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Older brother Hunter (right) was in the gym Friday to witness Logan Downes crack the 600-point club. (Angie Downes photo)

Never celebrate too early.

In other words, if it’s a 32-minute game, you might not want to act like you’ve just won a state title six minutes into play.

That’s a lesson the Friday Harbor High School varsity boys’ basketball team, and its fans, learned painfully Friday night.

The Wolverines all but stormed the floor after a bucket gave them the lead at 10-8, only to then get slapped into oblivion by host Coupeville, which promptly snatched back control en route to a 59-34 win.

Putting eight guys into the scoring column, the hometown Wolves won for the ninth time in their last 11 games and get to 11-6 on the season.

Not only was it nice to win in front of an overflow home crowd after playing four straight road rumbles, knocking off Friday Harbor has major playoff implications for Coupeville.

The seven-team Northwest 2B/1B League has three 2B schools, and two earn berths to the bi-district tourney based on how they do against each other in the regular season.

Coupeville is now 2-0 in the round-robin, La Conner is 1-1, and Friday Harbor 0-2.

The Braves and Wolverines play again Feb. 3, with Coupeville hosting La Conner Feb. 7, then travelling to Friday Harbor for the regular-season finale Feb. 10.

In between that, CHS has a road game Feb. 2 against non-league foe Auburn Adventist Academy.

Wolf hoops coaches (left to right) Hunter Smith, Greg White, Randy Bottorff, and Brad Sherman watch the action on Coupeville vs. Cancer night. (Deb Sherman photo)

Friday’s game plan was all about the Wolves putting themselves into position to earn the #1 seed out of District 1, and Brad Sherman’s squad delivered.

Coupeville jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, with Logan Downes snapping the net on a jumper, Alex Murdy sinking a long three-ball, and William Davidson powering through the paint for a bucket.

The third of those baskets earned the loudest shrieks from the audience as “The Show Pony,” a killer on the boards who also is a deft passer and drawer of offensive fouls on rivals, put up a rare shot.

Hauling in a pass from Downes and going strong to the rim, Davidson delighted his large, fairly rabid fan base, who were still hyperventilating several minutes later.

That was when Friday Harbor made its move, stirring things up with a 10-1 run to claim the lead and start the chest-thumping.

Said celebration didn’t last long, however, as another Murdy three-ball and a pair of Dominic Coffman free throws capped the quarter, sending CHS to the bench up 13-10.

Friday Harbor did knot things up at 13-13, but never got back in front, as the Wolves had an answer for every one of their rival’s moves.

Downes tickled the twines on a three-ball, cracking the 600-point club, before fellow junior Nick Guay grabbed the microphone and did a saucy solo.

Reeling off nine straight points on his own, with buckets set up by a Cole White feed, a Chase Anderson steal, and a Davidson rebound, the lanky leaper was feelin’ it.

Murdy spun his defender around with a nasty move before swooping to kiss the ball off the glass, and Coupeville’s lead was out to double digits.

While Friday Harbor trimmed the deficit back to 28-20 by halftime, the third quarter was a heartbreaker for the visitors.

Downes and White combined for 16 points as Coupeville ripped off a game-busting 21-8 run coming out of the break, and any chance of a comeback crumbled.

The best bucket was a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am special.

Zane Oldenstadt corralled a loose ball, flipped it to White, then watched as the Wolf point guard flung a crosscourt pass to Downes, who spun, hopped around a defender and banked the ball home.

Or maybe the best bucket was Downes bringing the ball downcourt, draining the final seconds of the quarter, then flicking a running one-hander off the glass to beat the buzzer and drive the final stake through the heart.

From there it was time to coast home and hand Sherman his 50th win as a high school hoops coach, the Wolves punctuating things with a sensational steal and breakaway bucket from the always-aggressive Murdy.

Coupeville’s scoring sheet was properly balanced, with Downes (18), Murdy (15), Guay (9), White (8), Jonathan Valenzuela (4), Coffman (2), Davidson (2) and Chase Anderson (1) all contributing to the cause.

Ryan Blouin and Jermiah Copeland joined Oldenstadt in doing the important little things necessary to set up their teammates scoring.

While the win, and its help to the playoff cause, was the main focus, several Wolves hit personal milestones in the game.

White notched his 150th career varsity point, while Murdy (386) moves closer to the 400-point club and is now the #65 scorer all-time for a program launched in 1917.

And Downes? His torrid run continues.

When he walked off the floor Friday, he did so sitting with 390 points this season.

That’s the most by any Wolf since Makana Stone netted 427 in 2015-2016, and the most by a CHS boy since Mike Bagby knocked down 414 back in 2004-2005.

If Downes were to head to Siberia tonight, his season would be the 16th best in school history.

Only 11 Wolf boys, and two girls, have scored more in a season, with Brianne King (446, 442) and Randy Keefe (398, 397) having done it twice.

One of the guys still ahead of Downes, for the moment, is his head coach, with Brad Sherman shredding the nets for 396 points in 2002-2003.

Career-wise, Downes passes another one of his coaches, Greg White, jumping from #36 to #31 all-time.

Going from 596 to 614 points Friday, he vaults past Brian Miller (597), Joe Whitney (601), Denny Zylstra (602), Greg White (604), and John O’Grady (611).

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Maddie Georges rattled the rims Friday for a season-high 16 points. (Karen Carlson photo)

Big moments are made for big stars.

Playing in their next-to-last regular-season home game Friday, Coupeville High School’s seniors combined to score all but four of their team’s points in a 47-27 romp over visiting Friday Harbor.

Hitting six three-balls while playing inspired defense, the Wolves led virtually start to finish while grabbing a win which has huge playoff implications.

The victory lifts Coupeville to 7-8 on the season, but it was whom it came against which matters most.

The Northwest 2B/1B League has three 2B schools, and two earn berths to the bi-district tourney based on how they do against each other in the regular season.

La Conner is 2-0 in the round-robin, Coupeville is 1-1, and Friday Harbor 0-2.

The Braves and Wolverines play again Feb. 3, with Coupeville hosting La Conner Feb. 7, then travelling to Friday Harbor for the regular-season finale Feb. 10.

In between that, CHS has a road game Feb. 2 against non-league foe Auburn Adventist Academy.

Friday’s win give the Wolves a big leg up on Friday Harbor in the scramble for a playoff berth, and Megan Richter’s squad made a statement.

Alita Blouin splashed home a three-ball to open the game, before Coupeville fell behind for the one and only time, trailing 5-3.

That was when senior point guard Maddie Georges stepped up, muttered “give me the dang ball” (I’d like to think…), and flipped the script.

First, she pegged a floor-long pass to Ryanne Knoblich for a game-tying layup, before knocking down back-to-back treys, which each shot coming from a different side of the floor.

In between the game-altering bombs, Georges also made off with a steal, collected a floor burn or two, and delivered withering side-eye to anyone who dared to step into her path.

So, a typical day for the calm, yet fiery one.

Heading into the first break with an 11-5 lead, Georges and her associates kept attacking in the second quarter, with Knoblich knocking down a pair of buckets to kick things off.

One of her baskets was set up by a slick inbounds pass from Lyla Stuurmans, the other came courtesy of Knoblich wrestling a rebound out of the hands of a taller rival.

Coupeville as a team has struggled at the free throw line all season, but on this night, Georges calmly sank four in a row, signaling a positive change.

The lead was up to double-digits by halftime, with the Wolves heading to the locker room with a 23-11 advantage, but CHS was just getting warmed up.

Blouin and Georges hit back-to-back daggers from behind the arc in the third quarter, the second and fourth treys of the night for the Wolf sharpshooters, respectively.

Coupeville’s lead ballooned to 14, was trimmed back to eight for a brief moment, then settled in at a comfortable 35-24 heading into the fourth.

That final frame belonged completely to the Wolves, as they held Friday Harbor to just a single field goal over the game’s final eight minutes.

By contrast, Blouin was on a tear, dropping runners in the paint, while Coupeville also hit four free throws and capped things with a beautiful bank shot from Stuurmans.

Scoring all of her points from either the three-point line or the charity stripe, Georges led the way with a season-high 16, while Blouin was hot on her heels with 15.

Knoblich made it three Wolves with double digits, banking in 10, while Gwen Gustafson capped the senior attack with a bucket.

Sophomores Mia Farris and Stuurmans chipped in with two points apiece, with Carolyn Lhamon and Katie Marti also seeing floor time for the Wolves.

While the playoff-positive win was the big headline, two CHS players achieved personal milestones as well.

Blouin, who has played 17 varsity games, cracked the 150-point club and now sits with 159.

Georges, meanwhile, moves into exclusive company, becoming the #30 scorer in CHS girls’ basketball history for a program started in 1974.

With her performance Friday, she jumps to 343 career points, passing all-timers Taniel Lamb (330), Misty Sellgren (331), Amanda Allmer (331), and Kailey Kellner (339).

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Jermiah Copeland looks for an open man. (Chloe Marzocca photo)

They bounced back in a big way.

Coming off a tough road loss at Mount Vernon Christian, the Coupeville High School varsity boys’ basketball team rebounded to drill host Concrete Tuesday.

Capping a four-game road trip, the Wolves won for the eighth time in their last 10 games, demolishing the Lions 75-22.

With 10 different players scoring, including sophomore Hunter Bronec tossing in his first varsity bucket, CHS gets to 3-2 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 10-6 overall.

Up next is a return home, for the first time in two weeks, and a rumble with Friday Harbor Jan. 27.

That Friday-night tilt has major playoff implications, as Coupeville tries to move a step closer to clinching District 1’s top seed for the bi-district tourney.

Two of three 2B schools from the NWL punch playoff tickets, with the games between the trio of teams the deciding factor.

Coupeville is 1-0 in that saucy round-robin dance, La Conner 1-1, and Friday Harbor 0-1 with the Wolves hosting the Braves Feb. 7, then traveling to Friday Harbor Feb. 10 for the regular season finale.

Tuesday’s battle in the town Leonardo Di Caprio and Robert De Niro made infamous in This Boy’s Life was a romp from start to finish, save for one brief spell in the first quarter.

Jumping out to a 9-0 lead, Coupeville didn’t let Concrete score until the 4:40 mark of the opening frame, only to see the Lions then slap home seven unanswered points.

If they were fazed, the Wolves didn’t show it, merely going right back to work.

Nick Guay stopped the brief bleeding with a layup off of a lob from Alex Murdy, then the Wolf junior came back around to cap a 13-2 run by firing a full court pass to a sprinting Murdy, who beat the buzzer by a step.

Up 22-9 at the first break, Coupeville continued to push its lead out, combining three-balls from Ryan Blouin and Logan Downes with hard-fought buckets in the paint courtesy Jonathan Valenzuela and Cole White.

The halftime advantage was 41-17, though it could have been bigger.

Guay bounded high, snagged an offensive board and drilled the put-back jumper at the buzzer, only to have hometown refs wave off his highlight reel play, claiming it left his fingers too late.

Not that Coupeville needed the extra bucket, as it broke Concrete’s spirit in the third quarter, rolling up a 27-0 advantage across eight frantic minutes.

Murdy was wheelin’ and dealin’, firing beautiful set-up passes to his teammates, with seven different Wolves tallying points in the frame.

Leading 68-17 headed into the fourth, Coupeville coach Brad Sherman, who had been liberally substituting all night, gave his support players a chance to own the quarter.

Hunter Bronec is in a hurry to get somewhere. (Chloe Marzocca photo)

Jermiah Copeland splashed home his first three-ball as a Wolf, banking the ball off the glass while doing so, while both Bronec brothers, Hunter and Hurlee, got extensive floor time.

With Coupeville’s starters playing limited minutes, the scoring sheet was super-balanced.

Downes led the way with a game-high 20, while Murdy banked in 14, and White snapped the net for 10.

Dominic Coffman (7), Valenzuela (7), Blouin (5), Copeland (5), Guay (3), Hunter Bronec (2), and Zane Oldenstadt (2) also scored, with William Davidson and Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim pounding the boards.

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Alita Blouin is here to destroy you. (Delanie Lewis photo)

Alita Blouin is a dangerous woman.

Put a basketball in her hands, and the Coupeville High School senior will gut her rivals and leave them to bleed out on the side of the highway.

Metaphorically…

Leaving behind her real-life persona — where she’s serene and kind to human and animal alike — Blouin once again became Alita the Assassin Tuesday, raining down death from above on host Concrete.

Nailing five three-balls, while hitting from multiple angles, she went off for a season-high 21 points, leading nine Wolves into the scoring column during a 54-15 win.

The victory caps a brutal stretch of road games for the CHS varsity, which gets to 2-3 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 6-8 overall.

Now Blouin and her associates head home to face Friday Harbor this Friday, Jan. 27, in a game with big playoff implications.

Two of the three 2B schools in the NWL earn postseason berths, and the only games which influence Coupeville’s seeding are the ones with La Conner and Friday Harbor.

Currently, La Conner is 2-0 in the round-robin rumble, with both the Wolves and Wolverines sitting at 0-1.

Coupeville gets a home rematch with the Braves Feb. 7, before traveling to Friday Harbor Feb. 10 for the regular-season finale.

While Tuesday’s tilt didn’t have any impact on playoff dreams, it was a nice way to cap a four-game road trip where the first three games were against legit state title contenders.

The word of the night was defense, as Coupeville bolted out to a 29-0 lead, not allowing Concrete to score in the game’s first 13 minutes-plus.

The first quarter featured a pair of Blouin layups and a pair of jumpers from Lyla Stuurmans, before Maddie Georges utterly destroyed a defender on the final play before the break.

Sliding under the Lion, then juking her out to somewhere around Darrington, the Wolf point guard drilled a little runner and it was 11-0 and getting out of control.

Whatever hopes Concrete might have had vanished in the second quarter, with Coupeville raining down a season-best 29 points in eight minutes, stretching its lead to 40-4 at the half.

Blouin rippled the nets for a trio of three-balls, Stuurmans knocked down a series of buckets in the paint, and Gwen Gustafson exploded off the bench for a big quarter.

The Coupeville senior netted the 100th point of her varsity career on a free-throw, allowing Gustafson to join big sis Amanda Fabrizi (299 career points) in the three-digit club.

While the defense might not have seemed as important as before, as a running clock loomed on the horizon, the Wolves remained frisky.

None more so than sophomore Mia Farris, ripping down rebounds and soundly rejecting a Concrete shot to send her team into the locker room on a high.

Skylar Parker connected on a pullup jumper late in the third quarter to stretch the lead out to 40, while making some personal history at the same time.

It was the first varsity points for the CHS junior, as she becomes the 241st girl to score for a Wolf hoops program which launched in 1974.

For stat hounds looking for something besides points, toss Farris another hustle mark, as she drew an offensive charge late in the game.

Stuurmans finished the night with 11 points to back Blouin and her 21, while Gustafson banked in seven.

Georges (6), Katie Marti (2), Carolyn Lhamon (2), Parker (2), Ryanne Knoblich (2), and Farris (1) also scored, with Jada Heaton and Madison McMillan earning floor time.

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Gwen Gustafson drills a jump shot. (Karen Carlson photo)

The standings matter, and they don’t.

Case in point — while the La Conner boys currently have a slightly better conference record overall than Coupeville, it’s the Wolves who would be the Northwest League’s top seed to the 2B playoffs.

That’s because of the split nature of a 2B/1B league, where three schools are from the former, and four from the latter.

When the postseason begins, seeding is only based on games between schools at the same level.

That’s why Coupeville’s boys, who beat La Conner the first time out, are 1-0 in the three-team, four-game rumble which matters the most.

The Braves are 1-1, with Friday Harbor at 0-1.

On the girls side of things, La Conner is 2-0, with Coupeville and Friday Harbor sitting on 0-1.

Two of the three 2B schools earn a playoff ticket, with plenty of big games between now and the regular season finales Feb. 10.

The week ahead offers a mix of games for Coupeville, with the Wolves travelling to Concrete Tuesday, Jan. 24, before hosting Friday Harbor Jan. 27.

With three weeks left in the regular season, a look at current win/loss records:

 

Northwest League boys basketball:

School League Overall
MV Christian 5-0 13-5
La Conner 3-1 7-7
Orcas Island 3-1 12-6
Coupeville 2-2 9-6
Friday Harbor 1-2 2-11
Concrete 1-5 3-11
Darrington 0-4 3-11

 

Northwest League girls basketball:

School League Overall
MV Christian 5-0 16-2
La Conner 4-0 11-3
Orcas Island 3-1 6-8
Friday Harbor 1-2 3-8
Coupeville 1-3 5-8
Darrington 1-3 8-5
Concrete 0-6 1-13

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