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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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Chris Ruck was one of eight JV players to score Tuesday night against always-tough King’s. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Mason Grove hit four treys as part of a team-high 14 points in the varsity game.

And we shall never see you again.

With Coupeville High School finally being granted a chance to return to 2B status starting next school year, the chances the Wolves will play private school power King’s in coming seasons is extremely limited.

Tuesday night the CHS boys basketball teams made the trip to Shoreline for their farewell tour, absorbing three more losses to one of the state’s premier hoops programs.

Instead of rehashing it all across three articles, we’re going to compress it into one, and then move on, with the Knights in our rearview mirrors.

At least in this sport, since the Coupeville girls basketball teams make their final trip to Shoreline Jan. 28, and then there’s spring sports.

But soon, very soon.

So, about tonight…

 

Varsity:

King’s is playing for nothing less than a state title this season.

Featuring a power-packed team that can kill you inside or outside, the Knights convinced most of the North Sound Conference teams to only play them once, and not twice.

With extra spots open on the schedule, the private school juggernauts added 2A and 3A schools to the mix, and went to Arizona for a big-time holiday tourney.

So, while King’s might be just 9-8 on the season (5-0 in league play), it’s a very-deceptive win-loss record.

Tuesday night went about as expected, as six-foot-seven sophomore sensation Tyler Linhardt pumped in 27 points across the first three quarters and King’s rolled to an 81-29 win.

The loss drops Coupeville to 1-4 in league action, 4-9 overall, though Wolf coach Brad Sherman emerged from the game with a positive mindset.

“We fought hard against a very, very tough team,” he said. “Proud of the effort, attitude, and fight in our guys.

“Ready to get back to work tomorrow. Still a lot of season left!”

Coupeville, which is still very much in the fight for either the 4th or 5th playoff seed from the NSC, has five regular-season games left, starting with a trip Friday to Bothell to play Cedar Park Christian.

Tuesday night the Wolves fell behind 20-6 after one quarter, then got roughed up 27-0 in the second frame.

The second half was much better, as CHS stayed competitive through the game’s final 16 minutes.

Mason Grove paced Coupeville with 14 points, all after the break, including hitting four three-balls.

His support crew included Hawthorne Wolfe (7), Koa Davison (2), Sean Toomey-Stout (2), Jacobi Pilgrim (2), and Gavin Knoblich (2), while Jered Brown, Jean Lund-Olsen, and Xavier Murdy all saw floor time.

Not to be lost in the defeat were personal milestones for three Wolf players.

Pilgrim’s bucket gives him exactly 100 points for his prep career, making him the 186th CHS boy to reach triple digits in 103 seasons of hoops action.

While the senior big man was notching that honor, backcourt gunners Grove and Wolfe continued their assault on the career scoring chart.

Grove, a senior, now sits with 321 points, and he moved from #90 to #85 all-time Tuesday, passing five former Coupeville players, ranging from old school star Bob Rea to recent alumni Gabe Wynn and Nick Streubel.

Meanwhile, Wolfe, just a sophomore, now has 335 points, and he broke out of a three-way tie with Brad Brown and Charlie Tessaro at #78, then passed Aaron Trumbull (330) and Jim Yake (331) to land at #76 on the career chart.

 

JV:

A four-game winning streak came to a stop for Coupeville, as Chris Smith’s squad fell 62-30.

Even with the loss, the Wolves are still sitting strong at 4-1 in league, 8-4 overall.

King’s jumped out to an 18-7 lead, then steadily added to the margin, until CHS fought the Knights to an 8-8 standstill in the fourth quarter.

Logan Martin and Sage Downes were twins on the night, both scoring a team-high eight points, while also both netting a pair of three-balls.

Also scoring for Coupeville were TJ Rickner (4), Grady Rickner (3), Chris Ruck (2), Alex Murdy (2), Chris Cernick (2), and Daniel Olson (1).

Alex Jimenez, Miles Davidson, Andrew Aparicio, and Cody Roberts rounded out the roster, all seeing floor time for the Wolves.

 

C-Team:

Improvement was the key word.

Despite playing without starters Ty Hamilton and Ben Smith, the young Wolves increased their scoring total seven times from last season.

Back then, CHS fell 60-3, while Tuesday night, it hung tough in a 63-21 loss.

The defeat drops Coupeville to 0-4 in league play, 1-7 overall.

Freshman Dominic Coffman spurred the much-improved offensive attack, rattling home a team-high nine points, while Brayden Coatney added six.

Coen Killian and Alex Wasik both dropped three-balls to round out the scoring, with Coffman also hitting on a shot from behind the arc.

Josh Upchurch, Caleb Sonntag, and Nick Armstrong also saw floor time for Patrick Upchurch’s squad.

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