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Maddie Georges (with ball) tossed in seven of her 14 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday, as Coupeville’s 8th graders rallied to remain undefeated. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Three games, three very different results.

Hitting the road for the second time in as many days, the Coupeville Middle School girls basketball teams traveled to Lakewood Wednesday, returning home with a big win, a narrow loss, and a not-so-narrow defeat.

How the afternoon played out:

 

8th grade varsity:

The most-successful Wolf squad of them all continued its unbeaten season, rallying late to knock off their hosts 35-29.

Saved by a 14-5 tear in the fourth quarter, with Maddie Georges tossing in half of Coupeville’s points, the Wolves kept their record pristine at 6-0.

In the early going, the situation, if not dire, was still not what CMS coach Alex Evans might have hoped for when he sent his players on the floor.

Down 15-10 after a furious first quarter in which five different Wolves scored, Coupeville needed a bit of a spark.

And they found it by clamping down on defense, limiting Lakewood, a large middle school which funnels athletes to a 2A high school, to just 14 points over the final three quarters.

It still took the Wolves some time to retake the lead, however, as their own second-quarter offense was limited to a pair of free throws, one each from Georges and Carolyn Lhamon.

Trailing 19-12 at the half, CMS kept the defensive lock-down in place, cutting the lead down to three after a 9-5 run in the third fueled by four points apiece from Georges and Gwen Gustafson.

With Coupeville’s inside bangers, Lhamon and Nezi Keiper, held relatively in check, it was the Wolf guards who led the comeback and eventual win.

Georges knocked down seven of her team-high 14 in the fourth frame, while Alita Blouin tossed in five of her eight points at the same time.

Gustafson chipped in with a season-high seven, while Lhamon added four points, and Ryanne Knoblich banked home a bucket to round out the scoring.

Coupeville’s guards were feeling it from distance, with Gustafson, Blouin, and Georges all ruffling the net for a three-ball.

Hayley Fiedler, Jordyn Rogers, Jill Prince, and Keiper rounded out the roster for a team which is three games from wrapping up a perfect season.

 

7th grade varsity:

Both teams only had three players score, but with one of Lakewood’s trio going off for 21 points, the host team strolled to a 37-17 win.

The loss drops the Wolves to 2-5 on the season.

Lakewood jumped on Coupeville early, building a 13-3 lead after one quarter, then stretching the margin out to 26-9 at the half, and 35-10 headed into the fourth.

The Wolves put together their best run during the final frame, outscoring their foes 7-2 behind five points from Lauren Marrs.

Scoring seven of her team-high 12 from the free-throw stripe, Marrs was the one constant for CMS, which also got three points from Brionna Blouin and two from Desi Ramirez.

Allison Nastali, Erica McGrath, Skylar Parker, Ava Mitten, Kaitlyn Leavell, Reese Wilkinson, Jackie Contreras, and Kayla Arnold also saw floor time for Megan Smith’s squad.

 

8th grade JV:

The two-quarter tussle was fairly close, but with Coupeville unable to hit a single field goal in 14 minutes of action, it’s probably not a surprise the Wolves fell 9-4.

The loss drops the JV to 2-5 on the season.

All of Coupeville’s scoring came at the free throw line, with three different players netting charity shots.

Adrian Burrows, daughter of Wolf legend Jaime Rasmussen, who hit some of the biggest free throws in CHS girls basketball history, made like mom and drained both of her attempts.

Jill Prince and Jordyn Rogers added a single free shot each, but Lakewood countered with three field goals and a timely three-ball in the second quarter.

Claire Mayne, Melanie Navarro, Abigail Ramirez, Jesse McMahon, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Jessenia Camarena, Karyme Castro, Trinity McGee, and Cristina McGrath also played for CMS.

 

Rest of the season:

Coupeville returns home for two games, hosting Lakewood Mar. 12 and Sultan Mar. 14, before closing the season Mar. 19 at Granite Falls.

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Maddie Georges netted six points Tuesday, including a key pair of free throws, as Coupeville’s 8th graders completed a three-game sweep of Langley. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You win some, you lose some.

The action was fast and furious on the hardwood Tuesday in Langley, with Coupeville Middle School’s varsity girls basketball squads earning a split against their arch-rivals.

The Wolf 8th graders remained perfect with a narrow victory, while the CMS 7th graders took their game to the final buzzer, only to fall on the final shot.

How the day played out:

 

8th grade varsity:

Still perfect, and still the best team on Whidbey.

Holding on down the stretch, while enjoying a sizable advantage at the free throw line, Coupeville held off their hosts 39-34.

The win gives the Wolves a three-game sweep of the Cougars, while lifting CMS to 5-0 on the season.

Each of the three contests the Island rivals played had a different rhythm.

In the first one, Coupeville had to roar from behind and erase a double-digits deficit for the win.

Second time out, the Wolves blew Langley off the floor, romping to a lopsided victory.

The final match-up was a nail-biter, but one in which CMS held the advantage from start to finish.

Powered by a big three-ball from Alita Blouin, the Wolves went to the first break up 6-5.

After that, it was time for Carolyn Lhamon to shine, as the Wolf post powerhouse dropped in 11 of her game-high 12 points across the final three quarters.

The teams battled through a tight second quarter, with CMS clinging to a 14-13 lead at the half, but the Wolves slowly pulled away after the break.

Four points from Lhamon and three from Ryanne Knoblich keyed a 13-10 surge in the third, before Lhamon and Nezi Keiper each tossed in three during a taut 12-11 fourth frame.

With the clock running down, and Langley still just a three-ball away from forcing overtime, Maddie Georges iced the game.

Striding to the free throw line with confidence in every step, Mad Dog knocked down a pair of free throw attempts, giving CMS a 10-2 advantage on successful charity shots, and that was that.

Lhamon paced the Wolves with 12, while Keiper and Blouin backed her up with seven points apiece.

Georges (6), Knoblich (3), Gwen Gustafson (2), and Hayley Fielder (2) rounded out the scoring attack, with Jill Prince and Jordyn Rogers chipping in with hustle on defense.

 

7th grade varsity:

One of the odder games in recent memory, as South Whidbey went scoreless until the third quarter, only to win 8-6 with a basket in the final seconds.

The loss drops Coupeville to 2-4 on the season, and gives the Island rivals a split of their two-game season series.

And no, you didn’t read that score wrong.

After four quarters and 28 minutes of floor time, the teams really did combine for a meager 14 points.

“Really good defense was played,” CMS coach Megan Smith said with a laugh. “It was a very close game. The girls played very hard and well, but South Whidbey just beat us at the end and scored at the buzzer.”

Coupeville’s defense was smothering in the first half, but the Wolves could only generate a pair of buckets, both off of the fingertips of Brionna Blouin, and led 4-0 at the half.

Then CMS went cold, while South Whidbey got slightly (very slightly) warmer, slicing the lead down to 4-2 heading into the final quarter.

After that, things went bonkers (sorta) on the offensive side of the ball, with the squads scoring more points in the fourth quarter than in the first three combined.

Blouin hit another bucket, giving her 65 points for the season, best by any CMS girl in either grade, but the Cougars knotted things up, then pushed in the winning basket as time ran down.

Lauren Marrs, Allison Nastali, Skylar Parker, Reese Wilkinson, Erica McGrath, Kayla Arnold, Kaitlyn Leavell, and Desi Ramirez also saw floor time for the Wolves.

 

7th/8th grade JV:

Coupeville got balanced scoring, with eight players etching their names in the book, but the Wolves fell 26-18.

The loss drops the JV to 2-4 on the season.

Other than a brief defensive lapse in the second quarter, the game was a taut one, with Langley up 6-4 at the first break, and the second half a 10-10 stalemate.

The deciding factor was the second frame, where the Cougars surged to a 10-4 advantage.

Claire Mayne rattled the rims for four points to pace the Wolves, while Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson netted three.

Cristina McGrath (2), Jessenia Camarena (2), Jill Prince (2), Melanie Navarro (2), Adrian Burrows (2), and Trinity McGee (1) also scored, while Ava Mitten, Jackie Contreras, Karyme Castro, Jesse McMahon, Jordyn Rogers, and Abigail Ramirez all saw playing time.

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“Mad Dog” on the prowl. Maddie Georges, seen here last season, scored nine of her 14 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday as the CMS 8th graders roared back to stun visiting Langley. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

For teams which hadn’t been in a gym for awhile, they played pretty darn good.

Finally hosting their season openers Wednesday, after snow and ice caused numerous cancelled games and practices, both Coupeville Middle School varsity girls basketball teams rallied to overcome deficits and KO visiting Langley.

How the afternoon played out:

 

8th grade varsity:

If you left early, the final score might surprise you.

Down by 15 points in the second quarter, and still trailing by eight midway through the fourth, Coupeville closed the game on a 15-1 run to stun Langley 35-29.

Call it good coaching by Alex Evans, or a stubborn desire to win ingrained in battle-hardened players like his lil’ sister, Maddie Georges, who scored nine of her 14 points in the final eight minutes.

Either way, a message was sent – we will beat you, today, tomorrow, any day, any way.

In the early moments of the game, however, it might have seemed like a long shot, as the visitors came out ramped up.

Back-to-back three-balls, paired up with two nice put-backs off of offensive rebounds by Morgan Batchelor sent Langley on a 14-0 run in the first quarter.

That erased an early 3-2 Wolf advantage, keyed by Alita Blouin feeding Nezi Keiper for a bang-bang bucket, and sent a shiver through Wolf fans jammed into a sweaty gym.

Keiper finally broke the run, rolling hard to the hoop for a bucket, this time on a pass from Hayley Fiedler, but the damage was done.

It momentarily got worse in the second quarter, as the Cougars stretched their lead all the way out to 20-5.

It was then the Wolves began to clamp down on defense, forcing miss after miss, and slowly, ever so surely, crawling their way back into the game.

Two buckets from Carolyn Lhamon, packaged around the low-to-the-ground Blouin sneaking through the big trees to slap home a layup, pulled CMS back within 20-11 at the half.

Switching gears, the Wolves, who had hit just a single free throw in the first half, suddenly started forcing play, driving repeatedly at the hoop and daring the Cougars to whack them.

It worked, and how, as Coupeville repeatedly stopped the clock, thanks to suddenly-consistent referee whistles, then drained their freebies – hitting 14 charity shots down the stretch.

But while they got as close as five points early in the fourth, the Wolves couldn’t seem to get over the hump.

Langley notched a freebie of its own, then converted another offensive rebound into a bucket, and seemed to be set, up 28-20.

To which “Mad Dog” said, “Not in my gym.”

A Georges free throw, followed by big buckets in the paint from Keiper and Lhamon, started the game-changing 15-1 run, and, once it started, there was nowhere to hide for the Cougars.

Langley couldn’t hit a single field goal over the final six minutes-plus of the game, as its ball-handlers were hounded relentlessly by Georges, Blouin, and Gwen Gustafson.

If anything got past the pesky trio, Wolf enforcers Lhamon and Keiper promptly blew it right back out of the paint, making Evans do a happy dance in his coach’s box.

A steal and breakaway bucket by Georges was huge, then the Wolves clinched the game at the line, scoring the final eight points on charity shots.

Georges drained five of those, while Gustafson rippled the net for two, and Keiper capped things by splashing home a final heave.

Coupeville spread its offense out, getting points from six of nine players.

With Georges going off for 14, Keiper (9) and Lhamon (7) combined for 16.

Blouin (2), Gustafson (2), and Ryanne Knoblich (1) rounded out the attack, with Fiedler, Jordyn Rogers, and Jill Prince also seeing key floor time.

 

7th/8th JV:

Coupeville’s lone loss on opening day came down to the wire, with Langley slipping home the tying and winning buckets in the final moments to claim a 16-14 win.

A game which saw 16 points scored in the opening quarter, including a bucket which dropped through at the buzzer, later turned into a defensive war of attrition.

Adrian Burrows had the hot hand early for the Wolves, banking home a pair of jumpers, including one immediately after snatching the ball off a successful opening tip by Jessenia Camarena.

Toss in a power move down low for a bucket by the deceptively-strong Ryanne Knoblich and a sideline jumper from Camarena, and CMS was in control in the first eight minutes.

The play of the quarter, and maybe the game, came when an inbound pass from under the Wolf basket went long, way long, forcing Trinity McGee to race almost the length of the court to corral the wayward missile.

Saving the runaway ball a few steps from going out of bounds at the other end of the court, she spun, charged back up the right side, then slashed through the backpedaling defenders.

McGee’s hand shot skyward, the ball slapped glass and then happily plunked through the net, silencing the Langley cheering section in a flash.

The Cougar faithful did find something to cheer for however, as one of their guards desperation-heaved the ball skywards while rolling under her bucket, beating the odds and the buzzer.

That cut the margin back to 10-6, and Langley eventually knotted things up at 12-12 by the time the two squads headed to the halftime locker room.

While the first half featured some sterling baskets and a fair amount of offense, neither team could hit much of anything after the break.

McGee slapped home the only bucket of the third quarter, on a rolling run at the basket, but the Wolves went scoreless in the fourth.

Langley couldn’t do much better, failing to score for the first 13 minutes of the 16-minute second half.

But, when it mattered, the Cougars threw up a pair of prayers to the basketball gods, and had them answered.

The first one tied the game up with three minutes to play, and the second one a minute later turned out to be the game-winner.

Burrows and McGee paced the Wolf attack with four points apiece, while Knoblich, Jordyn Rogers, and Camarena added a bucket each.

Jill Prince, Claire Mayne, Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, Abigail Ramirez, Melanie Navarro, Jesse Ross-McMahon and Cristina McGrath rounded out the roster, with Mayne doing especially well as a plucky point guard.

 

7th grade varsity:

Brionna Blouin came to play.

Making her middle school debut, the SWISH-seasoned hoops gunner rattled the rim for 14 points, including seven in a decisive fourth quarter, as Coupeville rallied for an 18-16 win.

Blouin carried the Wolf offense in the first half, raining down a three-ball en route to outscoring Langley 7-6 by herself.

A big blocked shot from Kayla Arnold in the late moments of the half kept the visitors on their heels, but Langley re-found its groove in the third quarter.

Three straight buckets to open the second half staked the Cougars to their biggest lead of the night at 12-7, but then Blouin’s teammates came up big time.

Reese Wilkinson, who was a force on the boards all game, knocked down a beautiful bank shot from the top of the key to start things.

Hot on her heels came Arnold, who pulled in a nice pass from Wilkinson, which split a pair of defenders, then lofted in a short jumper in the paint.

Langley, desperate for some good news, hit a pull-up jumper to stretch the lead back out to 14-11 heading into the fourth, but then it was Blouin time.

She pulled off the same move on back-to-back trips down court, faking her defender out of her shoes before spinning around the corner for a high, arching layup.

Then, with the Wolves back in the lead, Blouin rained down her second three-ball of the game, but this time she banked the ball off the glass while shooting from a seemingly impossible angle.

That crushed Langley’s spirit enough that, even after netting a late bucket to cut the lead to two, the Cougars failed to foul Blouin as the final seconds of the clock ticked away and she dribbled in place.

Along with the three Wolves who scored, Allison Nastali, Desi Ramirez, Ava Mitten, Jackie Contreras, Skylar Parker, and Erica McGrath rounded out the opening day roster for coach Megan Smith.

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Gwen Gustafson and Co. will soon be back for another season of wheelin’, dealin’ and droppin’ buckets. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You have six weeks to get your affairs in order.

And to figure out where your laminating machine is hidden.

We’re in the thick of high school basketball right now, but Coupeville Middle School girls hoops is on its way.

The first day of practice arrives Jan. 22, and the first game hits Feb. 7 – hence the six-week warning.

The 10-game schedule (ready to be printed out, laminated and attached to your frig):

Thur-Feb. 7 — South Whidbey
Tues-Feb. 12 — @King’s
Thur-Feb. 14 — Sultan
Wed-Feb. 20 — @Granite Falls
Thur-Feb. 21 — Lakewood
Tues-Feb. 26 — @Northshore Christian
Tues-Mar. 5 — @South Whidbey
Thur-Mar. 7 — King’s
Tues-Mar. 12 — @Sultan
Thurs-Mar. 14 — Granite Falls

All home games start at 3:15 PM.

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Though only a 6th grader, Savina Wells played a major role for a Coupeville 8th grade SWISH team which finished 7-3 this season. (Katy Wells photo)

Wolf hoops coach Lark Gustafson poses with his favorite player, daughter Gwen. (Irene Gustafson photos)

Back (l to r) Brionna Blouin, Ryan Georges, Ryanne Knoblich, Savina Wells, Carolyn Lhamon, Lauren Marrs, Lark Gustafson. Front: Nezi Keiper, Gwen Gustafson, Hayley Fiedler, Alita Blouin, Maddie Georges.

They walked in the gym door as winners, and walked out as winners.

The Coupeville 8th grade SWISH girls basketball team opened its season Nov. 3 with a big victory, and officially closed its season Saturday with another huge triumph.

Bouncing back from a one-play loss to Mount Vernon in the morning, the Wolves shredded Orcas Island in the afternoon finale, earning a split and 4th place at their league tourney.

That capped a 7-3 season for Coupeville, which will now send most of its players on to the middle school hoops season which begins in late Jan.

The team’s leading rebounder, Savina Wells, is the lone Wolf among a roster of 10 who can’t play for CMS this season.

That’s because, unlike her teammates, she’s still in 6th grade, and has a year before she’s eligible for middle school sports.

 

Saturday’s results:

 

Tough loss:

Coupeville led Mount Vernon Judd and Black for much of the game, but watched things slip away in the 4th and fell 24-22.

The Wolves jumped out to a 6-4 lead after one quarter, fueled by four points from Maddie Georges, then (slightly) stretched things out to 10-7 at the half.

Mount Vernon hung tough, though, carving off a point in the third, then closing things with a game-busting 9-5 surge in the final frame.

Georges paced Coupeville with seven points, while Alita Blouin and Gwen Gustafson banked home six apiece, and Wells knocked down three.

 

Strong swan song:

The Wolves bounced back in their second game, swatting Orcas 23-12, with seven of 10 Wolves scoring.

The first half was a defensive struggle, with Coupeville clinging to a 6-3 lead.

After the break, things got much spicier, as the Wolves went on a game-ending 17-9 surge across the third and fourth quarters.

Georges continued to have the hottest of hot hands, topping Coupeville with six points, while Wells (5), Gustafson (4), Brionna Blouin (3), Ryanne Knoblich (2), Carolyn Lhamon (2), and Alita Blouin (1) also scored.

Lauren Marrs, Nezi Keiper, and Hayley Fielder all saw floor time, and all made contributions.

That continued a season-long trend, as a hallmark of the team coached by Lark Gustafson was its balance.

Every one of the 10 Wolf girls brought their own special talents to the floor, and they meshed well as a group, putting a positive glow on the future of Coupeville girls basketball.

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