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Grady Rickner was one of four Wolves who scored in double digits Saturday afternoon. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

What a week.

Three wins in four days, with the latest triumph coming Saturday on Orcas Island, has carried the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball team into first-place in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

Using a withering defense, and the second 38-point performance this season from junior sharpshooter Hawthorne Wolfe, CHS rolled to a resounding 86-56 win.

Payback for an early-season loss to the Vikings, the victory lifts the Wolves to 6-3 and gives them total control of their own destiny.

While Mount Vernon Christian has the same 6-3 record as Coupeville, the Wolves swept the season series from the Hurricanes, giving them an edge.

CHS also has three games left to play, while MVC only has two, having declined to host Orcas Island this season after that school requested no fans be present during the ongoing pandemic.

Friday Harbor, which comes to Whidbey Tuesday, June 8, and Orcas, whose season ended prematurely and in flames Saturday, sit at 5-3, with La Conner at 4-4.

Darrington (2-3) and Concrete (0-9) — which are Coupeville’s final two foes — round out the league standings.

Coupeville entered this week with a .500 record, but that was very deceptive.

The Wolves were essentially two plays from being 5-1 and not 3-3, with their only solid loss coming when Orcas went bonkers from behind the three-point line for one quarter.

Saturday, CHS coach Brad Sherman preached defense, defense, and more defense, and his players took it to heart, shutting down the Vikings snipers and never allowing them to find a rhythm.

“Great team basketball today,” Sherman said. “Proud of how our guys are coming together – especially on the defensive end.

“They worked their tails off this week!”

By contrast, Wolfe and his running mates were feeling it, and then some, combining to rain down 12 three-balls.

Eight of those came from the high-flying, jitterbugging Hawk, who was in full-on Pistol Pete Maravich mode, while Xavier Murdy netted two, and Logan Martin and Daniel Olson also flipped the nets from distance.

For that matter, everything was dropping for Coupeville.

Inside, outside, from the parking lot. Didn’t matter.

As long as it wasn’t a free throw, as the Wolves only went to the line once — a season-low from a squad which often shoots a lot of charity shots.

But then again, that’s probably because CHS launched most of its shots before the Orcas defense could get set long enough to consider fouling anyone.

Grady Rickner opened the scoring with a pair of quick runners, but the Wolves found themselves in a hole, for the briefest of moments.

Cue the tsunami.

Martin swished an in-close jumper, launching a game-busting 14-0 run which included Wolfe’s first two treys, and the floodgates were open.

Both Murdy boys were on fire, with Alex soaring in for a breakaway layup off a Hawk pass, followed by Xavier pump-faking his defender into the stands before rolling hard to the hoop for a bucket.

Strollin’ and rollin’ to his own unique beat, Wolfe delivered the dagger.

Boppin’ up court, he watched the clock tick down, then spun and made sweet love to the net, nailing a very-long, buzzer-beating three-ball which sent the Coupeville JV players into a screaming fit.

Coupeville kept shooting, kept hitting, and kept harassing the life out of the Vikings while on defense, sending the lead out to 42-29 at the half.

Olson, a senior who has found his niche using his long arms to shut down opponent’s passing lanes, tossed in five points in the second frame, as CHS spread out the offensive love.

Just in case they forgot about him, Wolfe emerged from the locker room with a slight smile on his face and a burning desire to put on a shooting clinic for all gathered.

Rifling four successful shots from behind the arc, with at least two of those from a distance Steph Curry would have approved of, Wolfe outscored Orcas 16-11 in the third quarter.

Add buckets for Martin, Grady Rickner, and both Xavier and Alex Murdy, and the rout was on.

Six players scored in the final quarter as Coupeville stretched the final margin to 30, sending an emphatic message out to what has been a very-competitive league.

Wolfe’s 38 matches his total from the season-opener at MVC, and is just 10 off of the school single-game record of 48, set by Jeff Stone in the pre-three-ball world of 1970.

With the scoring burst, Hawk hit several milestones Saturday, joining the 600-point club, moving from #36 to #30 on the CHS boys career scoring list, and passing one of his coaches as he did so.

Now with 625 points and counting, Wolfe skips past Gabe McMurray (592), Mike Syreen (594), Brian Miller (597), Joe Whitney (601), current CHS assistant coach Greg White (604), and John O’Grady (611).

And he wasn’t the only Coupeville player to crack an exclusive club, as Xavier Murdy tossed in 12, giving him 204 varsity points.

The Wolves had four players in double figures, with Grady Rickner and Alex Murdy each going off for 10, while Olson and Martin netted seven apiece.

Sage Downes sank Coupeville’s remaining bucket, with Logan Downes and TJ Rickner getting floor time for the surging Wolves.

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Logan Downes tossed in 19 points Saturday, sparking the Coupeville JV to its fourth-straight win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The streak is a living thing.

Dominating host Orcas Island in three of four quarters Saturday, the Coupeville High School JV boys basketball squad captured a 45-38 win, its fourth-straight triumph.

The red-hot Wolves will carry a 4-3 record into their season finale next Tuesday, June 8, when they host Friday Harbor.

While the CHS varsity has three games left on its schedule, two of those schools — Concrete and Darrington — don’t have active JV programs, limiting the times the Wolf young guns get to play.

Coupeville took advantage of having an opponent to square off with Saturday, jumping out to a 13-8 lead after one quarter of play.

Freshman Logan Downes had the hot hand early, dropping in five points during the run, but the best was yet to come for him.

Orcas proved resilient, climbing back into the game and actually taking the lead before halftime.

A 15-6 Vikings run staked the home team to a 23-19 advantage at the break, but Downes was lurking in the shadows, ready to blow everything up.

Raining down pain from every angle, he promptly went off for 12 points in the third quarter alone, pushing the Wolves back in front at 32-29.

Once it had the lead, Coupeville held on to it, with six different players scoring in the final frame, led by Cole White, who nailed a pair of three-balls to keep the Vikings at bay.

Downes finished with a game-high 19, with White (8), Jonathan Valenzuela (7), Dominic Coffman (6), Ryan Blouin (2), Nick Guay (2), and William Davidson (1) also scoring.

Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim and Zane Oldenstadt rounded out the Wolf players to see floor time.

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Morgan Stevens was one of five Wolves who scored Saturday in a JV game on Orcas Island. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Some games the basket likes you, some games it doesn’t.

Unfortunately for the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball squad, Saturday was one of those latter times.

With the rims on Orcas Island being unforgiving, the Wolves, who were also missing two starters, fell 45-22 to the Vikings.

The loss drops the CHS young guns to 1-3 heading into their season finale at home Tuesday, June 8.

Friday Harbor, which Coupeville thrashed the first time around, is the opponent in that one.

Saturday, the Wolves were without Katie Marti and Madison McMillan, but the 10 girls who made the long trip were ready and rarin’ to go, and gave maximum effort.

“We had a lot of good shots, but nothing seemed to fall for us,” said CHS coach Megan Smith.

“Missing a few key players forced some girls to play in different positions and sometimes it was a scramble,” she added. “But, as always, proud of what we did.”

Orcas jumped out to a 9-4 lead after one quarter of play, then stretched the margin to 24-13 by the half and 29-19 heading into the fourth.

A 16-3 tear by the Vikings over the course of the game’s final eight minutes makes the final margin look worse than it really was most of the way.

Coupeville was led by 8th grader Lyla Stuurmans, who banked in 14 points, including all nine of her team’s points in the second quarter.

She had a bit of a duel with Orcas gunner Lili Malo, who also tallied nine in the second frame, finishing with a game-high 20 on her home floor.

Jessenia Camarena (3), Morgan Stevens (2), Desi Ramirez (2), and Reese Wilkinson (1) also scored for Coupeville, with Bryley Gilbert, Skylar Parker, Pam Morrell, Kassidy Upchurch, and Kayla Arnold all seeing floor time.

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Carolyn Lhamon returned from an injury Saturday, helping Coupeville roll to a big road win on Orcas Island. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Quite the turn around.

A game after posting its fewest points of the season, the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball squad bounced back with a vengeance Saturday afternoon.

Led by Izzy Wells, who knocked down eight of her game-high 14 points in the final quarter, the Wolves held off Orcas Island 45-36 for a huge road win which doubles as sweet revenge.

The first time the teams met in Coupeville, the Vikings escaped with a three-point win.

This time out, with nine Wolves scoring and the team tying its season-high for points, it all ended in a much-happier way.

“We had a great practice yesterday and that led to an awesome performance today!,” said Coupeville coach Scott Fox. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of these girls.

“We could have folded, but we came out with a vengeance for a great road win.”

CHS was coming off back-to-back losses to undefeated La Conner and one-loss Mount Vernon Christian, but the Orcas win sends the Wolves in the right direction as the season nears its end.

The Wolves, now 4-5 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, have games left against Friday Harbor, Concrete, and Darrington — all teams they have previously beaten this season by double-digits.

Coupeville only scored six points total in its loss to MVC, but put up 15 Saturday in the first quarter alone.

Yet still trailed 20-15 at the first break, as the squads swapped buckets and pushed the pace.

A pair of Orcas three-balls to end the quarter was the difference, but the Wolves didn’t seem flustered a bit.

They were moving the ball crisply, and getting points from everyone on the floor, with six different players tallying a bucket in the opening frame.

Audrianna Shaw started things, going up and around a backpedaling defender for the game’s first bucket, then turned around and fired a crisp outlet pass to set up Maddie Georges for a layup on the very next possession.

Wolf 8th grader Savina Wells netted a three-ball of her own, flipping the net high, and the game looked like it might end with both teams gunning for 70-75 points.

Instead, the combined point totals came down the rest of the way, falling from 35 in the first, to 20 in the second, then 16 and 10 after the half.

A big part of that was Coupeville’s defense, which limited Orcas to more no three-balls after the first quarter, and just 16 points across the final three quarters.

Ja’Kenya Hoskins, Carolyn Lhamon, and Savina Wells dominated the boards, while the Wolf guards attacked from all angles, causing frequent turnovers.

Once they had the ball in their hands, the Wolves continued to spread out their offense, with Kylie Van Velkinburgh and Ryanne Knoblich getting on the board with buckets to open the second quarter.

Both baskets were set up by crisp passes, as Savina Wells and Georges fired balls which zipped between defenders before landing softly in their teammate’s hands.

Coupeville took the lead for good at 23-22, with Hoskins dropping a pair of velvety-smooth free throws through the net, then continued to turn up the defensive heat.

Orcas, playing its season finale in this pandemic-altered season, didn’t go down easily, however.

The Vikings stayed within range at 37-34 through three quarters, and it could have been even tighter.

But, up by a single point, Shaw busted the defense, hauled in a long pass, and slapped home a layup right before the Orcas scorekeeper could hit the buzzer to signal the end of the quarter.

After exchanging buckets to open the fourth, the ever-serene Izzy Wells strolled across the court and drove a stake through the heart of Vikings fans everywhere.

Scoring on a combination of moves, Savina’s older sister iced things by collecting the game’s final three buckets, earning a nod of approval from her coach.

Izzy’s offensive performance was spectacular to see,” Fox said. “Audri was our rock, as usual, and Ja’Kenya crashed the boards like no other.

“It makes the ferry ride home much nicer!”

With her 14-point performance, Izzy Wells cracks the 100-point club, becoming the 102nd girl in CHS hoops history to do so since 1974.

She actually has 102 points, and counting, and is (for the moment at least) the #101 scorer all-time.

Shaw, who is making her own run at the 100-point club, finished with 11 Saturday, while Hoskins and Georges tossed in four apiece.

Knoblich (3), Savina Wells (3), Gwen Gustafson (2), Van Velkinburgh (2), and Lhamon (2) rounded out the offense, while Lyla Stuurmans and Anya Leavell also saw floor time.

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Xavier Murdy was a wild man on both ends of the floor Thursday as Coupeville battled Orcas Island. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You love to see it.

Xavier Murdy scrambling to get back and draw a charging foul when the game was already lost.

Murdy, fighting his way through three rivals to haul in one of his 14 rebounds, again long after the game was decided.

Hawthorne Wolfe, coming off a 20-point performance but not happy with the end result, keeping the lights on in the gym long after the game, putting up shot after shot, only occasionally stopping to argue with the machine feeding him the ball.

It would have been easy for the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball players to have hung their heads Thursday after falling 70-53 to visiting Orcas Island.

That they didn’t, and that they actually carved their deficit in half by the final buzzer, are strong signs for a team which sits at 1-1 on the young season.

Swamped by a second-quarter monsoon in which the Vikings rained down 34 points while seemingly never missing a shot, the Wolves lost an early lead.

And it got worse from there, with Coupeville trailing by almost five touchdowns early in the fourth quarter, while playing a sport where you can’t get seven points back on one play.

Yet the Wolves kept fighting, closed the game on a 17-0 run, and are already circling the June 5 rematch on the calendar.

“I am eager to play them again,” said CHS coach Brad Sherman. “I think we match up very well with them.

“Teams make runs, and they certainly did today. We just have to be mentally tough and be better at stopping those runs.”

The game started with two fairly evenly-matched teams exchanging the lead as the first quarter played out.

Xavier Murdy crashed to the basket hard for a pair of buckets, Wolfe put up a quick seven points on a variety of moves, and X-Man’s younger brother capped things off.

Slashing through the backpedaling defense, Alex Murdy skipped a layup off the glass right before the buzzer to stake Coupeville to a 17-15 lead at the first break.

There were no fans in the stands to get the joint rockin’, but the Wolves, bouncing and barking enthusiastically at each other, made up for it.

And they were right there, at 20-20, after Wolfe hit a runner while hanging in the air long after his defender had retreated to the surly bonds of Earth.

But then the bottom fell out.

The bottom of the net Orcas was shooting at, to be precise, as the Vikings locked on and unloaded, with a 29-5 run to close the second quarter horrifying in its precision.

Everything was going in for the visitors, whether it be long bombs (they outshot Coupeville 10-2 on three-balls, 5-0 in the first half), offensive rebounds put back up and in, or pull-up jumpers on the move.

The exact opposite was happening for Coupeville, as shot after shot rolled around the rim, took a weird last-second skip, or simply popped back up and out.

Other than a couple of free throws, the only Wolf bucket in the last six minutes of the half came on a roll to the hoop by freshman Logan Downes.

Trailing 49-25 at the break, Coupeville got back into a partial groove in the third, then finished strongly in the fourth.

“I love how our guys responded in the second half,” Sherman said. “Certainly, give a lot of credit to Orcas and how they shot the ball, but we never gave in.

“Having things like Xavier crashing the offensive boards hard down 25 is a very positive sign.”

X-Man got his JV counterparts in the stands to get rowdy when he elevated down deep and rejected an Orcas shot, while the Downes brothers hooked up for a nice scoring play.

Sage, a senior, corralled a loose ball, then flipped a pass to Logan, a freshman, who crashed through the defense for a layup in a game in which both brothers scored their first varsity points, uniting them with older brother Hunter on the career scoring chart.

It was a good game to become a made man, as TJ Rickner and Cody Roberts joined Downes brothers #2 and #3, also notching the first varsity points of their prep career.

The tenth and final Orcas trey, very early in the final frame, pushed the margin out to 70-36, but then the Wolves clamped down on both ends of the floor.

Forcing turnovers and hitting the boards with abandon, Coupeville closed with intensity and passion, and another Downes-to-Downes basket.

This time, the assist went to Logan, and the bucket to Sage, proving the duo can share and share alike.

Wolfe finished with a team-high 20 points, but Orcas countered with a nasty one-two combo of Tomas Holmes and Diego Lago, who went for 37 and 20, respectively, while combining to hit all 10 Vikings three-balls.

Logan Downes and Grady Rickner each banked home seven points for the Wolves, with Xavier Murdy (5), Sage Downes (4), and Alex Murdy (3) chipping in to the effort.

Roberts (2), Daniel Olson (2), Logan Martin (2), and TJ Rickner (1) also scored, while freshman Cole White played aggressive defense.

Coupeville gets a chance to bounce right back, traveling to Friday Harbor for a Saturday afternoon rumble between two 1-1 teams.

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