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Junior post Ulrik Wells is expected to be a key player for this year’s Coupeville boys basketball team. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wolves are led by (l to r) junior Jered Brown, senior Dane Lucero and junior Sean Toomey-Stout.

It’s a reboot.

When the Coupeville High School boys basketball team steps on the court for its season opener, it will be a vastly different team from a season ago.

The Wolves lost seven seniors to graduation, players who teamed to score 1,523 points during their varsity careers.

Included in that group is Hunter Smith, who departed as the 12th highest scorer in the 101-year history of CHS boys hoops.

But it’s a new day, and while Coupeville will miss Smith, Kyle Rockwell, Ethan Spark, Joey Lippo, Hunter Downes, Cameron Toomey-Stout and Ariah Bepler, the cupboard is far from bare.

The Wolves return six players who saw varsity action during the 2017-2018 season, and get back the services of the school’s top male athlete, who missed basketball season last year while rehabbing from a football injury.

That welcome addition is junior Sean Toomey-Stout, and after earning All-Conference honors at three positions during the gridiron season, “The Torpedo” is ready to lay waste to the hardwood.

“It’s hard to match Sean’s work ethic (on and off the court) and we’re looking forward to seeing that on the floor this year,” said Coupeville coach Brad Sherman.

“He adds a lot to the team on the defensive end of the floor especially.”

Post player Dane Lucero, the team’s lone senior, and junior point guard Jered Brown form a potent trio with Toomey-Stout.

Lucero and Brown are the only returning full-time varsity players from last season, and will be looked to as leaders.

Jered will be key for us on offense. Solid ball handler for us, good court vision,” Sherman said. “Dane is a strong leader on and off the basketball court.”

Juniors Gavin Knoblich, Ulrik Wells, Mason Grove and Jacobi Pilgrim, who swung between varsity and JV last year, make the jump to full-time A-team status this time around.

Grove, who made a blistering run at the school’s unofficial JV basketball single-season scoring record, knocked down 51 points in limited varsity time as a sophomore.

With the departure of the seniors, that leaves him as the top active career scorer for the Wolf boys program, topping Brown (29), Lucero (16), Knoblich (5), Wells (4) and Pilgrim (1).

Mason shot lights out at the JV level last season, and was able to give us a spark off the bench on varsity at times, as well,” Sherman said. “Looking forward to seeing him continue to develop as a scorer for us.”

Wells, Knoblich and Pilgrim all are a year older, and a year stronger, and all hope to make an impact in the paint.

Ulrik is really developing in the post. He could have a big year,” Sherman said. “Gavin has had a great couple weeks of practice. Really working hard and getting the attention of the coaching staff.

Jacobi will also play a big role for us this year,” he added. “He’s gotten much stronger and is playing tough around the rim.”

While that seven form the core, juniors Jean Lund-Olsen and Koa Davison and hot-shooting freshman Hawthorne Wolfe have also worked with the varsity and could end up in the mix.

With a strong turnout, Coupeville will field three boys hoops squads this season. Seeing a rise in turnouts, especially coming from the younger classes, is key to the program building valuable depth at every rung.

“Excited about the freshmen class coming up,” Sherman said. “Won’t name them all – it’s a big turnout, which is great.

“Lots of athleticism, a few kids who would live in the gym if we let them,” he added. “Some are going to be impact players right away. They put in a lot of work this summer and jumped right into the program ready to go, and ready to work, which has been exciting to see as coaches.

Sherman, still the #8 scorer in Wolf boys hoops history (874 points, if you’re wondering), enters his second season at the helm of the CHS program.

He’s joined by returning JV coach Chris Smith, as well as new assistants Scott Fox and Patrick Upchurch.

After going 7-13 in his first season, 5-4 in Olympic League play, Sherman will shepherd his players into a new league this winter.

The new-look North Sound Conference pits Coupeville against former Cascade Conference foes Sultan, South Whidbey, Granite Falls, Cedar Park Christian and King’s.

South Whidbey won the league title last year, but lost all-universe player Lewis Pope to graduation. King’s, which knocked the Falcons out of the playoffs, finished 6th at state.

But again, today is a new day, something Sherman embraces.

“Brand new league and a lot to learn about some of our new league opponents; we aren’t going to look past anybody,” he said. “There is certainly some very skilled competition and strong teams ahead of us this season.

“I always think a little less focus on the opponent and more focus on executing what we are trying to do is the most effective way to approach the season ahead,” Sherman added. “We can scout and watch film, we certainly do our homework and game plan, but at the end of the day none of that matters if we aren’t dialed-in and executing our own stuff well.”

The Wolf coaching staff is intent on seeing their players grow in “confidence, discipline, and patience with the basketball.”

“I think we’re still learning a little about ourselves as a team so early in the year, but as a coaching staff we’ve seen a lot of things we really like,” Sherman said. “I love the effort from our guys so far and the desire to give an all-in effort every day and compete.

“We really want our defense to set the tone, and we are working hard to make sure that becomes a strength as we enter and progress through the season.”

More than anything, the Wolves want to exit every practice, every game, confident they have taken another step forward in building the program.

“To get better every week. To develop leaders on and off the basketball court. To put our best effort forward every time we hit the floor,” Sherman said.

“A new league means new opportunities; it also means new teams learning a lot about one another,” he added. “I think we really have to put our focus on playing our game, and playing our game well.”

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Wolf netters James Wood (left) and Mason Grove plot strategy. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Zach Ginnings goes low for a return.

Jaschon Baumann (left) and Tiger Johnson are currently living their best life, with six straight wins and counting.

Grove glides cross-court.

Everything came up aces.

Despite being the middle of Oct., Monday’s Coupeville High School boys tennis match had perfect weather.

In a season where fall rain has played less of a role than normal, the Wolves and visiting Seattle Academy enjoyed pristine conditions.

That also made life easier for wanderin’ paparazzi John Fisken, who swung by the CHS courts to see what was goin’ down.

The photos above are courtesy him.

To see everything Fisken shot, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Tennis-2018-2019/2018-10-15-vs-Seattle-Academy/

And, when you do, remember that a percentage of all purchases goes to fund scholarships for two CHS senior student/athletes.

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Wolf senior Jaschon Baumann teamed with Tiger Johnson to play Monday’s closest match. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Over and done with.

Until next time, at least.

Missing a key player after Mason Grove injured his shoulder pre-match Monday, the Coupeville High School boys tennis squad absorbed a methodical beating at the hands of host Overlake.

The ritzy private school Owls cruised to a 5-0 win in Redmond, dropping the Wolf netters to 1-2 on the season.

Coupeville, which is running the gauntlet this season by playing as a member of the Emerald City League, the top 1A tennis conference in the state, returns to action Wednesday with a home match against Bear Creek.

 

Complete Monday results:

 

Varsity:

1st Singles — Jakobi Baumann lost to Gavin Ybarra 6-2, 6-1

2nd Singles — Drake Borden lost to Anath Iyer 6-1, 6-1

1st Doubles — Zach Ginnings/Jacob Burke lost to Nachiket Kermarkar/Zander Gillett 6-1, 6-0

2nd Doubles — Tiger Johnson/Jaschon Baumann lost to Evan Lauer/Vignav Ramesh 6-4, 6-2

3rd Doubles — James Wood/Koby Schreiber lost to Sammy Yang/Yosup Cho 6-1, 6-1

 

JV:

4th Doubles — Harris Sinclair/Andrew Aparicio lost to Noah Wilson/Rohan Chatterjee 8-0

5th Doubles — Sinclair/Aparicio lost to Brandon Marcus/Yohan Cho 8-1

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Senior Jakobi Baumann heads up a scrappy Wolf tennis squad ready to take on the big boys in the Emerald City League. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“We are the CHS team that has the toughest schedule.”

There is little doubt about that, as Ken Stange’s 14th year at the helm of the Coupeville High School boys tennis program arrives complete with an epic new challenge.

While other Wolf teams will face off with fellow North Sound Conference foes, the netters have a slightly different path to travel.

Coupeville and South Whidbey are the only schools in the new six-team league which play boys tennis, so they are linking up with the ultra-ritzy, ultra-competitive Emerald City League.

That puts the Wolves up against potentially the toughest tennis conference in all of 1A, one where private school players compete year-round in one sport and benefit from ready access to private coaches and indoor courts.

University Prep is the two-time defending team state champs, and the ECL has won five of the last six singles titles.

In four of the past six years, at least two ECL teams have finished in the top five in the team standings at the state tourney, with U Prep being in that exclusive group every season.

In other words, things have changed.

“It was nice winning two of four league titles in our old league (Olympic League), but that was then,” Stange said. “We can either complain about it, or we can work at getting better.

“I choose the latter.”

The new league also brings a format change, as the Wolves go from a three singles, four doubles set-up for varsity matches to two singles, three doubles.

With three fewer varsity spots available, the battle at practice will rage.

“We have quite a few returning players with experience,” Stange said. “There will be some stiff competition this season within our team.

“We lost our top players from last year and we are moving into a new league that is full of private schools. We have our work cut out for us, but we’re working hard to raise our collective game.”

Gone are #1 singles player Nick Etzell and #1 doubles duo Joey Lippo and William Nelson, but nine of the 12 players on the Wolf roster are returning letter winners.

Junior Mason Grove and senior Jakobi Baumann, who both played strongly a season ago, head up the team.

Joining them are Jaschon Baumann, Zach Ginnings, Drake Borden, Tiger Johnson, Koby Schreiber, Thane Peterson and Harris Sinclair, while three newcomers – James Wood, Jacob Burke and Andrew Aparicio – round out the roster.

Through good times and bad, big wins and tough losses, Stange has always approached his time on the court the same way – head up, wicked sense of humor intact and deeply committed to getting the best out of each of his players, regardless of their talent level.

“The new league raises expectations but we haven’t seen the competition yet. It should be challenging and fun,” he said. “I hope we can be competitive and be a solid part of our new league. I also hope we can get a couple of entries into the district tourney.

“This season will be a success if we can win a few matches and have some individual success,” Stange added. “The real success will be in whether or not we are able to improve our results in the second run through our league schedule.”

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Jenna Dickson leads off our collection of spring sports portraits. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Zach Ginnings

Alex Jimenez

James Vidoni

Mason Grove

Dawson Houston

Ben Smith

Ivy Leedy

Time for a little spring cleaning.

As the season winds down, I’m going through head shots snapped by John Fisken and trying to make sure 99.3% of them get used.

The eight above, covering softball, baseball and boys soccer, are ones that, for whatever reason, had yet to see the light of day.

Before you ask, there are no tennis pics because it’s a smaller team and I already used all their head shots.

And track? It’s a bigger team and no one snapped head shots, so I can’t use something I never had.

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