Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Valenzuela’

Cole White kick-starts the offense. (Morgan White photo)

The first surge, they overcame. The second was a crippler.

Playing with fiery intensity Saturday night, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball squad pushed visiting Lakewood hard.

But while the Wolves survived a 12-0 Cougar run early, they couldn’t overcome a hail of three-balls in the third quarter, which turned a four-point game into a 16-point deficit.

The result?

A 77-61 non-conference loss to a 2A school, but a defeat which could pay huge benefits down the road.

The Wolves, now 0-2 on the young season, open with a tough non-league schedule.

The goal is to help shape a new-look team under fire, to get them ready to defend their title once Northwest 2B/1B League play starts in January.

The early games, which continue next week with a road trip to Tacoma to play Concordia Christian Academy, followed by a home game with Sultan, is the gauntlet set up to build a strong Wolf team.

And that strong team is already here, at least in parts, as Coupeville played Lakewood to a virtual standstill if you toss out the third quarter.

Having fought back from a 14-point deficit, the Wolves went to the half on the high of a 14-4 run.

It was fueled by seven points off the bench from junior Nick Guay, with the final bucket a three-ball which tickled the twines a millisecond ahead of the buzzer.

The Wolves had whipped the ball around the arc, keeping the leather moving and away from Lakewood defenders, before Guay stepped up and made all the fans scream.

Coming on the heels of another trey, this one from Ryan Blouin, and a short jumper from Cole White off a feed from rumbling big man William Davidson, Guay’s buzzer-beater cut the margin to 32-28.

Coupeville, which got a huge spark on both ends of the floor from Jonathan Valenzuela, looked ready to go toe-to-toe, and shot-for-shot, with Lakewood.

Until the Cougars started dropping daggers.

Led by Benjamin Rucker, who popped five three-balls as part of a game-high 23-point performance, Lakewood suddenly couldn’t miss from long distance as the second half began.

Valenzuela slapped home a pair of buckets, before Logan Downes went off for Coupeville’s next nine points, but the Cougars were collecting two baskets for every one the Wolves scored.

In a game in which the two teams tallied the same exact number of points in the second and fourth quarter, and Lakewood was narrowly ahead 18-14 at the end of the first frame, the third quarter was fatal.

The Cougars finished the eight-minute span with a 25-13 advantage, and the die was cast.

Coupeville still fought impressively in the fourth quarter, from Downes getting back on defense to deliver a resounding blocked shot, to Alex Murdy converting a pair of steals into breakaway buckets.

Three Wolves — Chase Anderson, Jermiah Copeland, and Davidson — notched their first varsity points as well, but CHS ultimately couldn’t get its deficit back down to single digits.

While Rucker finished with 23, Downes almost matched him, tossing in 16 of his team-high 22 points in the second half.

Many of his buckets came on bold rampages through the paint, as the junior crashed hard to the hoop again and again, often with the refs ignoring the multitude of defender arms hitting him in the face.

Valenzuela, who snatched rebounds off the glass and prowled like a panther unleashed, finished with 10 points for CHS, with White (8), Guay (7), and Murdy (6) also coming strong.

Blouin (3), Anderson (2), Copeland (2), and Davidson (1) rounded out the offense, while Dominic Coffman and Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim provided a defensive spark.

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When rival quarterbacks have nightmares, it’s because they’re dreaming about being chased down by Jonathan Valenzuela. (Davin Houston photos)

Davin Houston has skills.

On the football field, the Coupeville Middle School 8th grader is a talented player, just like older brothers Dawson and Daylon.

While Davin has to wait until next year to take the field for the high school squad, he’s spent the season as part of the program.

As he learns and prepares for his own time in the spotlight, the young Wolf has also shown a nice touch with the camera, as seen in the pics above and below.

They capture Coupeville players in the aftermath of their 43-14 win at Friday Harbor, which clinched the program’s first trip to the state tourney since 1990.

Aiden O’Neill (left) and Daylon Houston enjoy the moment.

Daylon (3) talks strategy with Dominic Coffman. “So, run right over everyone. That should work great.”

Valenzuela carries a message of love to the gridiron.

O’Neill (23) and Chase Anderson, already key contributors as freshmen.

The future’s so bright, he’s gotta wear shades.

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A Wolf cheerleader is ready to rock the joint at Friday’s Battle for the Bucket. (Photos by Helen Strelow and Jackie Saia)

She’s got skills.

Coupeville High School senior Helen Strelow is a top student, and an accomplished tennis and cross country athlete who has been to the state meet in the latter sport.

Now, camera in hand, she swings by to show off her photography bona fides, making an auspicious debut with her work at Friday’s football game between the Wolves and South Whidbey.

Offering up a mix of on field and off field action, Helen comes out of the gate strongly.

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Xavier Murdy and his fellow CHS seniors will be honored Friday. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

One small break can be brutal.

Playing less than 24 hours after winning a battle for league supremacy, the Coupeville High School varsity baseball team took a small step backwards Thursday afternoon.

Dinged by back-to-back fielding errors at a crucial moment, the Wolves fell 3-1 at South Whidbey, allowing the Falcons to earn a season split in the series between next-door neighbors.

The non-conference loss drops Coupeville to 11-6 heading into Senior Night Friday against visiting Orcas Island.

The first time the Wolves and Falcons clashed this season, CHS pulled out a 3-2 win at home. Second time around, just as close, but not with as positive an ending.

“Probably some big game hangover,” said Coupeville coach Will Thayer.

The Wolves were likely still buzzing after handing Friday Harbor its first Northwest 2B/1B League loss of the season a day before, and they quickly jumped on South Whidbey when Hawthorne Wolfe rapped a leadoff double.

Unfortunately, the speedy senior never made it all the way home, starting a day-long trend in which Coupeville put runners on base in every inning, yet couldn’t break out a big rally.

The lone run for the Wolves came in the top of the third, when Jonathan Valenzuela smacked a two-out triple, then skittered home on a double off of Scott Hilborn’s bat.

Coupeville collected seven hits — three from Sage Sharp — and two walks, but stranded eight of those nine runners, making life dicey.

Valenzuela, who whiffed five while going the distance on the mound, pitched well, but South Whidbey scratched out just enough offense to carry the day.

Jonathan Valenzuela brings the heat.

The Falcons plated one run in the first, with a walk to Grady Davis bringing Nick Black in to score.

It was the bottom of the third which proved to be Coupeville’s Kryptonite, however, as Ashton Leland and Andrew Hilton both tapped home for South Whidbey thanks to Wolf errors.

From there, Coupeville was in lock-down mode, with catcher Xavier Murdy throwing out two would-be base stealers.

The Wolves cap a three-games-in-three-days run with Friday’s tilt with Orcas, and they’ll honor seniors Murdy, Wolfe, Cody Roberts, Cole Hutchinson, and Sharp.

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Hawthorne Wolfe and fellow seniors are ready to dominate the diamond. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Will Thayer may need to pace himself.

The Coupeville High School baseball guru is entering his third season at the school but will finally be getting his first crack at a full schedule.

Thayer’s first job at CHS — as an assistant coach with Wolf softball — evaporated when all spring sports were erased by the pandemic.

Last year, he stepped into a new role atop the school’s baseball program, but schools only played against league rivals, with no chance of advancing to playoffs.

Toss in some cancellations, and Thayer and Co. had to make do with a 10-game schedule, one in which they went 7-3 to finish second in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

But this spring, hope abounds, with Wolf baseball eyeing a 20-game regular season campaign, and the postseason the prize at the end of the road.

Add in the end of mask mandates and Covid testing for prep athletes, and the mood is joyful.

“I think the biggest thing for these players was no notes and no masks seemed to be what they were the happiest about on the first day of practice,” Thayer said.

“Playing a full 20 games will be awesome and having something to play for like district titles and playoffs,” he added. “Playing a normal schedule will be a blessing to me.”

Only one team beat Coupeville last season, and the Wolves are chomping for some revenge.

“Friday Harbor is going to stand in our way, and, if we come together, we should be able to take the title away from them,” Thayer said.

Coupeville’s coaches and players have a list of items to accomplish, from being league and district champs, to returning to the state tournament, and “continuing to build the program.”

Thayer only lost one player to graduation and returns a roster which offers “lots of senior leadership.”

“I think pitching and defense will be our strength this year,” he said.

Cody Roberts headlines Coupeville’s pitching staff. (Morgan White photo)

Now the Wolves want to add some pop when batting.

“Just becoming more consistent at the plate,” Thayer said. “We have lots of great athletes; if they become consistent hitters, we will be able to do some special things this year.”

Seniors Cody Roberts (P, OF), Hawthorne Wolfe (P, OF), Xavier Murdy (P, C, INF), and Sage Sharp (UTL) lead the returnees, and are joined by juniors Scott Hilborn (P, SS) and Jonathan Valenzuela (P, 3B) and sophomore Peyton Caveness (1B).

Senior Caleb Meyer, a Little League star back in the day, returns to Coupeville for his final season, while junior Alex Murdy joins his brother on the diamond with soccer having moved from spring to fall.

And the cupboard won’t be bare when this year’s deep senior class departs, as the Wolves have a solid group of freshmen and eighth graders joining the program.

“I’m excited about young talent like Chase Anderson, Camden Glover, Landon Roberts, and Jack and Johnny Porter,” Thayer said.

Scott Hilborn is a vacuum at shortstop. (Morgan White photo)

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