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Sisters Kassie (left) and Kayla Lawson were key players for the 2007-2008 CHS girls basketball squad. (Photo poached from Laurie Smith)

It was the best of times.

Jump back 13 years to January 4-5 in the year of Our Lord 2008, and the Coupeville High School girls basketball team was on fire.

Coming off of a two-week break between contests, the Wolves exploded into the new year with back-to-back wins in a 24-hour span, running their winning streak to five games.

While that CHS hoops squad eventually finished 10-10 (at least according to the scorebook), head coach Blake Severns got a taste of what was to come, with super sophomores Megan Smith and Ashley Manker ripping up the hardwood.

The Wolves, as usual, were repping a small school in a league full of athletic heavyweights like Archbishop Thomas Murphy and Cedarcrest, but they were ultra-competitive.

And that was never more apparent than during that two-day stretch in early January, when they won in two different towns, including taking down private school baddie King’s on its home floor.

Coupeville actually swept the two-game season series from the Knights in 07-08, beating the richniks a second time on The Rock Jan. 18.

So they had that going for them, which was really, really nice.

But back to Jan. 4-5, as the Wolves returned to the court after not playing since a Dec. 21 win over Friday Harbor.

Following thumpings of South Whidbey and Granite Falls, that ran their win streak to three, before Christmas and such arrived to shut things down.

Based on what we can glean from the scorebook, the layoff may have slapped some rust on Coupeville’s shooting touch, as it scraped together just two buckets in the first eight minutes, trailing visiting Sultan 10-6 after one frame.

Smith splashed home the first three-ball of the new year, while Shawna West matched her point total with a basket and a free throw.

Charity shots were a problem all night for the Wolves, though, as they converted just one of five from the line in the opening quarter, and finished 9-25.

Yet still won by double-digits, so, maybe free throws are overrated.

Said no coach ever.

The second quarter was a bit better, with Kayla Lawson and Manker each tossing in four points apiece, while the Wolf defense clamped down on the Turk shooters, forcing a 14-14 tie at the half.

With their shooting fingers loosened up, and their defense still locked-in, the Wolves used a 9-3 run in the third to take the lead, then coasted home for the win.

The final frame was a frantic one, however, at least on the scoreboard, as the two squads combined to score 46% of their total points in just one eight-minute stretch.

It was 23-17 at the end of the third, yet the fourth was its own game, with five Wolves scoring (and four successfully hitting free throws!) during a torrid 19-15 battle royal.

Smith tickled the twines for her third trey of the night, while Paige Mueller slipped through the defense for a quick four points, but it was Manker who stood tallest.

Capping a game-high 14-point performance, Coupeville’s inside threat racked up three buckets and a pair of free throws in the final quarter.

On the night, six of nine Wolves to see action scratched their names in the scorebook, with Smith (11), Mueller (6), Kayla Lawson (4), West (4), and Kassie Lawson (3) all scoring.

Marie Hesselgrave, Hayley Ebersole, and Sarah Vass also saw floor time, while future scrappy Wolf star Courtney Boyd was likely creating havoc while cheering from the bench.

While the win was a nice one, Severns and his crew had little time to bask in the afterglow of a 42-32 win.

They were heading off to Shoreline the very next day, their four-game win streak at stake as they prepared to face off with the evil empire.

King’s had the name, but not the game this time out, though, as Coupeville jumped on them early, survived a third-quarter scare, then escaped out the door with the big W.

Kassie Lawson peppered the rim for a pair of first-quarter buckets as the Wolves came out super-balanced, with six players netting points before the halftime break.

Up 10-6 after one frame, CHS held King’s to just a pair of free throws in the second quarter en route to amassing a 19-8 advantage through 16 minutes.

Then, the Knights woke up. At least for a bit.

Using a 21-11 surge in the third, King’s closed within a single, solitary point at 30-29 headed into the closing eight-minute leg.

To which the Wolves, to a woman, apparently said, “No problemo.”

Smith and West anchored Coupeville down the stretch, combining to score nine of their team’s 12 fourth quarter points, while Manker banked in a bucket and Kassie Lawson drained a key free throw.

It was a very-effective one-two punch, as Smith, who finished with a game-high 14 points, and West, who tallied 10, scored 18 of Coupeville’s 23 second-half points.

Backing them up, Manker finished with six, while Kassie Lawson (5), Mueller (4), and Ebersole (3) also scored in a 42-37 win.

Heading home, things must have looked really good for the Wolves, then 6-3, even though they would have known the remainder of the schedule was going to be brutal.

Just 10 days away was a rematch with King’s.

That turned out to be one of the biggest single-game moments in CHS hoops history, as Kassie Lawson banked in a buzzer-beating three-ball in overtime, sending the Knights weeping to the locker room after a 33-32 Wolf win.

Smith, who would finish her prep career as the #4 scorer in Coupeville girls hoops history (#3 at the time, but Makana Stone was on her way) led the Wolves in 07-08, banking in 255 points.

She was one of three CHS players to break triple digits that season, with Manker (151) and West (122) providing able support.

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Savina Wells rumbled for a team-high 12 points Wednesday, as Coupeville’s #1 middle school hoops team battled King’s. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Lyla Stuurmans ran the point for the Wolves, and was a firecracker on defense.

Big shots, big rallies, big effort.

All three Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams acquitted themselves nicely Wednesday, fighting hard against the toughest opponents they will probably see this season.

While none of the Wolf squads could pull out a win against private school power King’s, they didn’t let the visitors walk all over them, and that bodes well for the rest of the campaign.

How the day played out:

 

Level 1:

What could have been.

Last year King’s opted not to play against other local middle school teams, so Coupeville’s undefeated 8th grade squad never got the chance to match-up with the high-flying Seattleites.

This year, with a new format where 7th and 8th graders mix and match across three teams, the Wolves got their crack, and came dangerously close to pulling off the KO.

Up 25-16 late in the third quarter, CMS fell prey to a late barrage of three-balls and couldn’t quite hold on in what turned into a 41-28 defeat.

The loss evens Coupeville’s record at 1-1 on the season, and is the only time the Wolves face King’s during their 10-game schedule.

After Wednesday’s battle royal, CMS hits the road Jan. 19-20 to face Sultan and South Whidbey.

Showing no fear whatsoever, Coupeville’s top squad came out and won the tip, thanks to the long arms and big hops of 7th grader Savina Wells, then went right at King’s.

Wells scored all of her team’s first quarter points, dropping eight on a pair of free throws followed by three rampages to the hoop.

On all three trips, she went over, under, or around King’s defenders, while on the move, before slapping home the ball with the kind of conviction and precision rarely seen at the middle school level.

While the Wolves trailed 9-8 at the first break, thanks to King’s nailing a three-ball right before the buzzer, the game felt like a draw.

And it stayed that way, literally, as the teams fought through a defensive brawl of a second quarter, emerging knotted up at 12-12 when the halftime break arrived.

Wells added another bucket on a coast-to-coast romp, while fellow 7th grader Madison McMillan came up big in the paint, yanking down a rebound and going back up strongly for the put-back.

If King’s thought Coupeville was a one-woman team, though, they got a wake-up call in the third quarter.

Lauren Marrs and Brionna Blouin, 8th graders who live to knife foes by raining down three-balls, went bonkers coming out of the break, each banging home a pair of treys.

Both of Blouin’s bombs were classic rainbows fired from the top of the arc, while Marrs got creative.

On her first three-ball, she pulled up from somewhere out in the parking lot and ripped the bottom of the net out with an absolute laser, prompting mom Emili to fire off high-fives to everyone in sight.

Not content to wow the masses just once, Marrs capped a 10-0 Wolf run with a trey which took 17 bounces as the ball hit every part of the rim and the backboard, shot straight up, then did a backward somersault through the net.

That staked CMS to a 25-16 lead, sent the CMS faithful into hysterics, and shook the King’s coaching staff to its core.

But, the private school snipers haven’t been paying to play AAU ball for years just to roll over at the first sign of trouble.

Give King’s credit.

It weathered the storm, fed the ball to its best player, the “Queen of Flops,” on a regular basis, and when she wasn’t taking graceful swan dives to the floor at the slightest contact, she was a rebound-ripping, big-bucket-scoring beast.

Her teammates patrolled the outer ranges, draining three-balls off of kick-outs, and King’s closed the third quarter on a 9-0 streak to tie things at 25-25, before dominating in the fourth.

Coupeville’s shooting touch took a slight vacation across the game’s last seven minutes, with the Wolves unable to hit a field goal in the final frame.

While the game didn’t end quite the way the Wolves wanted, they exited with nothing to hang their heads about, having pushed a superior opponent hard from opening tip to final buzzer.

Wells finished with a team-best 12 points, giving her 32 through the first two games of the season, while Marrs (7), Blouin (6), McMillan (2), and feisty point guard Lyla Stuurmans (1) also scored.

Allison Nastali and Desi Ramirez also saw floor time, and both provided a nice spark on the defensive end of the floor.

 

Level 2:

The day’s closest game, as Coupeville’s second squad fell 25-14 in its season opener.

The first foe on the schedule this year was Northshore Christian, which has only one team.

Because of that, neither Coupeville’s #2 or #3 team had been in a live game until Wednesday.

And the tilt with King’s was close.

Toss out the third quarter, when the visitors forced a string of turnovers during a 10-2 surge, and the deficit would have been just 15-12.

CMS started a bit slowly, getting just a Grey Peabody bucket — off of a nice inbounds pass from Katie Marti — during a 9-2 first quarter.

But flip the page to the second quarter, and the game took a big swing.

Trailing 11-2 after King’s swished a pullup jumper to open the frame, the Wolves turned up the defensive heat and it paid off.

Unleashing defensive ballhawks Kaitlyn Leavell and Taylor Brotemarkle, who got scrappy and then some, hitting the floor hard in pursuit of loose balls, CMS kicked its offense into high gear.

The wolves closed the half on a 7-0 run, with Reese Wilkinson banging home a pair of buckets in the paint after overpowering her defender down low.

Toss in another Marti to Peabody basket, again off of a well-executed inbounds lob, and Coupeville was clicking.

While their shooting touch cooled down a bit during the halftime break, the Wolves got more scoring in the fourth from Peabody, as she used a variety of moves to rack up a team-high nine points.

Wilkinson added four and Marti slipped a free throw through the twines to round out the scoring.

Aby Wood, Kayla Arnold, Issabel Johnson, Brotemarkle, Skylar Parker, Jada Heaton, Leavell, and Chloe Marzocca also saw floor time as CMS coach Alex Evans spread out the minutes.

 

Level 3:

Coupeville’s third squad was also making its season debut, and while the final score of 34-7 would seem fairly lopsided, you can’t, and shouldn’t, ignore the heart shown by a collection of Wolf girls who are mostly brand-new to the game.

Heaton, one of the few CMS players on the floor with any prior experience, led the way, dropping in a team-high three points and playing spirited defense.

She rattled home Coupeville’s lone first half point, netting a free throw as her team fell behind 18-1.

To their credit, the Wolves played strong defense in the second quarter, limiting King’s to just a lone basket.

The third quarter was the closest frame of the game, with Bryley Gilbert, Alena Osborne, and Heaton all banking in buckets for CMS.

Kassidy Upchurch, Shayla Town, Devika Vogelsang-Puente, Aubrey Blitch, Pamela Morrell, and Gabriella Becktell also saw floor time for the Wolves, with all showing hustle, scrappiness, and a burning desire to learn.

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Don’t look now, but the playoffs are around the corner. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

We’re down to the final days.

Both Coupeville High School varsity basketball teams have just one regular-season game left on the schedule, then it’s on to the playoffs.

Win or lose Tuesday, when they host South Whidbey on Senior Night, the Wolf girls are locked in as the #3 seed from the North Sound Conference.

Things are a little more up in the air for the CHS boys, who travel to Sultan Tuesday for their finale.

Win, and they go into the postseason as a #4 seed, and get automatic entry into the double-elimination portion of the district playoffs.

Lose to the Turks, and Coupeville’s boys will carry a #5 seed and host a loser-out play-in game against Mount Baker.

As we head towards those regular-season finales, a quick look at where things stand:

 

North Sound Conference girls basketball:

School League Overall
King’s 5-0 14-5
CPC-Bothell 8-1 15-5
Coupeville 5-3 11-5
South Whidbey 3-5 9-10
Sultan 2-6 6-13
Granite Falls 0-8 4-16

 

North Sound Conference boys basketball:

School League Overall
King’s 6-0 10-9
South Whidbey 7-1 15-3
CPC-Bothell 6-3 12-7
Coupeville 2-6 6-11
Sultan 2-6 4-14
Granite Falls 1-8 3-17

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Mollie Bailey was one of five Coupeville varsity players to score Tuesday as the Wolves played state power King’s for likely the final time. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They still control their own playoff destiny.

So, that’s the positive to take away.

Despite absorbing a rough loss Tuesday in Shoreline to state title contender King’s, the Coupeville High School girls varsity basketball team is just a win from clinching third-place in the North Sound Conference.

The Wolves, who suffered through a cold shooting performance, greatly helped along by a Knights squad which is brutally-efficient, fell 54-13 to the private school power.

The loss drops Coupeville to 4-3 in league play, 10-5 overall, with two regular-season games to play.

King’s (5-0, 14-4), which is only playing fellow NSC teams once this season, sits atop the standings, followed by Cedar Park Christian (7-1, 14-5).

Thanks to South Whidbey (3-5, 9-10) falling to Sultan (2-5, 6-11) Tuesday, the Wolves are a game-and-a-half up on their next-door neighbors.

Win Friday at home against cellar-dweller Granite Falls (0-7, 3-15), and Coupeville clinches the #3 seed to the double-elimination district playoffs, which begin Feb. 10.

Tuesday night was likely the final time the Wolves will play King’s, barring a playoff meeting, as Coupeville returns to 2B next school year.

Before it goes, CHS got a reminder of why the Knights perennially rep one of the best hoops programs in the state, in any classification.

Bolting out to a 17-4 lead after one quarter of play, King’s just got better from there, rolling to 17-0 and 16-2 advantages in the next two frames.

While the Wolves didn’t play terribly, and actually came out on top 7-4 in the fourth quarter, pretty much no one on the roster could get the rim to play nicely.

“We couldn’t throw a pea in the ocean,” mused CHS coach Scott Fox. “King’s pressure was good, and we couldn’t generate any offense.

“That combo gets you in the loss column.”

The Wolves got their fair share of solid looks at the basket, but nothing wanted to drop.

“We played hard and one after another of our shots rolled around the rim and fell out,” Fox said. “One of those nights … on to (play) Granite Falls!”

Freshman Carolyn Lhamon came off the bench to score a team-high four points, all in the final frame, while Scout Smith added three, with all of her scoring coming courtesy free throws.

Chelsea Prescott, Mollie Bailey, and Avalon Renninger rounded out the offense with two points apiece, while Audrianna Shaw, Izzy Wells, Hannah Davidson, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, Tia Wurzrainer, Anya Leavell, and Maddie Georges saw floor time.

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Jessenia Camarena chucked in a bucket Tuesday night, helping the Coupeville JV as it battled King’s. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s all about learning from your mistakes.

The Coupeville High School JV girls basketball squad is a solid team, often inspired, but Tuesday night it ran into a better version of itself.

Facing a King’s team which took advantage of any errors, the Wolves fell 41-18 in their final trip to Shoreline.

With the loss, Coupeville slips to 5-2 in North Sound Conference action, 9-4 overall.

The young Wolves have three games left on their schedule, all at home, and a chance to finish strongly.

The JV hosts Granite Falls Friday, then welcomes South Whidbey and La Conner to town the following week.

While her team fell to the always-strong Knights, CHS coach Megan Smith came away from the contest feeling pretty good about things overall.

“We played well, but they played better,” she said. “They really capitalized on our mistakes and used them to their advantage.

“The nice thing about games like this is it really shows us what we truly need to work on.”

Tuesday’s tilt was largely decided in the first quarter, as King’s bolted out to a 13-2 lead and never looked back.

Coupeville kept things much closer over the next two frames, but, even then, the Knights used 9-4 and 9-5 runs to stretch the margin out.

Wolf freshman Ryanne Knoblich had the hot hand for the visitors, banging home eight points, including four in the final quarter.

Joining her in the scoring column were Alita Blouin (5), Anya Leavell (2), Jessenia Camarena (2), and Gwen Gustafson (1).

Morgan Stevens, Ella Colwell, Mollie Bailey, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, and Audrianna Shaw also saw floor time for the Wolves.

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