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Coupeville’s Mason Grove connected on a trio of three-balls Tuesday, but Sultan answered with 12 treys of its own in a 65-47 Turk win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sometimes all you can do is shake your head and mutter “Dang…”

When your team plays strongly, has an early lead and then gets buried under an avalanche of three-balls, the kind of avalanche where six different rival players hit from behind the arc, there’s not much else left to do.

It was that kind of night Tuesday for the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball team, as visiting Sultan nailed 12 treys en route to a 65-47 win.

The loss, coming in the North Sound Conference opener, drops the Wolves to 0-1 in league play, 0-6 overall.

Even while losing, CHS did not play badly.

The Wolves shot out to an 8-1 lead after freshman Hawthorne Wolfe banged home back-to-back three-balls of his own.

One came during a coast-to-coast jaunt by the fab frosh, who leads his team in scoring this season, while the second was a rainbow set up by a beautifully-timed kick-out pass from deep in the paint by Ulrik Wells.

With Wells and Gavin Knoblich each slapping home a bucket of their own, and Mason Grove exploding off the bench to caress the net with his own three-ball, Coupeville led by as many as five points in the first quarter.

But what seemed like a minor slow-down, with Sultan scoring the final two buckets of the opening frame on inside moves, became something far, far worse.

The free-flowing Wolf offense on display in the game’s early moments sputtered and wheezed for a bit, as the Turks ran off the first 12 points of the second quarter.

The 16-0 surge, which crossed quarters but never slowed down, turned a five-point deficit into an 11-point lead for the visitors, and they would never relinquish the advantage.

Coupeville finally broke the dry spell on a long jumper from Jered Brown, and the Wolves scraped back to within six, but then a disturbing trend starting rearing its head.

Sultan, once it started shooting from behind the arc, rarely missed, and the Turks, time and again, used an artfully-shot three-ball to blunt every single Wolf run for the remainder of the game.

Cameron Gunderson was the primary culprit, swishing six treys as he rolled up a game-high 22 points, but nearly every one of his Turk teammates was locked-in, as well.

The third quarter was a prime example.

CHS cuts the lead to 12 off of an offensive rebound and put-back by Sean Toomey-Stout?

Bam. Bam. Back-to-back Turk three-balls.

The Wolves rebound to cut a 20-point margin back to 13 right before the end of the third quarter?

Bam. Bam. Bam. Sultan hits two treys to close the quarter and a third to open the final frame.

Coupeville’s best sustained play of the night came right after the Turks drained that three-ball to open the fourth quarter.

A 10-0 run, helped out by four free throws, Wolfe making a dash coast-to-coast for a layup and Knoblich slapping home a basket off of a steal and dish by Toomey-Stout, made things interesting.

And then, one last time … bam, bam, as the Turk three-ball express made its final stops.

“Give Sultan credit where it’s due,” said Coupeville coach Brad Sherman. “They shot the ball extremely well tonight. Extremely well.”

While CHS couldn’t match Sultan’s long-range launching (the Wolves hit six treys of their own, with Grove netting three), Coupeville held its own in other areas.

The Wolves won the turnover battle, a special point of pride for Sherman, and a young team in transition continues to grow. The 47 points were a season-high.

“We moved the ball well on offense and got good looks; I’m happy with that,” Sherman said. “I thought our offensive movement continues to improve.

“Also, as a coaching staff, we continue to be impressed with the effort and work being put in by our guys,” he added. “They’ll be here tomorrow, heads up and ready to work, and that’s huge.”

Coupeville will have some time to fine-tune things before its next league game.

The Wolves travel to Concrete Friday for a non-conference clash, then have trips to Port Townsend and Nooksack Valley ahead on the schedule.

CHS doesn’t return to league play until Jan. 4, when it travels to King’s to kick off the final nine games of the 10-game conference season.

Tuesday night the Wolves spread out their offensive load, with eight of the nine players who saw floor time scoring,

Brown singed the nets for a team-high 11 points, with Wolfe and Grove chipping in with nine apiece.

Wells (6), Toomey-Stout (5), Knoblich (4), Koa Davison (2), and Jacobi Pilgrim (1) also scored, while Dane Lucero hit the boards with intensity.

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Jered Brown knocked down a season-high 11 points Wednesday to lead Coupeville’s scoring attack against Friday Harbor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“The coaching staff is really, really proud of these guys.”

Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball coach Brad Sherman is still looking for his first win of the new season, but, four games in, he can’t, and won’t, fault his players for their heart.

“I’m really proud of the hustle and effort we are showing every game,” he said. “We’re starting to find our shooting rhythm, as well, which is nice to see.”

While a quick glance at the scoreboard after Wednesday’s 60-40 non-conference loss to visiting Friday Harbor might indicate a one-sided game, it was anything but.

Coupeville, now 0-4 on the season, used a hail of three-point bombs to hang with a team which had a huge height advantage, but one bad stretch ultimately doomed them.

The Wolves had fought back from a 10-point first-quarter deficit to knot the game at 18-18, and only trailed by a bucket after Gavin Knoblich slapped home a rebound put-back with a minute to play in the first half.

Down just 24-22 and having at least momentarily muted the inside play of Friday Harbor’s 6-foot-8 and 6’6 post players, CHS was on the move.

And then the rim swore a vendetta against the Wolves, and not a shot would drop for an agonizingly long time.

Friday Harbor took advantage, slipping a pair of free throws through the net, turning a steal into a two-handed jam, and then, worse of all, hitting a desperation three-ball right before the halftime buzzer.

Sean Toomey-Stout gave Coupeville a small sliver of hope when he alertly stripped the ball as Friday Harbor attempted a second dunk on the final play of the half, but the 7-0 surge was a killer, emotionally, mentally and on the scoreboard.

The break didn’t ease the shooting curse, as the Wolves continued to have shots pop out, roll away and take weird bounces through much of the third quarter.

By the time CHS junior Jered Brown hit a one-hander in the paint, after a feed from Jacobi Pilgrim, Friday Harbor had run off 16 straight points and turned a one-basket game into a semi-romp.

Brown banged home a step-back three-ball a moment later, and the Wolves played the visitors almost dead even in the fourth, but the damage in the middle of the game was too much to overcome.

Once the lead ballooned out, Coupeville wasn’t able to get closer than 17 down the stretch.

A big part of that was Friday Harbor’s dominance on the boards, as tree toppers Marshall Clark (29 points) and Kyle Mapstead (14) used their long arms to snatch away many of the caroms and convert them into put-backs from close range.

The Wolves didn’t go down easily, with Ulrik Wells, at 6’4 Coupeville’s only true big man, snatching his fair share of boards.

Meanwhile, the 5’10 (and super springy) Toomey-Stout rejected a couple of shots that caught the Friday Harbor players (and their fans) by surprise.

Coupeville’s best run in the game came when the game was still fairly young.

Down 18-8, with Brown and Mason Grove having hit three-balls, the Wolves dropped three consecutive treys to start a crowd-pleasing comeback.

Freshman Hawthorne Wolfe, whose first bucket of the night came on a play in which he twisted himself into a pretzel in mid-air to get around a defender, nailed the first three-ball.

After that, Grove stepped up, launching a three-point special to end the first quarter, then another to open the second.

A Toomey-Stout free throw capped Coupeville’s 10-0 run and seemed to signal nothing but good times ahead, but the offense is still a work in progress for a young, transitioning Wolf squad.

“We’re improving each game; it’s just little things we need to fix,” Sherman said. “We need to take a little better control of the ball, be a little more patient.

“Our bigs (Wells, Dane Lucero, Pilgrim, Knoblich, Koa Davison) played really tough tonight, which was a big task against a big front line like that,” he added. “They all played pretty dang hard.”

Brown and Grove each netted their season-best scoring performance, with 11 and nine points, respectively, while Wolfe, the team’s leading scorer, added eight.

Wells (4), Toomey-Stout (4), Davison (2) and Knoblich (2) rounded out the scoring attack, with Davison’s bucket, off an offensive rebound, settling through the net with 0:00.1 to play.

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Gavin Knoblich looks for room to operate while ref Phillip Renninger, dad of CHS stars Sage and Avalon, keeps a non-partial, hawk-like eye on the proceedings. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Jered Brown directs traffic.

Sean Toomey-Stout hits second gear, with the air disturbance blowing teammate Koa Davison’s hair straight back.

Even on a Saturday, the CHS student section draws a crowd.

Hawthorne Wolfe gets adventurous with his dribbling.

That moment right before Mason Grove breaks all the ankles.

Fastest camera in the West.

Despite spending most of Saturday at a wrestling meet, John Fisken legged it back to Whidbey just in time to catch the final minutes of the Coupeville High School boys basketball game against The Bush School.

The pics above are the first Wolf action shots from the new season, with many more to come.

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Thora Iverson keeps a watchful eye on the runner. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Jake Pease holds the line at third, slapping on the tag.

Sage Renninger perfects the art of Zen tennis.

Chloe Wheeler crunches a hit as she helps propel the Wolves to another win.

Johnny Carlson is comin’ home, mama.

   Wolf netters Kameryn St Onge (left) and Maggie Crimmins are trapped in a chain-link fence of emotion.

You can see Chelsea Prescott’s pitches, but that doesn’t mean you can hit them.

Jered Brown pops in for a quick visit at third. His real destination? Home plate.

Just about everything went right for Coupeville High School athletics Tuesday afternoon.

The Wolves swept to three wins in four games, knocking off a pair of 2A schools in tennis and softball and nabbing a landmark win on the soccer pitch.

Plus, after a lot of rain, the day was dry and somewhat sunny and noted camera bug John Fisken was in town and clicking away.

During his visit to the prairie, the paparazzi hit JV softball, varsity tennis and JV baseball bouts, delivering a smorgasbord of glossy pics.

The photos above are courtesy Fisken, but, if you want to see everything he shot, pop over to:

Baseball:

http://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Baseball-2017-2018/2018-03-27-JV-vs-Sequim/

Girls Tennis:

http://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/2017-2018-Coupeville-Tennis/2018-03-27-Girls-vs-Granite-Falls/

Softball:

http://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Softball-2017-2018/2018-03-27-JV-vs-Sequim/

And, when you do, remember, purchases help fund college scholarships for CHS student/athletes.

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Julian Welling snags a hot shot at first. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Saturday was a busy day, for all of us.

Five Coupeville High School athletic teams took advantage of the nice weather, with three playing on the road.

Meanwhile I was in Maple Valley, deep into a week-long odyssey of helping my sister and her family move back to Whidbey after a 15-year exile on the main land.

At this point, I am running on very little sleep, and still have one more day of non-Coupeville Sports grunt work ahead of me, and Saturday was also short on wins for the Wolves.

So, we’re going to mix things up a bit and make this story a four-for-one special.

That guarantees I uphold my part of our unwritten agreement – that you, the readers, can peruse the previous day’s sports exploits with your morning cereal.

While also getting me to bed sometime before 3 AM in the morning…

So, we’re off.

JV baseball:

The lone Coupeville win Saturday came courtesy of the Wolf young guns, who held on for a 5-3 victory at Vashon Island.

CHS broke open a scoreless game in the top of the fourth, taking advantage of four Pirate errors and a crucial one-out single from Shane Losey to plate four runners.

Another run in the fifth, this one featuring a single from Jacob Zettle and a sac fly from frosh Daniel Olson, capped Coupeville’s scoring.

That was enough for Wolf hurlers Johnny Carlson and Jered Brown, who combined to cruise in with the win.

Coming on in relief in the fifth, Brown was spot-on, striking out five over three innings, including Vashon’s final four hitters.

Zettle, Losey, Olson, Brown and Drake Borden all whacked base-hits in the game, helping the JV nab their first win in three games this season.

Varsity softball:

It started so strongly, but then something went a little haywire.

After crunching four hits and scoring three times in the top of the first, Coupeville’s offense hit a lull, and the Wolves fell 11-3 at Vashon.

The non-conference loss drops the softball sluggers to 2-1 on the season.

The Wolves came off the ferry on fire, with Lauren Rose walking to open things, followed by four consecutive singles off of the bats of Scout Smith, Katrina McGranahan, Veronica Crownover and Hope Lodell.

With McGranahan and Crownover picking up RBIs, things looked great for CHS.

And, while Vashon scraped out two runs of its own in the bottom of the first, the Wolves held on to a 3-2 lead until the bottom of the fourth, when a six-run rally by their hosts took a little bit of the shine off the day.

After putting together four straight hits in the first, the Wolves didn’t collect another hit until Coral Caveness singled in the fourth.

Sarah Wright and Crownover punched base-hits in the fifth, as well, but the rally ended before it began, and an interference call on a Wolf runner derailed any comeback hopes in the seventh.

“Today was just not our day,” said Coupeville coach Kevin McGranahan. “We were a little off all day and never really had an answer for it.

“Vashon hit the ball well all day and they hit the gaps. Our defense had some little errors but all in all it was a good defensive day,” he added. “Today our offense let us down and we paid for it.

“We will see them again at districts and next time we will give them a better game.”

Varsity baseball:

A day after ten-running North Mason, Coupeville was ten-runned by Vashon Island, falling 10-0 in five innings on the road.

The non-conference loss drops the Wolves diamond men to 3-3 on the season.

“Ran into a tough team,” said CHS coach Chris Smith. “Good opponent to see we need to keep working.”

Coupeville put runners on base in four of five innings, but a double play in the first killed their best chance of getting an early rally up and going.

The Wolves were out-hit 9-3, with Vashon tagging three extra-base hits.

Joey Lippo, Dane Lucero and Kyle Rockwell collected Coupeville’s lonely base-knocks, while Wolf hurler Matt Hilborn walked twice.

Varsity boys soccer:

The myth endures.

Klahowya won its 24th straight 1A Olympic League game, blanking Coupeville 5-0 in a game played on Whidbey.

The loss drops the Wolves to 1-1 in league play (they’re tied with Port Townsend), and puts them a game-and-a-half behind the Eagles (3-0), who are seeking a fourth-straight conference title.

Facing a stingy KSS defense, Coupeville was held scoreless for the first time in five games this season, and sits at 2-2-1 overall.

“The first half we kept things close,” said CHS coach Kyle Nelson. “We had a number of good opportunities, and played pretty much even with them, only conceding a counter attack goal late in the half.

“The second half did not go as well;  Klahowya came out a little more aggressive in the second half and we didn’t match it,” he added. “The boys pretty much ran out of gas.”

Still, the first half gives Coupeville hope for the  next time.

“We did see that we can play with them, we just need to do it for the full game,” Nelson said. “I will be looking forward to our rematch with them; I know we can do better.”

JV boys soccer:

Coupeville fell 7-1. And that’s all I know.

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