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Freshman Audrianna Shaw filled up the stat sheet in her high school debut Wednesday, sparking Coupeville’s JV to a rout of South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“We were ready to go!”

And how.

Even missing offensive ace Anya Leavell, who was felled by illness, the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball team was unstoppable Wednesday night.

Ripping off the game’s first 16 points, the Wolves savaged host South Whidbey, crushing their arch-rivals 36-11 in a magnificent romp.

The win, coming in the North Sound Conference opener for both teams, lifts CHS to 1-0 in league play, 2-3 overall.

The Wolves have won back-to-back games, and continue to add players back to their roster, easing the loss of Leavell and defensive dynamo Kylie Chernikoff (leg injury).

Freshmen Audrianna Shaw and Ella Colwell made their high school debuts Wednesday, and immediately jumped in to help their teammates on both sides of the ball.

Shaw, in particular, got off to to a roaring start, filling up the stat sheet with eight points, three rebounds, two steals and a team-high four assists.

Coupeville was brutally efficient on defense, throttling South Whidbey to the tune of 11-0 in the first quarter, before stretching the lead out to 24-7 by the halftime break.

“Our defense in the first quarter was stifling,” said proud CHS coach Amy King. “Audrianna and Kiara (Contreras) led the attack up top on defense while Mollie (Bailey), Izzy (Wells) and Ja’Kenya (Hoskins) didn’t let anybody from South Whidbey near the basket.”

Coupeville ramped up the intensity, dropping a press into the defensive mix a few minutes into the game, and the flustered Falcons wilted under the pressure.

King was able to give quality floor time to all 10 girls in uniform, and everyone contributed.

“As substitutes came in to the game, they stepped in without much change in the effectiveness of our defense,” King said. “From Kylie (Van Velkinburgh) and Morgan (Stevens) cutting off wing and post shots to Ella and Abby (Mulholland’s) wingspans in not allowing shots around the key and Alana (Mihill) working hard up top to force the ball away from the key.

“It was exciting to see the girls fight regardless of the score,” she added.

The Wolves snatched 33 rebounds and made off with 19 steals, both stats which pop off the sheet for Coupeville’s coaching staff.

“It just shows the effort these girls put into the game and winning it as a team,” King said.

Wells paced Coupeville with nine points, seven rebounds and three steals, while Shaw knocked down eight points, Hoskins and Mulholland each went for six and Van Velkinburgh notched four.

Bailey (2) and Contreras (1) rounded out the offensive show, with Contreras also driving South Whidbey’s ball-handlers bonkers while pilfering eight steals.

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Ema Smith scored 15 Wednesday, including hitting a trio of three-balls, as Coupeville’s varsity savaged arch-rival South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

For a second, it was close. And then it wasn’t.

Busting free from an 8-8 tie after one quarter Wednesday, the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball squad went on an inspired run.

With every part of their game in over-drive, the Wolves closed on a 42-7 run over the final three quarters, blistering host South Whidbey 50-15.

The win, coming in the North Sound Conference opener for both teams, lifts CHS to 1-0 in league play, 2-4 overall.

It also puts them in a three-way tie with King’s and Granite Falls atop the (very early) conference standings.

The 50 points are the most a Wolf varsity girls hoops team has scored since they dropped 56 on Klahowya Feb. 6, 2016.

That game was Makana Stone’s Senior Night, and the future Whitman College star went off for 27 points and 21 rebounds.

Wednesday night, two current seniors led the charge, as Wolf captains Lindsey Roberts and Ema Smith popped for 15 points apiece.

Coming off a game against Orcas Island where they squandered a second-half lead and came up just short of a win, the rout of South Whidbey was a huge bounce-back for the Wolves.

“We had a game plan for tonight, like we do for every game we prepare for,” Coupeville coach David King said. “We had a great practice yesterday and came out and executed our plan.

“As a coach, that’s what you like to see and all I can ask for.”

More than just a mere win, it was chock full of bonuses.

Coupeville has struggled when traveling to Langley in recent seasons, something King wanted to change. Also, getting solid play from the top of the roster to the end of the bench is huge.

“Our senior captains led the charge and the rest of the players all contributed in one way or another,” King said. “This game will foster our confidence moving forward, especially if we play like we did in all facets of the game (offense, defense, rebounding and hustle).”

The game was actually a nail-biter in the early going, as Lexi Starets-Foote pumped in six first quarter-points and South Whidbey went to the first break tied 8-8.

Roberts was getting her way in the paint, working down low for a pair of power buckets in the early going, but the game hardly seemed like it would be a blowout.

And then, just like that, Coupeville flipped a switch, and did so big-time.

Inflicting a withering defense on the Falcons, the Wolves held their foes to just three field goals across the game’s final three quarters, with none coming from Starets-Foote.

The key was Coupeville’s press, which shredded every last nerve South Whidbey players had, forcing multiple turnovers and giving the Wolves ample opportunity to run ‘n gun.

With Roberts slapping home nine points in the quarter, CHS went on a game-busting 18-3 tear in the second frame and didn’t let up from there.

The Wolves pulled off the rare goose egg in the third quarter, romping to a 15-0 advantage, before coasting home with a 9-4 mini-surge in the final frame.

“Our defense and press throughout the game set the tone for us,” King said.

Coupeville finished the game with 22 steals, snatched 34 rebounds, including 20 on the offensive glass, and forced South Whidbey into numerous mistakes.

The Falcons committed two shot-clock violations and a five-second inbound violation thanks to the constant Wolf pressure.

“It was great to see the pursuit for every rebound,” King said. “We took care of the ball and shared it as well. Only 12 turnovers, and we had 11 assists.

“Offensively we moved the ball well and made the extra pass to get a better look,” he added. “The effort we played with set the tone for the whole game.”

King praised Hannah Davidson for stepping up against South Whidbey’s #1 scorer, “doing a fantastic job keeping (Starets-Foote) from hurting us on the offensive end.”

Scout Smith showed off her ninja hands, pilfering a team-high five steals, while Chelsea Prescott’s never-say-die attitude on D was symbolic of how intense the Wolves played.

“One particular play stood out for me,” King said. “South Whidbey had a breakaway fast break, but Chelsea never gave up on the play despite being five to eight feet behind the player dribbling towards a layup.

Chelsea’s hustle allowed her to catch the player out front and prevented a basket,” he added. “That one play was just one of many we had defensively.”

Coupeville spread its offensive bonanza out, with eight of 11 players in uniform scoring.

Ema Smith’s 15 points, which included a trio of three-balls, is her varsity career-high, while Roberts used her 15 to rise two more spots on the CHS girls basketball career scoring chart.

Now sitting at #28 all-time with 351 points, she passed Kailey Kellner (339) and Tracy Taylor (350) Wednesday, while moving within a basket of Amy Mouw (353).

Scout Smith added five, Tia Wurzrainer, Avalon Renninger and Mollie Bailey went for four apiece, Davidson knocked in two and Prescott swished a free throw.

It was Bailey’s first career varsity points, and the sophomore spark-plug is in hot pursuit of the family scoring title.

Having passed dad Rusty (three career varsity points), Mollie is chasing sisters McKayla (6) and McKenzie (17).

Prescott, who also had three steals and a team-high four assists, led Coupeville on the boards, yanking down six caroms.

She got plenty of support, as all 11 Wolves had at least one rebound, from Ja’Kenya Hoskins (5), Roberts (5) and Nicole Laxton (4) down to freshman Izzy Wells (1).

While the win, the time and place it came, and the way it was achieved, are all huge, the Wolves want to stay focused as they move forward.

CHS travels to Concrete (0-6) Friday for a non-conference game, then returns home Dec. 18 to face Sultan (0-1, 2-5) in its second league clash.

“It’s one game and a game we can build on moving forward,” King said. “A good blueprint for us to be successful as the season progresses.”

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William Davidson netted three points Tuesday as the Coupeville 7th grade basketball team blasted arch-rival South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a beautiful day for a rivalry game.

Dodging the rain Tuesday, the Coupeville Middle School boys basketball teams trekked down-Island to face South Whidbey for the only time this season, returning with a split of the varsity games.

How things played out:

 

7th grade varsity:

This one was over after just one quarter, as Coupeville bolted out to a 17-6 lead en route to a run-away 32-15 win.

The victory lifts CMS to 3-6 heading into its season finale Thursday at home against Granite Falls.

The early run was sparked by an unexpected offensive explosion from Nick Guay.

The Wolf guard, who had rattled home five points across the first eight games, torched the nets Tuesday for seven in just the first quarter.

With five other Coupeville players adding a bucket apiece in the opening frame, Greg White’s scrappy band of marauders set Langley back on its heels, and never let up.

While the offense cooled off a bit after that, the Wolves continued to add to their lead up until the final buzzer.

Logan Downes topped Coupeville with eight points, running his season scoring total to a crisp 100, while Guay (7), Zane Oldenstadt (6), Cole White (4), Ryan Blouin (4) and William Davidson (3) also scored.

 

7th grade JV:

A lack of offense stifled Wolf hopes, as they fell 15-2 in a two-quarter game.

Mikey Robinett knocked down Coupeville’s lone bucket, which came after a scoreless opening frame for he and his teammates.

Quinten Pilgrim, Timothy Nitta, Andrew Williams, Chris Villarreal, Alex Clark and Justin Wilkinson rounded out the Wolf roster.

 

8th grade varsity:

The Alex & Alex combo was clickin’ for Coupeville, but it wasn’t enough.

Despite 11 points from Alex Murdy and 10 rebounds from Alex Wasik, the Wolves fell 44-28 and drop to 1-8 on the season.

“The guys played well,” said CMS coach Dante Mitchell. “We had a little comeback and brought the deficit down to like 13 but just couldn’t pull thru.

Alex Wasik was a monster for us on rebounds!”

Wasik and Dominic Coffman each kicked in five points apiece, with Coffman draining a three-ball, in support of Murdy.

Levi Pulliam netted four, Ty Hamilton banked in two, Kevin Partida split the net for a free throw and Jesse Wooten and Josh Upchurch also saw floor time for the Wolves.

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Freshman Hawthorne Wolfe went for a team-high nine points Wednesday as Coupeville boys basketball opened a new season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s been 3,264 days since Coupeville and Oak Harbor played a varsity high school boys basketball game, and some things have changed.

Back on Dec. 21, 2009, the Wolves had a high-flying, veteran-heavy squad which finished the season 16-5, with one of those wins a 66-61 toppling of their Island neighbors.

Jump forward nine years, and this time the Wildcats boasted experience (and a lot of speed), with a roster stacked to the brim with battle-hardened seniors in 11 of 12 roster slots.

Meanwhile, CHS hit opening night with just one senior, only two returning full-time varsity players, and four of its nine active players making their varsity debut.

So, not a total surprise the large 3A school drilled the ultra-small 1A school Wednesday to the tune of 79-31.

But, while the final score might sting in the moment, the night was not a total loss for Coupeville.

For one thing, it was just one game in an 18-game schedule, a non-conference bout at that, and, hopefully, chock full of lessons for a new-look Wolf squad.

“That’s the beauty of basketball season; it’s not like football, where we have to wait a week to play again,” said CHS coach Brad Sherman. “We can have short memories, take some things in to work on at practice the next two days, then get out there and play (against fellow 1A school Bush) Saturday afternoon.”

Oak Harbor, which was led by the wicked fast Dorian Hardin and the three-ball-flinging Terrell Crumpton, blew out to a 17-0 lead, picking apart the young Wolves with withering defense.

Coupeville didn’t stop the bleeding until Wolf big man Ulrik Wells banked home a free throw late in the opening quarter, followed by a trey from the top off the fingertips of point guard Jered Brown.

The Wildcats seized control by using their press to force turnovers, while holding the Wolves without back-to-back scores for much of the game.

The only small CHS run came midway through the second, when it used four free throws and a Wells jumper in the paint that rattled around for an eternity before plopping through the net, to go on a 6-0 mini-surge.

The ‘Cats, by contrast, put together a second rampage, opening the second half on a 16-0 tear, ending any minor hopes of a Wolf comeback.

“We knew it would be a tough game, facing a very athletic opponent,” Sherman said. “We struggled with their pressure, just trying to do a little too much.

“We will work on executing our break like we know we can,” he added. “It’s a first game, early in the season; against a team like that, you expect some bumps and that’s OK – as long as we are learning and getting better each week.”

Learning is the key word, as three of Coupeville’s top four scorers on the night – Hawthorne Wolfe, Sean Toomey-Stout and Koa Davison, were making their varsity basketball debut.

Toomey-Stout, a football phenom who sat out his sophomore basketball season while recuperating from an injury, gave the Wolves an injection of toughness, while Davison teamed with Wells to provide CHS with some pop in the paint.

The night’s brightest spot, however, might be Wolfe, Coupeville’s floppy-haired, three-ball-spraying, bobbin’ and weavin’ answer to “Pistol” Pete Maravich.

He’s only a freshman, and showed it at times Wednesday, but the upside on this one is huge.

Wolfe splashed a pair of balls from behind the three-point arc on his way to a team-high nine points, but he also had a pair of sweet set-up passes, picking up assists on buckets by Brown and Davison.

Better still, he proved to be a scrapper, hitting the floor frequently and refusing to be bullied by the older Wildcats when there was a battle for a loose ball or re-directed rebound.

That was a trait also demonstrated by his older teammates, with Dane Lucero and Jacobi Pilgrim banging down in the pits and Mason Grove and Jean Lund-Olsen doing their best to disrupt Oak Harbor’s blazing guards.

Toomey-Stout rattled home seven points to back Wolfe’s nine, with Wells (6), Davison (5), Brown (3) and Pilgrim (1) also tallying points in June Mazdra’s score book.

Hardin and Crumpton each went for 17 to pace Oak Harbor, while Haven Brown popped for 13.

Sophomore Matt Kelley, the lone non-senior on the ‘Cat roster and a former Coupeville athlete through middle school, slipped a single, solitary, free throw through the twines.

Along with the loss, Coupeville took a physical hit, or rather two, as Gavin Knoblich rolled his ankle in warm-ups and Brown took a substantial shot to the chest in an area where he had previously had surgery.

One limped back to the bench before tip-off, while the other spent most of the second half with an ice pack wrapped to his chest, and neither’s status is 100% clear for Saturday’s game.

Whomever is ready and able to go against Bush will come out ready for a scrap, though, which pleases their coach.

“Lots of basketball games ahead,” Sherman said. “I really was proud of the guys. They could have put their heads down and quit, they never did that.

“They worked dang hard and left the locker room tonight ready to get back at it tomorrow,” he added. “Says a lot about their character and desire to grow as a team.”

 

JV:

For a moment, an upset seemed on the horizon. Then the rim turned unforgiving.

Unable to buy a bucket for an agonizingly long time, with shot after shot slithering back out of the bucket, the Wolf second unit saw an 8-3 lead turn into a 43-22 loss.

In the first couple of minutes, however, things were peachy, as freshman Logan Martin hit a gorgeous turnaround jumper to start the season, before Daniel Olson and Grady Rickner splashed three-balls from the back reaches of the parking lot.

Then nothing would drop, near or far.

A couple of treys mixed with some fast-break points off of steals helped Oak Harbor run off 17 consecutive points to end the first quarter, and the damage was done.

The rim wasn’t much more forgiving in the second quarter, as a Cody Roberts free throw and a Tucker Hall put-back off of an offensive rebound was all CHS could muster in the second quarter.

The second half was much more competitive, as the teams plowed through an increasingly rough-and-tumble affair.

With plenty of elbows flying and some fiery words exchanged after fouls, the two squads went toe-to-toe, and mouth-to-mouth, with Coupeville winning the third quarter scoring battle and hanging tough in the fourth.

Olson, who was handcuffed to the bench by early foul trouble, rebounded to score seven of his team-high 10 points in the second half.

Hall tossed in four in support, while Grady Rickner (3), Martin (2), TJ Rickner (2) and Roberts (1) also scored.

Sage Downes, Miles Davidson, Alex Jimenez and Chris Ruck rounded out the opening night roster, with Jimenez acquitting himself nicely when running the point under constant pressure.

 

C-Team:

The night’s biggest mismatch, as a very inexperienced Wolf team faced a Wildcat unit which has played together as a group for some time.

Wanting to build a winning attitude from the ground floor, Oak Harbor coaches elected to keep all their freshmen together on one team, regardless of talent level, and it’s a group to keep an eye on.

On opening night, the ‘Cats rolled to a 63-16 win, dropping seven treys and running away with the game early.

Shawn Day and Gage McLeod paced Oak Harbor with 16 points apiece, with the sweet-shooting Day singing the net for four three-balls.

Coupeville got scoring from five of the seven players on the roster, with Jaylen Nitta, Ben Smith and Brayden Coatney leading the way with four points apiece.

Jonathan Partida and Chris Cernick each added a bucket, while Andrew Aparicio and DJ Stadler also saw floor time for the Wolves.

While it was a rough opener, veteran coach Scott Fox is in it for the long haul, as are his players.

“Oak Harbor has played together for five years and it showed. They looked real good today,” he said. “We have kids who have never played basketball before and played well at times. It’s going to get better from here.”

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Emma Smith had seven kills and four blocks Monday as Coupeville volleyball thrashed South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They were sick. They were tired. They were under siege.

But, in the end, all that mattered was the size of their hearts.

Overcoming illness, weariness and some nicely rowdy visiting fans, the Coupeville High School varsity volleyball squad bounced back from its toughest moment of the season by delivering a classic knock-out punch to its arch-rivals.

The Wolves, backed by their own increasingly enthusiastic band of student supporters Monday, drilled visiting South Whidbey 25-22, 9-25, 25-18, 25-18, sweeping the season series from their next door neighbors.

With the win, CHS jumps to 5-2 in North Sound Conference action, 8-2 overall and solidifies its hold on second-place in the six-team league.

Coupeville trails defending 1A state champ King’s (7-0, 10-1) by two games, with three to play, and is a game up on Cedar Park Christian (4-3, 8-4) and South Whidbey (4-3, 7-5).

Granite Falls (1-6, 3-8) and Sultan (0-7, 3-8), two of the three teams the Wolves play in the final week-and-a-half of the regular season, bring up the rear.

When they took the floor Monday, the Wolves had a lot of excuses for feeling blue.

They were coming off an unexpected five-set loss to Cedar Park Christian in their last match, they were tired after making the long trip East for this weekend’s Wenatchee Invite, and their roster was racked with illness.

To which they said, “shrug it off.”

The spirit was best exemplified by one of the sickest of the bunch, junior Maya Toomey-Stout.

Bent over, frequently coughing into her shirt, both hands taped up, “The Gazelle” looked like a boxer who had already gone 10 rounds.

Which didn’t mean she wasn’t still fully capable of delivering hay-makers that made the court shake, her opponent’s knees quake and her fans lose their ever-lovin’ minds.

Same thing with senior Emma Smith, who came roaring in to open the match with a spike that peeled paint off the floor, and sophomore Chelsea Prescott, who followed almost immediately with a kill which thudded home with so much force it permanently warped the court.

The first time Coupeville and South Whidbey faced off, they played the full five sets, with each frame so close only an error here, a brilliant serve there, provided the slimmest of slim wins for the Wolves.

This time around, other than in a brief burp during the second set, Coupeville controlled the flow of action in every aspect of the game.

The opening set was tied 10 different times, the last at 22-22, but the Wolves only trailed once, and then by only a single point at 13-12.

Coupeville immediately responded, with Emma Smith taking a set-up from Scout Smith (one of her 24 assists) and crushing a spike that started on the left, zinged to the right like a bolt of lightning, then fried any Falcon within a two-mile radius.

From there, Toomey-Stout got down with her bad self, hammering home a winner, popping off a run of sizzlers at the service line, then sealing the deal with an unexpected bit of mid-air ballet.

With the set knotted at 22-22 and the teams rallying, “The Gazelle” suddenly shot up the middle of the court, sprang almost over the net in a single bound, and flicked the ball to the side for a crippling winner.

In that single play, all the momentum shifted Coupeville’s way, and, sure enough, two plays later, Emma Smith sealed the deal, rising majestically on set point to deliver one of her match-high four blocks.

The less said bout the second set, the better, so we’ll keep this brief and … big breath.

Emma Smith and Toomey-Stout delivered a handful of kills, Prescott and Emma Mathusek chased down everything humanly possible, Hannah Davidson had a sweet tip winner, Maddie Vondrak cracked an ace as soon as she hit the floor, and it all wasn’t enough to save the Wolves.

Moving on.

The third set was better, much better, and, even though Coupeville had to fight from behind, not leading until 14-13, the mood in the gym swung big time.

After letting seven South Whidbey students (and the metal sign they were clanging away on) carry the load in the early going, Coupeville’s fan section picked up their game.

With Teo Keilwitz and Gavin Knoblich pounding flag poles on the bleachers, the Wolves took advantage of their larger numbers and finally shouted down the frantic Falcon faithful.

Spurred on by their support crew, the Wolf spikers launched into overdrive, with Prescott and Davidson delivering tip winners that splashed down with a happy little sigh, while Ashley Menges crushed aces down the middle of the floor.

That opened up things for Emma Smith, who blocked back-to-back Falcon shots, one with the palms of her hands, the other with just the very tippy-tips of her fingertips.

With Menges on a final, decisive tear at the service stripe, Toomey-Stout soared airborne, hung there for a day-and-a-half, then knocked all the air out of the ball (and all the willpower out of the Falcons) with a mighty, mighty mash.

If South Whidbey thought it had a chance in the fourth, and final, set, that went away quickly.

Or in about the time it took Toomey-Stout to whip another spike off the back line and out into the parking lot. I’m thinking .002 of a second.

As they surged towards the win, and the final knockout punch, every Wolf on the floor was firing.

Scout Smith dropped a Kareem-style sky-hook for a surprise winner while Mathusek flicked a shot that slowly crawled up and over the net, before suddenly flopping to the floor on the other side, kicking away as an unlucky Falcon ripped out her back muscles trying to lunge for the runaway ball.

And Toomey-Stout?

Jabbing, jousting and jolting, in between filling her shirt collar with germy goodness from frequent coughs, she was in top form, her remarkable skill and soaring heart pulling her tired, battered body along for the giddy ride.

Take a look at a reporter’s notebook and the notations about Toomey-Stout’s play in the fourth set are filled with terms like “rise and destroy,” “launched the eruptor,” smoked a fool” and, finally, “Dang! Think she killed that girl.”

The match ended in the only way possible, as Toomey-Stout, coming up the left side of the floor like a semi-truck with no brakes about to turn a Kia Sorento into a grease spot on the open highway, blasted the ball off the face of a hapless rival.

In the moment, swept along by the joy of the win, the delight of reaching down deep and finding a gear maybe they didn’t know they had, the Wolves rejoiced.

As they did, their coach, Cory Whitmore, one of the few to have escaped the illness besetting the spikers, smiled, while keeping a healthy distance from any coughers.

“We had a mental gut check and came out on the other side of it, which is exciting,” he said. “I’m proud of our mental toughness. The girls don’t make excuses for themselves or for each other, they just raise their play.

“Now, it’s lozenges and orange juice for everyone tomorrow!”

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