the otherwise gentle giant, started profusely apologizing for his inadvertent field goal attempt.

Not that it mattered all that much, as Rockwell, celebrating an epic end to his final home game, was all smiles and in a forgiving mood at the moment.

Before things got crazy in the late going, the game was an intense back-and-forth affair.

The first quarter saw three ties and an incredible display of body control in mid-air from Smith.

Sprinting the length of the floor as the clock ran down, he pulled in a long outlet pass, hopped towards the basket, split two defenders, then held in the air as both Eagles returned to the surly bonds of Earth beneath him.

As they did, Smith slapped home the layup from an impossible angle, absorbed a shot to the arms from a defender, then calmly went to the line and sank a free throw to cap the play.

All while staying as calm and composed as an old man sitting on a porch drinking a cup of tea and talking about the alfalfa crop.

Down 14-12 at the first break, Coupeville was trailing 18-14 when Lippo crashed to the court and stayed down.

While he was eventually able to limp off the floor and head to the locker room, with a lot of assistance, the play could have sucked all the air out of the joint.

Instead, it lit a fuse under the remaining seniors, as they seized the lead and never looked back.

Spark knocked down back-to-back three-balls, with the first one coming after he pulled off a fake which caused his defender to lose all sense of balance and crash, butt-first, to the ground.

A breakaway bucket for Toomey-Stout, in full “Camtastic”-mode, and a jumper from Smith, set up by another big board from Rockwell, sent CHS to the halftime break up 25-21.

The third quarter started as a battle of treys, as the teams combined to net five straight three-balls to open things, then turned into a display of sheer Wolf grit.

Downes and Rockwell abused the Eagles on the boards, and, even when a play broke down, Coupeville found a way to make it work.

Spark lost the handle on the ball near his bench, but pulled off a ballet move more typically shown by Lippo, a seasoned veteran of the dance stage.

Flicking the ball over his shoulder a moment before he crashed out of bounds, Spark not only saved the ball but directed it right onto the fingertips of Smith, who promptly bashed home a runner off the glass.

With every one of the six seniors selling out on seemingly every play, Sherman came away with a rosy glow of pride in his cheeks.

“This is a really special group of seniors,” he said. “I am really happy they got to go out on their home court this way. Very, very proud of how they played and how they finished.

“These guys have worked so hard, and they deserved this. They really did.”

Smith’s 35 was spread out, with 10 in the first, three in the second, another 10 in the third and 12 in the crucible of the fourth quarter.

With that display of offensive fire power, he runs his scoring total to 830 points, passing Corey Cross (811) for 12th place on the Wolf boys career scoring chart.

Toomey-Stout knocked down nine in support, while Spark (7), Rockwell (6) and Lippo (2) also scored.

And, while points get a lot of the glory, it was Coupeville’s defense which ably shared the spotlight.

“We needed to control the boards and we did,” Sherman said. “We really got them out of their rhythm and had hands in the passing lanes on almost every play.

Kyle was huge for us and Hunter (Downes) is just a special athlete with the way he fights for every ball.

“I’m really, really happy for all of them!”

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   Coupeville players like Jake Pease put up strong effort Tuesday but couldn’t topple Sequim in a pair of games. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s hard to beat a team that doesn’t beat itself.

In a virtual recreation of a game the two schools played early in the season, 2A Sequim played precision basketball Tuesday, dumping visiting Coupeville 65-41.

The non-conference loss drops the Wolf boys to 5-13 with two games to play.

CHS hosts Klahowya Thursday on Senior Night, then heads to Chimacum to face a win-less Cowboys squad in the season finale for both teams.

Sparring a Sequim squad which was virtually flawless Tuesday in all aspects of the game, with a special emphasis on note-perfect ball movement and crisp passes, the Wolves held their own for a solid two, maybe three, minutes.

A pair of free throws from Hunter Smith, coming on the heels of an electric three-ball from Cameron Toomey-Stout, knotted the game at 5-5 and anything was possible.

And then it wasn’t.

Using a 16-0 run which carried into the early moments of the second quarter, Sequim put the game out of reach and hit cruise control from there.

Joey Lippo, who took two hard falls in the game after taking shots to the ankle and face, stopped the assault with a bank shot off a nice dish from Hunter Downes, but it did little to slow Sequim.

After Smith followed Lippo’s bucket with a steal and breakaway layup, Coupeville couldn’t put together back-to-back buckets again until the final moments of the game.

With just a basket here, a basket there, always followed immediately by a Sequim score or two, the Wolves were unable to carve the lead down, instead watching it get stretched out to 27 at its peak.

Down 60-33, CHS reached down deep and made a gritty stand over the final 90 seconds, with Downes and Toomey-Stout each rattling home three-balls, packaged around another steal and breakaway bucket from Smith.

The game finished with the same margin of victory as when the teams met in early Dec. — 24 points. Back then, Sequim rolled to a 59-35 win on Whidbey.

Smith paced Coupeville with 19 points, running his career total to 795.

With two games to go, he needs 17 to pass Corey Cross (811) and claim 12th place on the Wolf boys career scoring chart.

Toomey-Stout, known for his intensity on defense, non-stop hustle and award-winning hair, dropped in a season-best 11 points, capped by a trio of treys from behind the arc.

Lippo, who was limping but unbowed, tossed in four, a figure matched by Ethan Spark, while Downes capped the scoring with his three-ball.

While he didn’t score, Wolf big man Kyle Rockwell gave a feisty pack of road fans a thrill when he twice lowered the boom on Sequim players, making sure they would properly remember being fouled.

JV toppled:

A close game became something else after halftime.

Trailing by nine at the break, Coupeville’s shooting touch failed after the break, allowing Sequim to use a scorching 40-9 surge to run away with a 65-23 win.

The non-conference loss drops the Wolf young guns to 4-13.

CHS put up six in the first quarter, including a three-ball from Sage Downes, then added eight in the second, but the second half was a whole ‘nother game.

Sequim toasted the net during a 29-9 third quarter, then closed the game with an 11-0 shutout in the fourth.

Mason Grove paced Coupeville with 11, including three bombs from behind the arc, while Ulrik Wells pounded down low for four points.

Sage Downes (3), James Vidoni (2), Koa Davison (2) and David Prescott (1) also scored.

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   Hunter Smith poured in 15 Friday, moving into 13th place on the Coupeville boys basketball career scoring chart. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Now, they play for pride.

Unable to recover from a large early deficit Friday after its #2 scorer was literally knocked out of the game, the Coupeville High School boys basketball squad was eliminated from playoff contention.

Falling 64-41 at Port Townsend, the Wolves drop to 3-4 in Olympic League play, 5-12 overall.

With only two boys teams advancing to the postseason this year, Klahowya (6-1) and Port Townsend (5-2) have clinched those berths.

Coupeville closes with three games next week, traveling to Sequim for a non-conference tilt Tuesday, before welcoming Klahowya to Whidbey Thursday for Senior Night.

The season finale comes next Saturday, Feb. 3, when the Wolves travel to Chimacum to face the win-less (0-7) Cowboys.

After splitting the first two games this season with Port Townsend, CHS went into Friday’s rumble hoping for a strong showing.

And while the Wolves brought consistent effort, the RedHawks were in the zone and never left.

“They came out and shot the lights out to start the game,” said Coupeville coach Brad Sherman. “And then just really took advantage of how big and solid they are inside.

“We actually played a decent game. Kind of fought and fought but just couldn’t make a big enough push to get back to even,” he added. “I think they will be really hard to beat (in the playoffs).”

With Noa Montoya dropping in 10 points in the first eight minutes, Port Townsend jumped out to a 26-10 lead which drew two exclamation points in the score-book from the home stat keeper.

The Wolves played relatively close in the second quarter (an 11-9 deficit) and fourth (a 17-14 advantage), but a cold-shooting third (a 13-5 deficit) doomed them for good.

Along with the loss, Coupeville took a body blow when senior Ethan Spark was brutalized, taking a shot to the face that left him with a gash inside his mouth, a partially-dislodged tooth and a fair amount of his blood on the court.

“He left his mark on Port Townsend, that’s for sure!,” said mom Kali Barrio.

Spark wanted to re-enter the game, but officials declined. Early indications are that he did not suffer a concussion, however.

Fellow senior Hunter Smith paced the Wolves, rattling the rims for 15 points and reaching a couple of new marks along the way.

He finished the night with 776 points, passing ’60s star Barry Brown (769) for 13th place on the CHS boys career scoring chart.

With 311 points this season, and 332 last year, Smith becomes the 13th Wolf male to put up back-to-back 300-point seasons since 1960, and the first since Mike Bagby did so in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006.

Joey Lippo backed Smith up with seven points, while Mason Grove (6), Spark (4), Hunter Downes (4), Jered Brown (3) and Kyle Rockwell (2) also scored.

JV falls short:

One bad quarter doomed the Wolf young guns in a 47-30 loss.

Coupeville’s second squad falls to 3-4 in league play, 4-12 overall.

Trailing just 10-8 at the first break, CHS was outscored 17-7 in the second quarter and never fully recovered.

After torching the RedHawks for 30+ points, and multiple three-balls, in both of the team’s previous games, Grove settled for seven free throws in limited time.

While he only played two quarters, allowing him equal time in the varsity game, the CHS sophomore topped a milestone, pushing his JV scoring to 301 points on the season.

Sage Downes led the Wolves with nine, while Ulrik Wells and Jean Lund-Olsen both dropped in four.

Jake Pease, Daniel Olson and Gavin Knoblich rounded out the scoring with a bucket apiece.

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