Posts Tagged ‘Northwest League’

Coupeville celebrates its first boys basketball district title since 1970. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They found joy in despair and made the night rock once again.

Not that many years back, the Coupeville High School boys basketball program endured a winless season-plus.

The number of fans in the stands dwindled, excitement ebbed, and that was before a worldwide pandemic crushed the life out of just about everyone.

But the Wolves endured and they rebounded.

Brad Sherman, one of the best to ever make the nets flip in the CHS gym, accepted his prairie destiny and returned to build a program which honored those who came before while looking to craft a bright future.

Brad and Abbey Sherman and their future All-Conference hoops stars. (Deb Sherman photo)

As Sherman and his fellow Wolf coaches worked tirelessly, they drew on a core of players from the Class of 2022.

Three ball-happy sniper Hawthorne Wolfe was the first to reach the varsity, a starter from day one of his 9th grade season, and he was soon followed by Xavier Murdy, the glue.

Later, Logan Martin and Grady Rickner would join, with Miles Davidson contributing while battling through extensive injuries.

Two were missing, with Bennett Boyles battling valiantly against brain cancer in middle school, and Caleb Meyer having moved to the big city before his freshman campaign.

But Bennett, even after his premature passing, remains with his friends in spirit, with Wolfe writing his name on his sneakers, and the team saving a chair on the bench for their youthful companion.

Then, as the world struggled to rise from the pandemic, with masks still required, and frequent Covid tests making it a struggle to keep a roster whole, the last touchstone of my Videoville days returned.

He’s taller now, stronger now, with a lot more of the curly locks he rocked even as a lil’ kid, but Caleb Meyer’s smile still lights up the gym, and his reentry into Wolf Nation was like a lock clicking into place.

Suddenly the Wolves who ran together in middle school were back together, and, backed by a strong group of underclassmen, they were ready to rock the world.

It began with the ultimate smack upside the head, with Coupeville, a 2B school, drop-kicking 3A Oak Harbor — the Wolves proving they wouldn’t crack under pressure, wouldn’t back down against their big-city neighbors, showing a new age had arrived.

Meyer, repeatedly hit in the arms and body by feisty Wildcat defenders as he brought the ball up court, just smiled and never flinched, the ball zinging into the waiting hands of teammates.

Caleb Meyer brings the heat. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Things ended with CHS students storming the court while Wolfe flexed and popped his uniform.

Revenge for an overtime loss to OHHS as a freshman when refs swallowed their whistles as he was brutally thrashed on the final play in regulation?

Possibly, or maybe just an acknowledgment that things were going to be different this time around.

And man, were they ever.

Covid hung over everything — with Sherman often forced to juggle his lineup hours before tipoff as players were sidelined — and it didn’t matter.

Every night a different Wolf seemed to go off, and the hot hand was always fed.

Look, it’s high school ball and, down deep, every player wants to be the guy racking up points, but the 2021-2022 CHS squad did a better job than most at sharing the load — and looking happy about doing it.

They made the pass to the open guy.

They scrambled for every rebound and loose ball.

They sacrificed personal glory for the good of the whole.

A butt hit the floor and four other Wolves ran to pick up the fifth guy.

They were one of the most cohesive teams I’ve seen in my time writing about prep sports, and it paid off.

Win after win, whether it be a rout, or the occasional stunning come-from-behind victory, carried them to a promised land not seen by the boys hoops program in decades.

Team, above all else. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The first league title since 2002, when Sherman himself was still dropping three-balls from the parking lot.

The first district title since 1970, thanks to a win over eternal bogeyman La Conner on Coupeville’s home court in a gym as loud as any I have personally witnessed.

The first trip to the state championships since 1988, back when then head coach Ron Bagby was still rockin’ the ‘stache and the short shorts.

Coupeville was 16-0 when the big dance began — the only unbeaten team left in 2B — and, while the Wolves fell to established powers Kalama and Lake Roosevelt, they pushed both teams hard.

They won praise from rival coaches, media types, and state tourney broadcasters, for their defense, for their hustle, and for the way they meshed.

“Get yourself a hype man like Hawthorne Wolfe!” screamed one giddy play-by-play man, after Hawk danced in celebration when sophomore Logan Downes splashed home a long-range bomb.

It was a theme which continued as the Maraudin’ Murdy boys — Xavier and Alex — relentlessly harassed rival ballhandlers, and Meyer grabbed Rickner and Martin in bearhugs after big plays.

Xavier Murdy cuts down a memory. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Heading into the state tourney, it was obvious few outsiders had any respect for CHS basketball.

If they even knew where Whidbey Island was, they certainly had never seen the Wolf boys play at a high level in a really long time, and we were an afterthought, even at 16-0.

That changed, and now, when Coupeville next steps on a big stage, the conversation will start from a different place.

This is how you build a program, and this team, which overcame deep personal loss and troubling times, will live on as the guys who started the rebirth.

Their accomplishments will sit proudly on the Wall of Fame in the CHS gym, and, after this, they will also be a part of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

Pop up to the top of the blog, under the Legends tab, and you’ll find them sitting side-by-side with some of the most-successful teams in school history.

But, most of all, the ’21-’22 varsity hoops team will live on in the memories of those who saw them play, those who were on the floor, and those who will follow them.

All the young boys and girls who crowded into the CHS gym game after game, the ones who whooped and hollered and high-fived Hawk and X and Co.?

They will take the next step, hit the next bucket, spread the story of Wolf basketball.

Honor the past, embrace the present, strive for the best in the future.

This is the way, the way they were taught by a team for the ages.


Inducted as a team:


The 2021-2022 CHS boys varsity basketball team:



Randy Bottorff
Arik Garthwaite
Brad Sherman
Hunter Smith
Greg White



Hunter Bronec
Dominic Coffman
Logan Downes
Nick Guay
Logan Martin
Caleb Meyer
Alex Murdy
Xavier Murdy
Zane Oldenstadt
Grady Rickner
Jonathan Valenzuela
Cole White
Hawthorne Wolfe



Miles Davidson
David Somes


Team Mom:

Courtney Simpson-Pilgrim


In Memory:

Bennett Boyles

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Coupeville High School baseball standout Hawthorne Wolfe is co-MVP of the Northwest 2B/1B League. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

We’ll take all your top awards. All of them, I said!

Coming off of a league title winning season, the Coupeville High School baseball squad finished strong in All-Conference voting.

Senior pitcher/outfielder Hawthorne Wolfe shared Northwest 2B/1B League MVP honors with Mount Vernon Christian hurler Alec Flury, while CHS head man Will Thayer was tabbed Coach of the Year by his colleagues.

Coupeville, which went 11-1 in league play, 13-7 overall, also landed four players on the All-League team.

Senior pitcher Cody Roberts and junior shortstop Scott Hilborn were First-Team honorees, while senior catcher Xavier Murdy and junior third-baseman Jonathan Valenzuela were Second-Team picks.

Scott Hilborn tracks down a pop fly.


All-Conference teams:



Jordan Boon – Mount Vernon Christian
Levi Buchanan – Friday Harbor
Scott Hilborn – Coupeville
Diego Lago – Orcas Island
Camden Losey – Friday Harbor
Nathan Posenjak – Friday Harbor
Cody Roberts – Coupeville
Jesse Stewart – Darrington
Nathan Symmank – Mount Vernon Christian



Haydin Dinnuis – La Conner
Connar Haines – Friday Harbor
Moose Kinsey – Orcas Island
Graham Learing – Friday Harbor
Xavier Murdy – Coupeville
Joe Stephens – Orcas Island
Jonathan Valenzuela – Coupeville
Joel Votipka – Mount Vernon Christian

Will Thayer ponders strategy.

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It’s one title…

Two titles…

Three league crowns for CHS spring teams. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Hang three more plaques in the Coupeville High School gym.

The weather has been fairly lousy this spring, but Wolf sports teams have provided their own sunshine with their play.

CHS baseball, softball, and girls tennis all claimed Northwest 2B/1B League titles, with track and field narrowly missing out on making it a clean sweep.

The oval kings made up for that, however, as the boys track team captured a district crown Saturday.

As we look to the week ahead, the regular season is done, and postseason play is all the rage.

Coupeville girls tennis and track and field are at Bi-Districts Friday, May 20, travelling to Tumwater and Chehalis respectively.

Meanwhile, Wolf softball returns to the field — after 18 days off — with a winner-to-state, loser-out game May 21 in Centralia against a yet-to-be-named foe.

With the end of the school year fast approaching, and baseball already eliminated, a final look at NWL standings, through games of May 14:


Northwest League baseball:

School League Overall
Coupeville 11-1 13-7
Friday Harbor 10-1 15-2
Orcas Island 6-4 9-6
MV Christian 6-5 10-7
Darrington 2-7 4-11
La Conner 2-9 2-11
Concrete 0-10 0-11


Northwest League girls tennis:

School League Overall
Coupeville 2-0 4-1
Friday Harbor 0-2 0-3


Northwest League softball:

School League Overall
Coupeville 8-0 16-2
Friday Harbor 6-2 8-6
Darrington 3-5 6-6
Orcas Island 2-4 3-6
La Conner 0-8 0-15

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Abby Mulholland unleashes a blistering serve. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Helen Strelow whacks a winner.

Winning titles is kind of their thing.

Take a look at the Wall of Fame in the Coupeville High School gym, and you’ll see girls tennis has the most conference crowns of any Wolf athletic program.

Cliff Horr had a very-successful run as CHS net coach, followed by the Wolves racking up title after title during the ongoing 17-year journey of hardcourt guru Ken Stange.

Tuesday afternoon Stange’s current squad tossed another accomplishment on the pile o’ success, swatting visiting Friday Harbor 5-0 to seal the deal.

The Wolves, battling dodgy weather and a lack of foes this spring, finish 2-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 4-1 overall.

Now it’s on to the postseason for Coupeville’s top girls, with two singles players and two doubles duos headed to Tumwater May 20 for the District 1/4 tourney.

Winners there advance to the state championships May 27-28 in Yakima.


Complete Tuesday results:



1st Singles — Abby Mulholland won 6-0, 6-1

2nd Singles — Helen Strelow won 6-1, 6-1

1st Doubles — Noelle Daigneault/Eryn Wood won 6-2, 6-1

2nd Doubles — Katelin McCormick/Mary Milnes won 6-1, 6-2

3rd Doubles — Hayley Fiedler/Vivian Farris won 6-0, 6-1



4th Doubles — Sophie Martin/Lucy Tenore won 6-4

5th Doubles — Skylar Parker/Karyme Castro lost 6-4

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Bennett Richter (right) is Coupeville High School’s new head football coach. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wolves are staying in-house.

Bennett Richter is making the jump from Defensive Coordinator to Head Coach for the Coupeville High School football program, replacing the departed Marcus Carr.

The hire has been confirmed by CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith and will be official after the school board approves the move at its next meeting.

Richter, a 2009 Oak Harbor grad who played for that school’s ’06 state champion gridiron squad, has been on the Wolf coaching staff since 2018.

It’s a busy time in his life, as he is scheduled to marry Megan Smith, Coupeville High School’s varsity girls basketball coach, this summer.

After having the same man at the helm of the Wolf football program for 26 years, CHS has cycled through head coaches since Ron Bagby retired after the 2009 season.

Jay Silver (two seasons), Tony Maggio (3), Brett Smedley (1), Jon Atkins (2), and Carr (4) precede Richter, who rose from being a volunteer assistant to directing the Wolf defense.

The view from the stands on this hire is extremely positive, as Richter is a passionate, deeply committed coach, well-liked and respected by his peers, players, and fans.

His first game as head coach will be a road game Sept. 2 at Klahowya, with his home debut Sept. 9, when Coupeville plays South Whidbey, with ownership of The Bucket at stake.

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