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Posts Tagged ‘La Conner’

Coupeville senior Jonathan Valenzuela overcame an eye injury Wednesday, hitting a buzzer beater to upend La Conner on its home floor. (Morgan White photo)

Did he call glass?

For that matter, how clearly could he even see the glass?

Playing with his right eye partially closed off after an early game injury which twice sent him to the sidelines, Coupeville High School gunner Jonathan Valenzuela hit one of the biggest buckets in program history Wednesday night.

Hauling in a cross-court pass from freshman Chase Anderson, the Wolf senior banked in a buzzer-beating three-ball from WAY behind the arc, lifting the Wolves to a stunning 57-56 win over host La Conner.

The shot capped a wild game which featured two Coupeville starters fouling out, the Braves clanging 16 free throws, and massive mood swings.

The fourth-straight win for the Wolves, and seventh in their last eight games, it lifts CHS to 2-1 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 9-5 overall.

It also keeps Coupeville’s record perfect against fellow 2B schools at 4-0, and flawless in games played off of Whidbey Island, with Brad Sherman’s squad 6-0 when away from the misty isle.

The victory could also have huge repercussions on playoff seeding, with two of three 2B schools in the NWL making the playoffs, and the top seed from that trio hosting its opening bi-district game.

Wednesday’s win leaves Coupeville at 1-0 in the three-team tango, with a home rematch against La Conner Feb. 7 and two bouts with Friday Harbor still ahead.

The Wolverines, struggling at 1-10 on the season, visit Whidbey Jan. 27, then host Coupeville Feb. 10 in the regular-season finale.

La Conner beat Friday Harbor in their first meeting, so the Braves are 1-1 in the seeding chase, with the Wolverines at 0-1.

Those teams play a second time Feb. 3.

For now, thanks to Anderson and Valenzuela’s magic, and a lot of small hustle plays which loomed large in a titanic rumble, Coupeville controls its own destiny.

To get to that point, the Wolves had to overcome the loss of sparkplug Dominic Coffman and leading scorer Logan Downes, who both picked up a fifth foul in a game where CHS was whistled for 23 fouls to just 15 for the home team.

Having overcome a 10-point deficit thanks to a torrid run late in the third quarter, Coupeville was clinging to a 47-44 lead when Downes was sent to the bench with six minutes to play.

With the Wolf junior averaging 25 points a game, the Wolves had to find their offense someplace else in the stretch run, and they did.

Cole White snapped the net on a short jumper, before Alex Murdy buried a three-ball from the top of the arc, and CHS looked golden, up 52-44.

The good times didn’t last, however, as La Conner closed the game on a 12-2 surge across almost all of the final five minutes.

Murdy knocked down Coupeville’s lone bucket in that stretch, converting a highlight-reel run through a pack of Braves, and the final two of his team-high 17 points proved to be huge.

But La Conner was trying to write its own miracle finish, and almost pulled it off, capping an 8-0 run when Braden Thomas sank a short jumper to stake the Braves to a 56-54 lead.

That left four ticks on the clock, the home fans were losing their minds, and everything, and I mean everything, had to go right for Coupeville to pen a Hoosiers-style finale.

So, that’s exactly what happened.

Wolf big man William Davidson alertly called a timeout on the inbounds play, moving the ball from the backcourt to halfcourt.

That put the ball in the hands of Anderson, a stone-cold killer who rarely betrays his youth in the heat of the moment.

The fab frosh had ended the third quarter with a fairly sensational buzzer beater of his own, banking in a runner from the left side to cap a 10-0 Wolf spurt.

That earned high praise from his fellow players and Coupeville fans, who chanted “He’s a freshman!” over and over during the ensuing break in action.

Chase Anderson, seen here in an earlier game, came up huge against the Braves. (Chloe Marzocca photo)

A quarter later, Anderson found himself handed the ball on the sideline, and, as his teammates broke, “The Magic Man” made the absolute perfect entry pass.

Murdy went flying by, sucking defenders with him, which allowed Valenzuela to pop open on the other side of the court.

Anderson, showing off the powerful throwing arm which marks him as Coupeville’s likely starting quarterback once Downes departs the gridiron, launched the ball and dropped it on a dime.

Valenzuela, his right eye bandaged, puffy, and still marked by blood after being roughed up by the Braves during an early-game scrum, never hesitated.

Ball on his fingers, ball flies far away, ball banks home, Wolf faithful lose their collective minds and storm the floor.

Jimmy Chitwood would be proud.

Valenzuela’s bomb capped a rough-and-tumble affair which La Conner controlled for much of the first half.

The Braves, behind a rampaging Isaiah Price, who scored 22 of his game-high 29 in the opening 16 minutes, led 17-13 at the first break, then pushed the lead to double digits twice in the second quarter.

The final time came at 36-26, but Coupeville didn’t break.

Instead, just as they did in their previous game against Neah Bay — another one-point win, just without the buzzer beater — the Wolves clawed back, cutting the lead right before halftime.

Valenzuela and Coffman each hit a free throw, off of the same foul, as Valenzuela, blood dripping down his face, was sent to the sideline after converting the first of what was supposed to be two charity shots.

Anderson closed the half by burying a three-ball, with Murdy snagging an offensive rebound and kicking it out to the young gunner.

The third quarter raised the intensity, with Murdy rejecting a La Conner shot, and Coffman and Cole White drawing offensive charges on the Braves.

Still trailing 42-35 midway through the third, Coupeville reclaimed the lead by scoring the final 10 points of the period, with Valenzuela, White, Nick Guay, and Anderson rattling the rim on successful shots.

That set up the fourth quarter fireworks, with the final result leaving CHS coach Brad Sherman mentally exhausted, but happy.

Winning back-to-back games by a point will do that for a guy.

“Wow! These guys never quit,” Sherman said. “A lot of guys stepped up tonight.

“La Conner is a tough team,” he added. “Really big to leave with a win – specially to do it that way!”

With Downes saddled with rare foul trouble, Coupeville spread its offense among multiple players.

Murdy led the way with 17, reaching an even 350 for his high school career, while Downes banked in 16 of his own in limited minutes.

That was still enough to lift him to 564 career points, and he moves from #44 to #39 on the all-time CHS boys’ career scoring chart for a program launched 106 years ago.

With his work against La Conner, Downes passes old-school Wolf hoops stars Marc Bissett (549), Jim Syreen (550), Roy Marti (551), and Randy Duggan (552).

Anderson (9), Valenzuela (8), White (4), Guay (2), and Coffman (1) also scored Wednesday, with Zane Oldenstadt, Ryan Blouin, and Davidson seeing floor time.

Riding high after back-to-back thriller wins, Coupeville faces one of its biggest tests Friday, when it travels to Mount Vernon Christian to face a 12-5 squad.

The Wolves beat the Hurricanes 44-39 the first time around, but that game was a “non-league” game against a league foe.

Friday’s matchup, however, counts in the NWL standings.

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Aiden O’Neill makes his move. (Chloe Marzocca photo)

They may never lose again.

Getting buckets from nine players Wednesday, the Coupeville High School JV boys’ basketball team roared past host La Conner, winning 51-30.

The fifth straight victory for the young Wolves, it lifts them to 2-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 6-3 overall.

Hunter Smith’s squad built an early lead against the Braves, before blowing things wide open with a dramatic third-quarter run.

Up 14-11 at the first break, Coupeville stretched the margin to 29-19 by the half, while saving its best for right after halftime.

Jack Porter and Aiden O’Neill both popped for five points in the third frame, including a three-ball apiece, as CHS torched La Conner 14-0.

From there, the Wolves strolled in for the win, running their road record to a pristine 4-0 on the season.

With Coupeville’s next game involving a bus trip to Mount Vernon Christian Friday, that bodes well for the young guns.

Landon Roberts prepares to break a defender in half. (Delanie Lewis photo)

O’Neill paced the Wolves at La Conner, splashing home a pair of three-balls en route to a game-high 10 points.

Hunter Bronec (8), Malachi Somes (7), Jack Porter (7), Chase Anderson (6), Landon Roberts (4), Johnny Porter (4), Hurlee Bronec (3), and Camden Glover (2) also scored, with Carson Field and Yohannon Sandles seeing floor time.

Somes, Hunter Bronec, and Jack Porter all connected on three-balls, joining O’Neill in the long-distance club.

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Ryanne Knoblich (front) and Mia Farris put up a good fight Wednesday at La Conner. (Karen Carlson photo)

Look, it wasn’t the best of nights.

Playing the middle game in a run of three straight road bouts against state title contenders, the Coupeville High School varsity girls’ basketball squad got roughed up a bit Wednesday at La Conner.

The score, which came out in favor of the host Braves to a 72-16 tune, stings.

The loss drops Coupeville to 1-2 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 5-7 overall, heading into a Friday trip to Mount Vernon Christian to face the defending 1B state champs.

Tack on a lopsided loss to Neah Bay in their most-recent appearance on the hardwood, and the Wolves are in endurance mode, pushing through with an eye on the schedule getting a little more balanced after they get through this week.

And yet, while CHS, playing without its best rebounder in injured Carolyn Lhamon, struggled to mute La Conner’s advantage in the paint, there were bright spots.

None bigger than a play late in the game from Lyla Stuurmans.

Back on the floor after missing the Neah Bay game, the springy sophomore pulled off a move which captured the Wolves gritty spirit even in the face of adversity.

Coupeville trailed by 55, there were less than three minutes to play, and La Conner had yet another breakaway rolling.

Instead, Stuurmans, still fighting, just like the other four Wolves on the floor, sprinted the length of the floor, slid in front of an oncoming Brave at the last moment, planted herself, and absorbed a bruising blow.

Selling it to the refs while bouncing off the floor with a grimace, the defensive dynamo got the call, the ref emphatically signaling an offensive charge on La Conner.

It wasn’t a play to win a game.

It wasn’t a play that could change much of anything by itself.

But it’s the kind of play every coach worth their salt wants to see a young player make.

Ignore the clock, ignore the score, and execute selflessly.

Do it down 55 with under three to play, and you’re likely to make the same play in the heat of a much-closer game at crunch time.

It’s a building block, and one Stuurmans, her teammates, and her coaches, can look at and say, with pride, “This is how we play, every play.”

La Conner’s top players are seniors, the Coupeville varsity is giving plenty of floor time to a strong group of sophomores, and the Wolf JV beat the Braves JV Wednesday night.

Things can change, life comes at you fast, and sometimes stepping in front of an oncoming semi-truck on the hardwood is the key to starting a renaissance.

Stuurmans’ fellow sophomores also had their moments against the Braves.

Mia Farris led Coupeville in scoring, knocking down three buckets under duress to account for six points, while Katie Marti scrapped in the paint, relentlessly chasing rebounds and rolling through the paint for a bucket of her own.

Madison McMillan and Jada Heaton, along with junior Skylar Parker, all saw floor time late in the game, as well, showing no fear — always a good sign.

Coupeville’s seniors didn’t back down, either, with Alita Blouin splashing in five points in support of Farris, while Ryanne Knoblich (2) and Gwen Gustafson (1) also scored.

Wolf seniors Alita Blouin (left) and Maddie Georges contemplate roughing up the refs. (Karen Carlson photo)

Point guard Maddie Georges, playing on the birthday of older brother Alex Evans, put up a spirited fight, zipping passes left and right and knocking down the best shot of the game.

Unfortunately, the refs, being sticklers for upholding the rules, declined to count the bucket.

Racing up court in a bid to beat the buzzer at the end of the first quarter Georges drilled the bottom of the net out on a shot released from just inside the halfcourt line.

The ball arced high, kissed the glass, and flipped through the net.

But the shot clearly left Georges fingers after the buzzer sounded, so there wasn’t much point in arguing about the ref waving the three points off the scoreboard.

Still, it was a pretty, pretty shot, something even the officials seemed to acknowledge.

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Desi Ramirez-Vasquez hit big buckets Wednesday as Coupeville’s JV beat La Conner. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Road, sweet, road.

The Coupeville High School JV girls’ basketball squad has played some of its best games away from its own gym this season, and Wednesday night was a prime example.

Leading from start to finish, Kassie O’Neil’s band of road warriors held off host La Conner, claiming a solid 28-22 win.

The victory lifts Coupeville’s young guns to 2-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 5-5 overall, heading into another road tussle Friday against Mount Vernon Christian.

Wednesday’s rumble in La Conner was close for a quarter, with the Wolves clinging to a 4-3 lead after a defensive-minded opening eight minutes.

But then O’Neil turned Madison McMillan loose, and CHS made its move.

The Wolf sophomore knocked down seven of her game-high nine points in the second frame, with Teagan Calkins and Bryley Gilbert chipping in as Coupeville busted things open with a 10-5 run.

Teagan Calkins gets scrappy.

Up 14-8 heading into the second half, the Wolves pushed their advantage out to 20-11 by the end of the third, then held on as La Conner rallied late.

McMillan’s nine-point effort led a well-balanced offensive attack, with Desi Ramirez-Vasquez going off for all eight of her points after halftime.

Kierra Thayer banked in four points in support of the duo, with Carlota Marcos-Cabrillo (2), Jada Heaton (2), Calkins (2), and Gilbert (1) rounding out the scorers.

Reese Wilkinson, Brynn Parker, Kayla Arnold, Kassidy Upchurch, Skylar Parker, and Liza Zustiak also saw floor time for the Wolves, who won for the third time on the road this season.

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Suzanne Marble (second from right, back row) built La Conner into the premium volleyball program in the region. (Photo property WIAA)

It’s a nice parting gift.

Suzanne Marble, who retired after winning seven state titles in a 30-year run as La Conner High School volleyball coach, is being inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Hall of Fame.

With everyone playing catch-up thanks to the pandemic, the WIAA is honoring both the Class of 2021 and Class of 2022 at the same time, with the event set for May 3 in Renton.

The 11 inductees from the two classes include administrators, contributors, athletes, coaches, and officials.

Marble fills the coach slot for the class of 2022, while Phil Lonborg, who coached five sports in his career while working at Timberline and River Ridge, is the ’21 selection in that category.

The WIAA Hall of Fame includes such heavy hitters as professional athletes John Stockton, Ron Santo, and Kate Starbird, as well as the state’s winningest football coach, Sid Otton¬†— best known for being my 9th grade health teacher at Tumwater High School.

Marble, a graduate of Mead High School in Spokane, led La Conner to 574 wins, bringing home state titles in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022.

The Braves are four-time defending 2B champs, as there was no state tourney in 2020 because of pandemic restrictions.

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