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Grady Rickner and Coupeville are flying high at 10-0. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

No stumble in their step.

Holding visiting Concrete without a shot for the first two-and-a-half minutes Thursday, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball team made quick work of their overmatched foes.

Blitzing the Lions 72-24, the Wolves surge to 8-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League action, 10-0 overall.

Next up is a non-conference rumble at South Whidbey Saturday, then a rematch with their top league foe, Mount Vernon Christian, Jan. 27.

The Wolves, who are chasing their first league title since 2002, play their final five regular season games on the road, not returning home again until they host the district tournament Feb. 15-17.

Giving the local fans a glimpse at how scary it can be when everything is clicking, Coupeville decimated Concrete from the opening tip.

With all five starters attacking on defense, the Wolves roared out to a 14-0 lead before Concrete managed to get a shot up, much less make a bucket.

Xavier Murdy drilled a three-ball from the left corner to kick things off, then a madly scrambling full-court press produced turnover after turnover to be converted into lightning-quick buckets.

The Lions finally got the ball airborne at the 5:35 mark of the first quarter, hitting a layup.

Concrete also converted its second shot attempt, though by the time that pullup jumper tumbled through the net, it trailed 27-2.

The Wolves knocked down six three-balls in the opening frame, with Xavier Murdy netting half of those, and headed to the bench boasting a 38-6 advantage at the first break.

For comparison, Concrete has only topped 38 points in an entire GAME twice this season in 11 contests, so anyone hoping for a shocking comeback had to have known they were out of luck.

To the Lions credit, they scrambled and played hard, and actually slowed Coupeville’s offense down for a brief bit.

The Wolves only added a pair of breakaway buckets off of steals across the first five minutes of the second quarter, but then shook free of their brief stupor to push the halftime lead out to 52-15.

Third quarter three-balls from Caleb Meyer, Logan Downes, and then Meyer again — with a picture-perfect jumper off the fingertips of Logan Martin mixed in for good measure — moved the needle all the way out to 63-15.

Then the running clock became the only thing capable of slowing Coupeville’s roll.

Giving his bench some solid floor time, CHS coach Brad Sherman watched as Dominic Coffman carried the scoring load late, while Nick Guay popped an elegant jumper from the side for his first varsity points.

Brad Sherman draws up a play.

With two regulars sidelined by Covid protocols, the Wolves also bumped freshman Hunter Bronec up to the first team, and he made a strong varsity debut.

Xavier Murdy paced Coupeville’s attack, going off for all 22 of his points in the first half, with Meyer and Downes adding 13 and 12, respectively.

Coffman (6), Alex Murdy (5), Grady Rickner (5), Cole White (5), Guay (2), and Martin (2) also kept CHS scorekeeper June Mazdra and her well-sharpened pencil busy.

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Lyla Stuurmans was a terror on defense Thursday as Coupeville shredded Concrete. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

They’re back!

Well, some of them are, and those ones are ready to rumble.

After postponing two games in a row due to Covid protocols, the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball team returned to action Thursday, though with only six of 12 players in uniform.

Still, the Wolves made it work.

Adding JV warrior Mia Farris to the mix, the Wolves had more than enough firepower to rout visiting Concrete 47-15.

The victory over a rough-and-tumble Lions squad lifts Coupeville to 4-3 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 5-4 overall.

It also puts the Wolves a game-and-a-half up on Friday Harbor (2-4 in league) in the battle for a playoff spot.

Coupeville hit the floor Thursday missing three regular starters, and with three of the seven active players just freshmen.

And while Concrete is not an immensely talented team, it is a feisty one.

If by feisty I mean the Lions revive memories of NBA games from the ’80s, when shooters got hacked by all five defenders at the same time, and bodies bounced off the floor on nearly every possession, with the wrecked players left to wallow in their own misery.

Sort of warms my old-school hoops heart.

But what should also make local fans happy is how the Wolves responded, not backing down in the flurry of elbows, knees, and full body slams.

Instead, Coupeville’s undermanned squad hit go on its offense, blitzed Concrete in the open court, and pounded the boards with intensity.

An opportunistic defense, exemplified by Lyla Stuurmans bounding from one end of the floor to the other, and Farris picking off passes like a veteran, revved the motor.

Then the Wolves knocked down their shots with glee.

Carolyn Lhamon opened things by shredding Concrete for seven points in the opening frame, as CHS built a 14-1 lead.

Two of her buckets came on power moves in the paint, but the Wolf junior also got out on the fly, taking a steal the length of the court before slapping home a layup which elicited a whoop from mom Helene.

Maddie Georges got three the hard way, putting a rebound back up and in while being pummeled, while Katie Marti notched her first varsity points off of a slick play.

That dash to the basket started with a Gwen Gustafson steal, followed by Ja’Kenya Hoskins threading the defense with a pass which slid right onto Marti’s hands as she cut through the paint.

Concrete put together its best offensive stand in the second quarter, playing the Wolves to a 9-9 tie across the eight-minute span, but Coupeville blew the game open in the second half.

Stuurmans, who stuffed one Lions shot like she was Dikembe Mutombo in his prime, tickled the twines for a pair of third-quarter jumpers to spark a decisive 11-0 run.

The fab frosh wasn’t done, coming back around late in the game to throw a wicked baseball-style pass which set up a streaking Marti for yet another layup.

In between the razzle and the dazzle, Georges responded to being abused by the Concrete defenders by staring icy daggers at them, before dropping her own wicked elbows when the refs were distracted.

She also netted a pair of softly tumbling three-balls, which kicked the net up with an impudent little flip as they made the numbers on the scoreboard jump.

In a game in which all seven active players scored, Georges (12) and Lhamon (11) led the way for the Wolves, with Gustafson banking in another eight points.

Marti (6), Farris (4), Stuurmans (4), and Hoskins (2) also netted buckets, with the first two of those players recording their first-ever varsity points.

Coupeville is scheduled to play a non-conference game at home Saturday against South Whidbey, then has a week off before finishing the regular season with three league tilts.

Two of those are against Friday Harbor, as the Wolves and Wolverines battle for the #2 playoff seed among NWL 2B schools.

Mia Farris made a strong varsity debut.

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Caleb Meyer knocks down a jumper for a Coupeville hoops squad which is now 9-0. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Stay calm. Stay composed. Stay ferocious.

In this most trying of seasons, with each game day bringing with it the threat of postponement if the latest round of Covid testing doesn’t go right, they have endured.

They have united as more than a random group of players — meshing as a true team, willing to have a different hero each game, linked by history, driven by a pursuit of excellence, and thoroughly enjoying the moment.

And that’s why Coupeville High School is one of only two remaining unbeaten teams in 2B boys basketball.

Chief Leschi out of Puyallup is 11-0, and now the Wolves, after a major gut-check win Wednesday on Senior Night, is a pristine 9-0.

Knocking off visiting Friday Harbor 49-34 in a game in which it didn’t claim the lead until the third quarter, Coupeville also improved to 7-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play.

That puts CHS two games up on Mount Vernon Christian (4-1) as it chases its first boys basketball league title since current head coach Brad Sherman was the one knocking down three-balls twenty years ago.

Wednesday’s win wasn’t a blowout, but it showcased how this fired-up Wolves squad can turn a game around at a moment’s notice.

Coupeville’s slow start was perhaps due to a temporary cold shooting touch.

Or perhaps it was the yearly pitfall of Senior Night, an emotion fest which often hobbles teams.

If so, the Wolves, who paid tribute to Class of 2022 teammate Bennett Boyles, who lost a battle with cancer in middle school, faced a tougher task than most.

Before the game began, fellow seniors Xavier Murdy, Caleb Meyer, Logan Martin, Grady Rickner, and Miles Davidson welcomed Bennett’s mom, Lucienne Rivera, to the floor, embracing her and their memories of her son.

CHS senior Hawthorne Wolfe, the three-ball droppin’ gunner who has worn Bennett‘s name on his basketball shoes, couldn’t be there in person, prevented access by Covid protocols.

But Hawk, like Bennett, was there in spirit.

“That win tonight was a big one for all of our seniors,” Brad Sherman said. “For the guys on the floor, and the ones who couldn’t be.

“They have all given so much to the program and we could not be more proud of them.”

Friday Harbor, which beat Coupeville by a single, solitary point twice last season, came out aggressive, while the Wolves couldn’t get the ball to stay in the bucket.

Meyer pulled off a dazzling drive down the baseline, carving up the defense for a three-point play the hard way, but CHS found itself trailing 12-6 at the first break.

For a team which has broken 30 points in the opening frame more than once this season, the lack of scoring was noticeable.

But Coupeville’s defense, sparked by the Marauding Murdy boys, Xavier and Alex, kept the visitors on their toes, and unable to pull away.

The Wolves also took advantage of Friday Harbor’s penchant for hacking, going to the free throw line on a regular basis beginning early in the second quarter.

Rickner, his body picking up an assortment of bruises along the way, hit five of six at the charity stripe, before Xavier Murdy rippled the nets on a three-ball from Dame Country to close out the half.

Still, as they went to the locker room, the Wolves were in unusual territory, trailing 20-18 in a low-scoring rumble.

There was a mild ripple of tension in the gym, a bit of a concerned look on the faces of former CHS hoops coaches like Ron Bagby and Willie Smith.

But then there was the preschooler tumbling end over end off the bottom row of the bleachers, laughing like a madman, to signal the approaching storm.

Coupeville’s players sprang out of the locker room with purpose in their step, and a glint in their eyes.

Had Sherman gone all Vince Lombardi on them at halftime? Or is this team just able to spark itself back to life?

Maybe a bit of both.

Meyer, who bounded across Coupeville courts through middle school, then went on a walkabout to hone his hoops skills in the big city, strode onto the hardwood, and pulled his teammates close.

Back to end his school days with the guys he grew up with, the last connection to my Videoville days whispered a few words, slapped a few butts, then flexed his biceps and stared down Friday Harbor.

At which point Meyer’s young companion, sophomore wild child Logan Downes — the Anakin to Caleb’s grizzled Obi-Wan, if you will — went ballistic.

A long jumper from the left side, a three-ball from even further back on the right side, then a bank shot on the run, and two free throws to shut the visiting crowd up nice and good.

Logan Downes was scorching in the second half Wednesday, raining down pain.

Downes couldn’t miss, and neither could the old guys, as Logan Martin, Meyer, and Xavier Murdy all rained down three-balls as the Wolves went for the jugular.

Friday Harbor got flustered, driven mad by the ever-snapping CHS defense, and the mistakes started piling up.

Passes went wide and high. Rebounds slipped away, or were yanked away by the Wolves. And the fouls continued to mount.

Once it had its groove back, Coupeville was unstoppable, running the lead out to 38-28 by the end of the third quarter, before opening the fourth quarter on an 11-0 rampage.

The final frame started with an X-Man trey from the top of the arc and closed when the Murdy brothers combined to force a turnover at midcourt which resulted in a breakaway bucket.

Friday Harbor scored the game’s final six points to make the score look slightly closer than reality, but the visitors exited the floor looking like they had a severe case of whiplash.

While all the three-balls dropping from the skies brought roars from the pro-Wolf crowd, the biggest cheer in the final moments came on the kind of play which perfectly captures this team’s mindset.

With his team up by 20 points, Meyer tore like a bat out of Hell down court, then nimbly darted in front of a rampaging Friday Harbor ballhandler, planted himself and waited for the explosion.

Drawing the offensive charge — which also fouled out his no-brakes-required rival — the curly-haired Wolf dynamo jumped to his feet, pumping his fist in glee.

Right along with every one of his coaches and teammates.

The defensive gem capped a night in which Coupeville once again spread out its offense.

Xavier Murdy topped all scorers with 15, while Meyer banked in 12 and Downes popped for all 11 of his points in the second half.

Rickner (7), Martin (3), and Alex Murdy (1) also scored, while Cole White got frisky on defense.

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Xavier Murdy tossed in 21 points Tuesday, outscoring Darrington by himself, as Coupeville’s varsity boys hoops team improved to 8-0. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

We have their number.

Rolling hot Tuesday night, even without its leading scorer in the lineup, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball team hit host Darrington like a runaway freight train.

Raining down 11 three-balls — including seven from Xavier Murdy alone — the Wolves thrashed the Loggers 73-13 to complete a season sweep of their Northwest 2B/1B League rivals.

With the victory, Coupeville kicks off what’s hoped to be a busy week, while improving to 8-0 overall, 6-0 in conference action.

Barring any Covid shenanigans, the Wolves play at home Wednesday against Friday Harbor and Thursday versus Concrete, before travelling to South Whidbey Saturday afternoon.

Just getting to Darrington Tuesday was the big deal, as the night’s other games — varsity girls and JV boys — were postponed.

Coupeville’s varsity boys were missing senior gunner Hawthorne Wolfe when they took the floor, but, as they have done all season, the Wolves hit their opponents from every direction.

Xavier Murdy rained down five treys in the first quarter alone, with fellow senior Caleb Meyer banging away for 11 points, as CHS blew the hinges off the gym doors.

Up 34-4 at the first break, the Wolves never took their foot off the gas pedal, tacking on another 26 points across the next eight minutes to carry a staggering 60-8 lead to the locker room.

Six different Coupeville players tallied a bucket in the second frame, with sophomore Logan Downes leading the way with 10 points and X-Man tacking on two more three-balls.

The first time these two squads faced off, CHS captured a 75-26 win, and this time out a ramped-up defense held the Loggers to just half that total.

Darrington failed to score a single point in the fourth quarter, while a running clock limited Coupeville’s scoring opportunities in the home stretch.

But, once again, it was a very-balanced attack for Brad Sherman’s team, with three players in double figures and eight of 10 scoring.

Xavier Murdy’s 21 marked the second time the wiry wonder has broken the 20-point barrier this season.

He also reached two personal milestones, cracking the 300-point club and passing his uncle, Allen Black, to become the leading scorer in his family.

X-Man ends the night with 319 points (and counting) during his CHS hoops career, while the sweet-shooting legend who married Xavier’s aunt Mandi torched the nets for 305 points.

Downes, who tickled the twines for a trio of three-balls Tuesday, dropped in 19 to back up Murdy, while Meyer finished with 11.

Grady Rickner (8), Dominic Coffman (6), Alex Murdy (4), Logan Martin (2), and Jonathan Valenzuela (2) also lit up the scorebook, with Cole White and Nick Guay seeing quality floor time.

Brad Sherman (far left) and the Wolf brain trust watch their best-laid plans play out to perfection.

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Sophomore quarterback Logan Downes scored his second touchdown of the season Friday night. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Mikey Robinett (45) and Co. play three of their next four games at home.

The dream isn’t dead, but it’s on life support.

Coupeville’s bid to win its first high school football league title since 1990 took a major hit Friday night.

Run over by host Friday Harbor to a 32-6 tune, the Wolves drop to 1-1 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 1-3 overall.

Coupeville sits a game back of Friday Harbor (2-0, 3-2) and one up on La Conner (0-2, 0-3), with two conference tilts remaining for each team.

CHS travels to La Conner Oct. 15, then the Braves make the jaunt to Friday Harbor Oct. 22.

The season finale, bumped up to a Thursday, goes down in Coupeville Oct. 28, when the Wolves get a second crack at Friday Harbor.

With La Conner in a down season — it lost 63-0 to Friday Harbor and 51-0 to Coupeville the first time around — it seems likely the Braves, barring a miracle, are headed to an 0-4 league campaign.

If so, Friday Harbor would have clinched at least a tie for the NWL title coming in to the final week, though a Coupeville win on Senior Night would make them co-champs.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Friday’s game started more than an hour late, thanks to ferry issues, and that seemed to be a sign of things to come for Coupeville.

Trailing 32-0, the Wolves finally got on the board when Logan Downes plunged in on a quarterback keeper late in the fourth quarter.

With the ball in his hands, the sophomore gunslinger went right, then, dodging a would-be tackler, cut back to the left and ran over a dude to put six on the board.

It was his second TD of the season, moving him up into a third-place tie with Tim Ursu, with the duo chasing Dominic Coffman (3) and Scott Hilborn (6).

Coupeville went for a two-point conversion, but Downes ensuing pass was knocked down by Friday Harbor’s Dylan Roberson.

The Wolves had their opportunities Friday, and, if they can correct some mistakes, could put up a strong fight in the rematch.

“It was a tough, physical game,” said Coupeville coach Marcus Carr. “We moved the ball well, but had drives stopped by very untimely penalties and a few turnovers.”

The Wolves get a big test in their next game, and a break from league play, as they host 1A Meridian (3-2) Saturday, Oct. 9.

Kickoff is 7 PM.

The game is a late addition to Coupeville’s schedule, as Meridian’s original opponent, Lynden Christian, is having Covid issues.

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