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Mollie Bailey and the Coupeville JV basketball squad crushed their big city neighbors Monday night, routing Oak Harbor 48-10. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Clemson football has nothing on Coupeville JV girls basketball.

Routing their big city neighbors to the North, the Wolf young guns thrashed Oak Harbor’s C-Team 48-10 Monday night, capturing their fifth win in their last seven games.

Now 5-5 this winter, the JV girls boast the best record of Coupeville’s five high school basketball squads.

And the Wolf girls, fronting a tiny 1A school, cruised Monday despite not having much advance word on their foes, who rep a 3A school.

“Not knowing what to expect, the game plan was decided and all we could do was move forward with it,” said CHS coach Amy King. “We set up for the jump ball a little different, hoping to spread out their defense and give ourselves a better chance to score on the first play.”

Bim-bam-boom, mission accomplished, as Ja’Kenya Hoskins soared high into the air, spiked the tip to Anya Leavell, then celebrated as her fellow fab frosh drove the lane and slapped home a bucket.

Operating with a press on defense, the Wolves then harassed Oak Harbor’s ball-handlers, picking off back-to-back inbound passes.

With Audrianna Shaw providing the tip to the defensive spear, Izzy Wells and Leavell made off with steals.

Get past that trio, and Hoskins was hovering at mid-court, where she immediately clamped on to any wayward balls, as well.

With the host Wildcats crumbling, King switched things up midway through the first quarter, moving to a zone defense and unleashing her not-so-secret weapon.

Kiara (Contreras) came in and made her presence known,” King said. “Ball-hawking and driving back down the court.

“The girls all played very well off each other – true team, making that pass, setting those screens,” she added. “Ja’Kenya was unstoppable with ripping the rebounds and even had some nice put-backs.”

Up 13-2 after one quarter, Coupeville pushed the lead to 21-4 by the half, then went bonkers after the break.

Six Wolves scored during a 20-5 third-quarter surge, with Contreras and Wells leading the way with six apiece.

With the game getting out of hand, King did what she could to keep things reasonable, asking for “good, clean, tough defense,” but moving to a no-steals philosophy during the fourth quarter.

With the win well in hand, Coupeville was able to try new things, such as using post players Wells and Hoskins at point guard, and King was pleased with the effort she got from her 11 active players.

“Everyone stepped up their games tonight,” she said. “Kylie (Van Velkinburgh) was a constant help, whether at wing or post, while Abby (Mulholland) came up with some key rebounds and had a nice scoring night.

Alana (Mihill) was a burst of energy each time she went out on the court. She had a few steals that got the crowd cheering,” King added. “Same with Morgan (Stevens); her defense is getting stronger and stronger and when she grabbed the rebounds, the crowd exploded.

“Very proud of how the girls played.”

Lily Leedy, back in the lineups after being out for multiple games while recovering from a concussion, made an immediate impact, “getting good minutes” and “playing where she hasn’t before on defense and helping handle the ball.”

She also popped in a basket off of a nice drive and kick-out from Contreras.

Audrianna Shaw, Mollie Bailey and Contreras ran Coupeville’s offense for much of the night, and all three “were strong with the ball, setting up our offense and keeping things moving.”

Wells, who “always seems to be in the right place at the right time” paced the Wolves with a game-high 12 points, while also snagging five rebounds and pilfering three steals.

Contreras was hot on her heels with eight points, with Mulholland (7), Leavell (7), Hoskins (6), Shaw (4), Leedy (2), and Bailey (2) also scoring.

Coupeville ripped down 27 boards for the game and recorded 20 steals in three quarters, with Hoskins garnering nine and six, respectively. Contreras topped the team with three assists.

While she couldn’t suit up, Kylie Chernikoff, who is working her way back from an injury, kicked things off nicely by bring a speaker on the bus and filling the relatively short drive with “some great music.”

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Coupeville senior Alex Turner (top) takes control during a pre-season wrestling match. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Coupeville’s one-man wrestling team has officially arrived.

Coming off an inter-squad scrimmage in which he won both of his bouts, Alex Turner split four matches Saturday at the 30-team Edmonds Invite.

The Coupeville High School senior, who is training and traveling with 3A Oak Harbor but competing as a lone Wolf, finished 5th in the 182-pound class.

Both of Turner’s wins Saturday came via points, with 14-8 and 9-7 decisions.

The majority of the teams represented in the Invite were 3A and 4A schools, while Coupeville is among the smallest of 1A institutions.

Seeing a Wolf on the mat is an unusual occurrence, as CHS has no in-school wrestling program.

After transferring from South Whidbey, where he went to state as an alternate in the 170-pound class during his junior season, Turner faced the end of his grappling career.

But, after a plea to the WIAA, he and his father, Joseph, were able to work out an agreement between the two Island schools.

Turner will wrestle in tournaments, but can’t compete and score points for Oak Harbor in dual meets.

He did take part in the annual Purple and Gold scrimmage, beating both Wildcat grapplers who stepped on the mat with him.

Once the postseason starts, Turner will leave OHHS behind and head back down to 1A as he chases his Mat Classic dreams.

“My goal is to make it to the second day of state this year,” he said.

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Freshman Hawthorne Wolfe went for a team-high nine points Wednesday as Coupeville boys basketball opened a new season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s been 3,264 days since Coupeville and Oak Harbor played a varsity high school boys basketball game, and some things have changed.

Back on Dec. 21, 2009, the Wolves had a high-flying, veteran-heavy squad which finished the season 16-5, with one of those wins a 66-61 toppling of their Island neighbors.

Jump forward nine years, and this time the Wildcats boasted experience (and a lot of speed), with a roster stacked to the brim with battle-hardened seniors in 11 of 12 roster slots.

Meanwhile, CHS hit opening night with just one senior, only two returning full-time varsity players, and four of its nine active players making their varsity debut.

So, not a total surprise the large 3A school drilled the ultra-small 1A school Wednesday to the tune of 79-31.

But, while the final score might sting in the moment, the night was not a total loss for Coupeville.

For one thing, it was just one game in an 18-game schedule, a non-conference bout at that, and, hopefully, chock full of lessons for a new-look Wolf squad.

“That’s the beauty of basketball season; it’s not like football, where we have to wait a week to play again,” said CHS coach Brad Sherman. “We can have short memories, take some things in to work on at practice the next two days, then get out there and play (against fellow 1A school Bush) Saturday afternoon.”

Oak Harbor, which was led by the wicked fast Dorian Hardin and the three-ball-flinging Terrell Crumpton, blew out to a 17-0 lead, picking apart the young Wolves with withering defense.

Coupeville didn’t stop the bleeding until Wolf big man Ulrik Wells banked home a free throw late in the opening quarter, followed by a trey from the top off the fingertips of point guard Jered Brown.

The Wildcats seized control by using their press to force turnovers, while holding the Wolves without back-to-back scores for much of the game.

The only small CHS run came midway through the second, when it used four free throws and a Wells jumper in the paint that rattled around for an eternity before plopping through the net, to go on a 6-0 mini-surge.

The ‘Cats, by contrast, put together a second rampage, opening the second half on a 16-0 tear, ending any minor hopes of a Wolf comeback.

“We knew it would be a tough game, facing a very athletic opponent,” Sherman said. “We struggled with their pressure, just trying to do a little too much.

“We will work on executing our break like we know we can,” he added. “It’s a first game, early in the season; against a team like that, you expect some bumps and that’s OK – as long as we are learning and getting better each week.”

Learning is the key word, as three of Coupeville’s top four scorers on the night – Hawthorne Wolfe, Sean Toomey-Stout and Koa Davison, were making their varsity basketball debut.

Toomey-Stout, a football phenom who sat out his sophomore basketball season while recuperating from an injury, gave the Wolves an injection of toughness, while Davison teamed with Wells to provide CHS with some pop in the paint.

The night’s brightest spot, however, might be Wolfe, Coupeville’s floppy-haired, three-ball-spraying, bobbin’ and weavin’ answer to “Pistol” Pete Maravich.

He’s only a freshman, and showed it at times Wednesday, but the upside on this one is huge.

Wolfe splashed a pair of balls from behind the three-point arc on his way to a team-high nine points, but he also had a pair of sweet set-up passes, picking up assists on buckets by Brown and Davison.

Better still, he proved to be a scrapper, hitting the floor frequently and refusing to be bullied by the older Wildcats when there was a battle for a loose ball or re-directed rebound.

That was a trait also demonstrated by his older teammates, with Dane Lucero and Jacobi Pilgrim banging down in the pits and Mason Grove and Jean Lund-Olsen doing their best to disrupt Oak Harbor’s blazing guards.

Toomey-Stout rattled home seven points to back Wolfe’s nine, with Wells (6), Davison (5), Brown (3) and Pilgrim (1) also tallying points in June Mazdra’s score book.

Hardin and Crumpton each went for 17 to pace Oak Harbor, while Haven Brown popped for 13.

Sophomore Matt Kelley, the lone non-senior on the ‘Cat roster and a former Coupeville athlete through middle school, slipped a single, solitary, free throw through the twines.

Along with the loss, Coupeville took a physical hit, or rather two, as Gavin Knoblich rolled his ankle in warm-ups and Brown took a substantial shot to the chest in an area where he had previously had surgery.

One limped back to the bench before tip-off, while the other spent most of the second half with an ice pack wrapped to his chest, and neither’s status is 100% clear for Saturday’s game.

Whomever is ready and able to go against Bush will come out ready for a scrap, though, which pleases their coach.

“Lots of basketball games ahead,” Sherman said. “I really was proud of the guys. They could have put their heads down and quit, they never did that.

“They worked dang hard and left the locker room tonight ready to get back at it tomorrow,” he added. “Says a lot about their character and desire to grow as a team.”

 

JV:

For a moment, an upset seemed on the horizon. Then the rim turned unforgiving.

Unable to buy a bucket for an agonizingly long time, with shot after shot slithering back out of the bucket, the Wolf second unit saw an 8-3 lead turn into a 43-22 loss.

In the first couple of minutes, however, things were peachy, as freshman Logan Martin hit a gorgeous turnaround jumper to start the season, before Daniel Olson and Grady Rickner splashed three-balls from the back reaches of the parking lot.

Then nothing would drop, near or far.

A couple of treys mixed with some fast-break points off of steals helped Oak Harbor run off 17 consecutive points to end the first quarter, and the damage was done.

The rim wasn’t much more forgiving in the second quarter, as a Cody Roberts free throw and a Tucker Hall put-back off of an offensive rebound was all CHS could muster in the second quarter.

The second half was much more competitive, as the teams plowed through an increasingly rough-and-tumble affair.

With plenty of elbows flying and some fiery words exchanged after fouls, the two squads went toe-to-toe, and mouth-to-mouth, with Coupeville winning the third quarter scoring battle and hanging tough in the fourth.

Olson, who was handcuffed to the bench by early foul trouble, rebounded to score seven of his team-high 10 points in the second half.

Hall tossed in four in support, while Grady Rickner (3), Martin (2), TJ Rickner (2) and Roberts (1) also scored.

Sage Downes, Miles Davidson, Alex Jimenez and Chris Ruck rounded out the opening night roster, with Jimenez acquitting himself nicely when running the point under constant pressure.

 

C-Team:

The night’s biggest mismatch, as a very inexperienced Wolf team faced a Wildcat unit which has played together as a group for some time.

Wanting to build a winning attitude from the ground floor, Oak Harbor coaches elected to keep all their freshmen together on one team, regardless of talent level, and it’s a group to keep an eye on.

On opening night, the ‘Cats rolled to a 63-16 win, dropping seven treys and running away with the game early.

Shawn Day and Gage McLeod paced Oak Harbor with 16 points apiece, with the sweet-shooting Day singing the net for four three-balls.

Coupeville got scoring from five of the seven players on the roster, with Jaylen Nitta, Ben Smith and Brayden Coatney leading the way with four points apiece.

Jonathan Partida and Chris Cernick each added a bucket, while Andrew Aparicio and DJ Stadler also saw floor time for the Wolves.

While it was a rough opener, veteran coach Scott Fox is in it for the long haul, as are his players.

“Oak Harbor has played together for five years and it showed. They looked real good today,” he said. “We have kids who have never played basketball before and played well at times. It’s going to get better from here.”

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New CHS cheer coach BreAnna Boon reacts to the news of her hiring. (Photos courtesy Boon)

Boon was a state and national champ as an Oak Harbor cheerleader.

“Winning or losing, cheer teaches you to find the silver lining in every situation.”

Now, there’s been a lot of winning in BreAnna Boon’s career, but Coupeville High School’s new cheer coach wants her athletes to be prepared for anything that comes their way.

Having been tabbed for the job just as a new season kicks into gear — she replaces Emily Stevens, who resigned to spend more time with family — Boon, a repeat state champion during her own prep days, is all about preaching positive reinforcement.

“This may sound odd, but what I enjoy most about cheer is the positive spirit it promotes,” she said. “Learning how to stay positive is a great life lesson you learn in cheer.

“Team bonding is another great aspect that you achieve in cheer. The bonds that are created between teammates are some of the strongest around,” Boon added. “It teaches the squad how to work well with each other.

“I coach my kids to be kind, be proud, have fun and be a part of something greater than themselves.”

Boon achieved that goal during her days at Oak Harbor High School, capping a nine-year run as a cheerleader that began way back in third grade.

She was a team captain for the 2006 Wildcat fall cheer squad which was operating at full force when OHHS won a 4A state football title.

The ‘Cat cheer squad actually outdid the football team, winning state titles all four years Boon was in high school and adding a national championship in 2006.

“I enjoyed some incredibly exciting years as a cheerleader,” she said.

After graduation from OHHS, she kept her love affair with cheer going as a coach, continuing a pattern she had started while still in school.

During her days in the purple and gold, Boon operated as a volunteer coach with the local youth program.

That later blossomed into working as a coach and cheer director. In recent years, she worked at Anacortes High School and the Mount Vernon Christian School.

Boon, whose husband Tyson is part of an all-new coaching staff for the CHS football program, jumped when the opportunity to coach the Wolves unexpectedly opened.

“My goal has always been to acquire a position here on Whidbey Island, as this is my home,” she said. “I love the small-town feel that Coupeville has to offer.

“A small town means a tight-knit community. And a tight-knit community means everyone stands proud together,” Boon added. “Cheerleading is a activity that helps bring together a school and community in a unique way – around sports.”

The idea of community, of giving back, of having people work together to create something bigger than themselves, is very important to the new Wolf coach.

“My goals are to unite cheerleading with all the other sports teams,” Boon said. “I want the teams to know that the squad has their back no matter what. Win or lose, we will always show our support and pride.

“As a coach, one of my goals is to teach the cheerleaders to take pride in their community,” she added. “I am huge on community service and being able to give back in one way or another, is very important.

“The community does a lot for the school, and this is our way of saying thank you. So contact me if you have some community service for us!”

In the past, Coupeville cheer operated both on the sidelines and in competition. With her own extensive background in competitive cheer, Boon has an eye on bringing back those days, but admits it won’t happen tomorrow.

“Right now fall season is just starting, so I am 100% focused on that,” she said. “I want to build a strong squad that will be ready for whatever season it is.

“We will work starting from the ground up in order to put forth a top-notch cheer program,” Boon added. “Competition season is another incredible side to cheer. I would eventually like to bring competition back to CHS, but for now we are doing one step at a time!”

As she begins to work with her cheerleaders, Boon will be putting down the building blocks for the future.

Like former longtime CHS cheer guru Sylvia Arnold, she wants an inclusive squad which brings pride to its community, in game and out.

“I want to show the town of Coupeville that cheerleading is so much more than the stereotypical stigma that follows it,” Boon said. “It’s about how the squad can impact and make a significant difference not only in the school but the community as well.

“They are cheerLEADERS. We may be cheering on the sidelines, but I expect them to have LEADING roles at all times,” she added. “They are role models, in uniform or not. The squad will be setting the bar pretty high with our leadership on and off the field.”

Whether they are with her for one season or four, Boon’s goal is for each of her athletes to exit head held high, proud of what they accomplished and able to look back on their prep careers with the same joy she feels when she remembers her own journey.

“My goal for these kids, is to help them grow not only as a cheerleader, but also as an individual,” she said. “I hope to help them see the greatness in themselves as well as each other and to be able to appreciate it.

“Everyone who is on the squad is an important part of a very big team,” Boon added. “I want them to be able to take away great friendships and memories that will last throughout the years.”

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If Coupeville makes it to the state football playoffs, their first-round foe will be decided by experts and not blind luck. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Oak Harbor High School head football coach Jay Turner. (Photo property of Oak Harbor School District)

The world is in shock right now. Shock, I say.

For maybe the first time in its checkered history, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has listened to the complaints and is changing something for the better.

The change in question revolves around the state football playoffs, and the answer comes in the form of seeding committees announced Wednesday afternoon.

In previous years, the 16 teams in each classification involved in the playoffs were paired off by blind draw.

Which meant the process often ended up pairing up two of the top teams, sometimes even #1 and #2, in the first round.

What should have been a likely state title match-up went down way too early, while, by the luck of the draw, #15 and #16 sometimes matched up for a spot in the quarterfinals.

But, after much venting, that changes this fall.

Qualifying for the state playoffs remains the same as before, with each district allocated a certain number of slots.

But, once the 16 teams in each division are set, a committee of 12 experts, comprised of current and former coaches, AD’s, journalists and computer rankings whiz kids, will sit down and rank the gridiron squads.

One of those who made it through the application process was Oak Harbor High School head football coach Jay Turner, who landed on the 3A/4A committee.

Other notable names include Pat Alexander, who had a 41-year run as Defensive Coordinator at Tumwater (including my time as a T-Bird).

Sultan head coach Jim Wright gives Coupeville’s new league, the North Sound Conference, a voice, while the inclusion of outside experts Ryland Spencer of Cascadia Preps and Scott Odiorne, AKA The Score Czar, prove that, for once, the WIAA actually thought something out.

The 2018 football seeding committees:

1B and 2B:

Brian Bailey – Head Coach at Entiat
Jon Davidson – Retired Head Coach who currently assists at Toutle Lake
Jay Hawkins – Head Coach at Tonasket
Jim Holman – Head Coach at Asotin
Kyle Kimble – Head Coach at Pomeroy
Buck Marsh – Superintendent/AD/Head Coach at Darrington
Tom Sanchez – AD/Former Head Coach at South Bend
Aaron Van Tuyl – Sports Reporter at The Daily Chronicle
Matthew Evans – Publisher of Evans Rankings
Doug Ashmore – Former Coach at Napavine, Onalaska, Centralia
Ryland Spencer – Cascadia Preps
Scott Odiorne – ScoreCzar Rankings

1A and 2A:

Elia Ala’ilima-Daley – Former Head Coach; AD at Cascade (Leavenworth)
Pat Alexander – Retired – 41-year Assistant Coach at Tumwater
Brycen Bye – Head Coach at Clarkston
Jay Dodd – Head Coach at Blaine
John Hallead – Head Coach at Columbia (White Salmon)
Cody Lamb – Head Coach at LaSalle
Shawn Perkins – Head Coach at Mark Morris
Dan Teeter – Head Coach at Lakewood
Jeff Weible – Head Coach at North Kitsap
Jim Wright – Head Coach at Sultan
Ryland Spencer – Cascadia Preps
Scott Odiorne – ScoreCzar Rankings

3A and 4A:

John Barrington – AD at Mead
Ross Filkins – Head Coach/AD at Peninsula
Matthew Gracey – Head Coach at Heritage
Monte Kohler – Head Coach/AD at O’Dea
William Marsh – Retired AD/Head Coach at Eastside Cathholic
Adam Mathieson – Head Coach at Mountain View
Scott Nordi – AD at Lakes; Gridiron Classic Co-Coordinator
Mark Perry – AD at Snohomish
Jay Turner – Head Coach at Oak Harbor
Lauren Smith – Sports Reporter for Tacoma News Tribune, The Olympian
Ryland Spencer – Cascadia Preps
Scott Odiorne – ScoreCzar Rankings

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