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Posts Tagged ‘Island rivalry’

Grady Rickner tossed in a team-high 10 points Wednesday as the Coupeville JV hoops squad rumbled with Oak Harbor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Different game, different hero.

This year’s Coupeville High School JV boys basketball team is very balanced, with scoring threats at every position.

On opening night, Sage Downes had the hottest hand. Jump forward a night, and it was Grady Rickner’s turn.

The lanky sophomore tossed in a team-high 10 points Wednesday in Oak Harbor, leading a pack of nine Wolves who scored in a 68-40 loss.

Five players, led by Rickner, nailed three-balls, but it wasn’t enough to save Coupeville, which fell to 1-1 headed into its home opener.

That comes Saturday, when the Wolves host Orcas Island in another non-conference game.

Wednesday’s bout was a rock-em, sock-em affair from the start, with Oak Harbor bolting out to an 18-5 lead after one quarter of play.

The second frame was the most high-powered of the evening, with the teams combining for 38 points.

The talented Wildcats held the edge in that one, as well, using a 21-17 spurt to push the lead out before the half.

Rickner swished a pair of treys while piling up his 10 points, with Cody Roberts, Sage Downes, Logan Martin, and Alex Jimenez also hitting from long distance.

Downes finished with six points, while Jimenez (5), Daniel Olson (4), Roberts (4), Alex Murdy (4), Martin (3), Chris Cernick (2), and TJ Rickner (2) also dropped their names into the scoring column.

Rounding out the active Wolf roster were hard-playing hustlers Chris Ruck and Miles Davidson.

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Hawthorne Wolfe singed the nets for a career-best 34 points Wednesday in a wild overtime game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

What a difference a year makes.

In last season’s opener, Coupeville, a 2B-sized school playing out the string in 1A, faced off with their next-door neighbor, 3A Oak Harbor, in a boy’s basketball game, and came within a bucket of losing by 50 points.

Wednesday night, on the second night of a back-to-back road-trip, the Wolves came within a bucket of flat-out beating their big-school rivals.

Oak Harbor escaped, scoring the final five points in overtime to eke out a 73-69 win in their opener, but Coupeville delivered a big statement.

The Wolves, who sit at 0-2 headed towards their own home opener Saturday against Orcas Island, won’t back down.

And they won’t have to, if they get play like they did Wednesday, when sophomore guard Hawthorne Wolfe burnt the whole gym down, and CHS big men Ulrik Wells, Jacobi Pilgrim, and Koa Davison came up huge in crunch time.

Wolfe will get the big headlines, and he deserves them, after tossing in a career-best 34 points.

Along the way, Coupeville’s modern-day “Pistol Pete” connected on seven three-balls and went on a 12-0 run by himself at one point.

It was the kind of blow-your-socks-off performance which carries you, in one night, past 21 former CHS players on the program’s career scoring chart.

Wolfe exited the Oak Harbor gym, just two games into his sophomore campaign, sitting in a tie with current Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock.

The duo each have 198 points in a Coupeville uniform, putting them in a (probably momentary) deadlock at #132 on the chart, which covers 103 seasons.

A quick three-ball from Wolfe tied the game at 3-3, then, with his team trailing 8-3, the CHS gunner went off on the kind of hot streak from long-range his coach, Brad Sherman, used to be known for back in the day.

Three straight trips down the floor, and three straight daggers, as Wolfe knifed the Wildcats from the top of the arc with pull-up jumpers which caressed the net as they slid through.

Not content to stop there, he capped his run by spearing a wayward pass and crashing hard to the hoop for a fourth-straight three-point play, but this one the hard way.

Slapping a layup high off the glass, Wolfe absorbed the hit, then calmly went to the line and plunked the ensuing free-throw to set the ‘Cats back on their heels.

Sean Toomey-Stout added a layup of his own, ripping the ball free and careening the length of the court on a breakaway, and suddenly a 14-0 run had Coupeville in front 17-8.

It would be the biggest lead of the night for the Wolves, but Oak Harbor had plenty of fight of its own.

Closing the first quarter on an 8-2 run, the Wildcats got back within 19-16 at the break, then netted one of their 12 three-balls on the opening play of the second quarter to knot the game back up.

If Oak Harbor thought their rivals would blink, Gavin Knoblich had an immediate answer, and that answer was “SIR, NO, SIR!,” as the Wolf senior netted his own trey from the top of the arc a split second later.

Eight more points from Wolfe, with a pair of long-range bombs and a sweet pull-up jumper off a delightful dish from running mate Mason Grove, and Coupeville refused to give the lead back.

Wolfe wasn’t the only one hitting, as Davison banked home a runner, and Grove hit pay dirt of his own from three-point land, sending CHS to the halftime break up 35-31.

That was just the setup for a wild ‘n woolly second half.

The third quarter was a roller-coaster ride, with Oak Harbor claiming a one-point lead, Coupeville responding with an 11-2 run sparked by Wolfe, Grove, and Jered Brown, then the Wildcats storming back once again.

Four ‘Cat three-balls to end the quarter, packaged around one trey from Wolfe, staked the hosts to a 50-49 lead headed into the final (we thought) quarter, sending Oak Harbor fans into a tizzy.

But the Wolves had their own fanatics in attendance, ready to rock their share of the gold ‘n purple encrusted gym I hadn’t visited since back in my Whidbey News-Times Sports Editor days.

How long ago was that?

Well, none of the players on the floor Wednesday were alive in the mid-’90s, so it’s been a moment or two.

If Coupeville’s weapon of choice through the first three quarters had been the long-range bomb, in the fourth the Wolves let the tall dudes go to work down low.

Wells, holding his own in the paint against Oak Harbor star (and could-have-been Coupeville teammate) Matt Kelley, sank a pair of short jumpers to tie the game at 53-53.

Then things got frantic.

Exchanging shots to the ribs, the teams traded the lead seven times down the stretch.

Davison (a put-back), Wells (a bank shot off the glass), and Toomey-Stout (two pressure-packed free throws in front of a hysterical crowd) gave CHS momentary one-point leads.

Back down 61-59 with a little over a minute to play, the Wolves got the tying bucket from Pilgrim, off a dish from Brown, then the go-ahead score on a Davison hook shot.

A pretty, pretty shot, it was set up by a HUGE offensive rebound from Pilgrim, who went between two Wildcats to rip the ball free.

An Oak Harbor miss away from one of the biggest wins in recent memory, Coupeville kept the ‘Cats from lofting another three-ball, but a running jumper from the side with 33 ticks to play was enough to force yet another tie.

CHS had the final shot in regulation, thanks to Wolfe popping his biceps and out-wrestling a rival who tried to force a jump ball, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Kelley, who played for Coupeville through eighth grade, opened overtime with a layup, but Toomey-Stout answered with a ferocious offensive rebound and put-back bucket.

With both fan sections losing their collective minds, the teams swapped leads after that.

Slashing to the hoop off of an in-bounds play, Wolfe garnered the final points of his breakout performance with a layup, before another Davison hook, thrown up in the middle of a mob, gave CHS a 69-68 edge.

Oak Harbor rose to the moment one final time, however, drilling their final three-ball of the night, then hitting two free throws as the final seconds ticked away on Coupeville.

Eight of the nine Wolf players to see the floor scored, and the one who didn’t, Tucker Hall, delivered one of the night’s best hustle plays.

Holding on for dear life against a ‘Cat player who had 30 pounds on him, at least, the lanky Wolf senior went up and over his rival, riding the bucking bronco while refusing to let go of the rock, earning a key jump ball.

Wolfe’s 34 topped all scorers, while Davison banked home eight, and Toomey-Stout, Grove, and Wells all popped for six.

Pilgrim (4), Knoblich (3), and Brown (2) rounded out the attack.

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Hannah Davidson, seen in an earlier game, fought hard on the boards Wednesday in a losing cause. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

There was a moment Wednesday when it seemed we were set up for a battle royal.

Then, that moment vanished.

Unable to stop Oak Harbor’s bigs, and unable to take advantage of a staggering advantage at the free throw line, the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball squad fell 44-25 to their 3A hosts.

The road loss, coming less than 24 hours after a win at Darrington, evens the Wolves early-season record at 1-1.

After a slow start Wednesday, in which it fell behind 8-0, Coupeville steadied the ship thanks to the combo of Scout Smith and Chelsea Prescott.

Playing smart ball at both ends of the floor, the duo pulled their team back within 12-10 midway through the second quarter and things looked promising.

Smith got the Wolves on the board with back-to-back buckets, one off of a steal and breakaway, the other on a nice dish inside from Izzy Wells set up by a Carolyn Lhamon offensive rebound.

Tack on four free throws from Prescott, the only CHS player able to hit consistently from the charity stripe, then Smith came rolling hard around the left side, slapping a runner off the glass.

Fighting hard on the boards even while facing a distinct height disadvantage — Oak Harbor has five girls between 5’11 and 6’1 while Coupeville has just one — the Wolves were pushing their big-school neighbors.

But then the cracks started to show.

Oak Harbor ended the first half with five straight points to take a 17-10 lead into the locker room, then turned up the heat with a game-deciding 14-5 surge in the third quarter.

After Smith’s bucket midway through the second quarter, Coupeville didn’t hit another field goal until the final play of the third frame, with Avalon Renninger swishing a short jumper off a well-executed in-bounds play.

Oak Harbor’s height proved to be too much, though, most notably on a play where the Wildcats snatched about 37 straight offensive rebounds before Payton Parks slapped home a put-back.

When Parks and Anna Jones weren’t rumbling in the paint, the ‘Cats rode a strong performance from the multi-talented Mikhaela Cortez.

The 5’11 senior went off for a game-high 15 points, scoring inside on quick cuts and layups, and outside, where she drilled the bottom of the net out on a pair of long-range three balls.

Unable to string together back-to-back buckets at any point during the second half, Coupeville couldn’t mount a comeback, though the Wolves did achieve some nice grace notes.

Sophomore Kylie Van Velkinburgh and freshman Nezi Keiper both notched their first varsity buckets in the fourth quarter, with Keiper’s layup coming courtesy of a smartly-delivered set-up pass off the fingers of Anya Leavell.

The young duo are the 228th and 229th Wolf girls to score since the modern-day CHS varsity hoops program began in 1974.

Smith finished with 10 points to pace CHS, Prescott added five, and Renninger, Davidson, Maddie Georges, Keiper, and Van Velkinburgh all finished with two apiece.

Leavell, Wells, Tia Wurzrainer, Lhamon, Audrianna Shaw, and Mollie Bailey all saw floor time as Coupeville coach Scott Fox used all 13 players on his roster.

As Coupeville moves on to play Orcas Island at home Saturday, the one Wednesday stat which may haunt them is an 11-27 performance at the free throw line.

Oak Harbor, which rises to 2-0 with the win, finished 8-11 at the charity stripe.

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CHS sophomore Savana Allen tied for team-high scoring honors in Wednesday’s JV basketball game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

A short turnaround and a talented foe.

That made for a rough evening Wednesday for the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball squad.

Back on the court for the second time in less than 24 hours, with both games on the road, the young Wolves fell 37-12 at Oak Harbor.

The non-conference loss to the 3A Wildcats evens Coupeville’s record at 1-1 on the season.

The Wolves now get a bit of time off, from games at least, with the home opener against Orcas Island set for Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday night, CHS stumbled out of the gate, falling behind 12-2 at the first break.

While the Wolves did better in the second and fourth quarters (6-2 and 6-3 deficits), a 13-5 third quarter hurt as well, and they weren’t able to slow down Oak Harbor.

“It was a tough one out there,” said Coupeville coach Megan Smith. “We just couldn’t find our footing and ended up playing Oak Harbor’s game instead of ours.”

While the final score was a bit lopsided, the Wolves had their moments.

“We’ve got some things to work on, but I also saw great things from our girls!,” Smith said. “Savana (Allen) and Ella (Colwell) really stepped up today and that was really fun to watch.”

Allen and Colwell dropped in four points apiece to lead the scoring, Ryanne Knoblich banked home a bucket, and Morgan Stevens and Heidi Meyers each added a free throw.

Gwen Gustafson, Claire Mayne, Lily Leedy, Natalie Castano, Jessenia Camarena, Samantha Streitler, and Alita Blouin also saw floor time for the Wolves.

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Sophia Martin and Coupeville High School girls soccer have at least one more home game, and possibly as many as three. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

By Wednesday, we’ll know what’s what.

The North Sound Conference girls soccer season wraps up that night, and all six teams still have unanswered questions.

Monday night, Coupeville fell 4-0 to South Whidbey, King’s bopped Sultan 6-1, and Granite Falls blanked Cedar Park Christian 3-0.

That leaves South Whidbey (9-0 in league, 13-0-1 overall) and King’s (8-1, 11-4) headed for a fierce finale Wednesday in Shoreline.

The Falcons could win the league title outright, or the Knights, who are the defending champs, could rally to earn a share of the 2019 crown.

The other games, which ultimately mean more to Coupeville fans, have Sultan (1-8, 1-12-2) visiting Cedar Park (4-5, 7-6) and Granite Falls (4-5, 7-7) coming to Whidbey to clash with the Wolves (1-8, 1-11-2).

It’s Senior Night for CHS, with a 6 PM varsity-only kickoff.

The game could be the final home appearance for Wolf 12th graders Avalon Renninger, Mallory Kortuem, Anna Dion, Tia Wurzrainer, and Natalie Hollrigel.

But, it doesn’t have to be.

If Coupeville and Sultan remain deadlocked through Wednesday’s games, they would be tied for the fifth, and final, playoff berth from the North Sound Conference.

The Turks would then hop on a bus Thursday, and travel to Coupeville to play a tie-breaker game.

Kickoff would be 6 PM, the game would consist of two 20-minute halves (half the normal time), and the winner would live on, while the loser would start planning the postseason banquet.

Now, if Coupeville has that #5 playoff seed, either by beating Granite Wednesday while Sultan loses to CPC, or by thumping the Turks in a tie-breaker, there would be yet another home game.

That would be Saturday, with a 1 PM kickoff.

The opponent would be the #4 seed from the Northwest Conference (likely Mount Baker), and it would also be a loser-out game, with the winner advancing on to districts.

Both the Thursday and Saturday games, if they happen, will operate under regular-season pricing, which means they’d be free.

If the Wolves are still standing after Saturday, the rest of their postseason run (with playoff pricing) would be 100% on the road, beginning with a trip Monday, Oct. 28 to the home of NSC #3.

Which could be Cedar Park or Granite.

Got that straight? Cause there will be a test.

Monday’s game was played in a rainstorm which made the South Whidbey pitch extremely slick.

Facing off with the beast of the league, the Wolves held up well, at least for a time.

“We held them scoreless until about five minutes to play in the first half,” said CHS coach Kyle Nelson. “Unfortunately they put in three in quick succession.

“The second half we did a better job of holding them out, conceding only one.”

Coupeville came close to getting on the scoreboard, with Anna Dion smacking a shot off of the goal post during one attack on the Falcon goal.

That continued a season-long trend for the Wolves, who have been inches away from doubling their 10-goal output.

“I think we just may lead the league in shots that have hit the goal post or crossbar,” Nelson said with a small smile.

 

JV caps season:

Coupeville’s second squad also fell 4-0 in the rain Monday, with numerous players shining through the gloom.

Lily (Leedy) played her heart out; Katelin (McCormick) can kick a ball like no other … AMAZING,” said Wolf mom Stephanie Grimm.

Sam (Streitler) would not let a ball in, killing it at keeper,” she added. “Aurora (Cernick) protected the keeper like no other. Brekyn (Clark) worked amazing with Lily.”

This was the first time in memory CHS has had enough players to field a JV team, which gave Nelson a chance to get much more playing time for the girls who are the future of the program.

The second team was competitive in every game, and beat Port Townsend for the highlight of the season.

“Nice to have a JV go out and play quite a few games this year,” Nelson said. “We lost last night, but the progress over the course of the season was clearly evident.”

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