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Mallory Kortuem leads the charge Thursday as Coupeville and Cedar Park Christian waged a double overtime thriller. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Showing off their support for cancer research on Pink Night, the Wolves played under blue skies.

Ema Smith gets her head into the game.

Leaving the goalie in her dust, Anna Dion slaps home a goal.

Everything but the win.

Playing on a night when they raised awareness for cancer research, the Coupeville High School girls soccer team put together quite a show for the local fans.

Led by two more goals from rampaging sophomore sensation Genna Wright, the Wolves pushed visiting Cedar Park Christian to the very limit, before falling 4-3 in double overtime.

The Eagles slipped in the winning score with just over a minute left to play, averting a draw and keeping CHS locked in a tie for the final playoff berth out of the North Sound Conference.

With the narrow loss, the Wolves fall to 1-7 in league play, 2-10-1 overall.

Coupeville, which has two games left — Senior Night against South Whidbey Oct. 15 and a road trip to Granite Falls Oct. 17 — is tied with Sultan (1-7).

King’s (8-0) clinched the league title Thursday with a 2-1 win over Granite Falls (5-3), while South Whidbey (5-3) moved into a second-place tie with a 7-0 shellacking of Sultan.

With its win, Cedar Park Christian (4-4) sits in fourth-place.

Five of six teams from the North Sound Conference advance to the double-elimination district tourney, which starts Oct. 22, with the #5 seed drawing King’s in the first round.

If Coupeville and Sultan finish the regular season in a tie, they will meet Saturday, Oct. 20 to decide who will be the #5 seed.

The game will be on the turf in Sultan, thanks to a blind draw to determine tiebreaker hosts.

While the Wolves would have preferred a win Thursday, CHS coach Kyle Nelson was happy to see his team bounce back after a rough road loss earlier in the week.

“One of our best games, bringing things together,” he said. “It was an exciting back and forth game; we had more opportunities and they capitalized on some free kicks.”

Wright smacked a pair of goals into the back of the net to pace the Wolves, her sixth and seventh of her sophomore season.

That gives her 17 for her career, tying her with Lindsey Roberts for the lead among active players, and moving her halfway to the Wolf girls program record of 35 goals by Mia Littlejohn.

Coupeville’s other goal came from junior Anna Dion, who recorded her second score of the season.

 

To see everything John Fisken shot Thursday, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Soccer-2018-2019/GS-2018-10-11-vs-CPC/

When you do, remember, purchases help fund scholarships for two CHS senior student/athletes.

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   Hunter Downes, here wrestling away a rebound in an earlier game, was a defensive demon Friday, coming up with a huge steal in the final 10 seconds of regulation. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Everything but the win.

Playing for only the second time in 16 days, the Coupeville High School boys basketball squad went to war with visiting North Mason Friday, coming within a play of upending their speed-demon 2A rivals.

But the Bulldogs, who were atrocious all night from the free throw line, were flawless in the one moment which mattered, holding on for a wild 63-61 win in overtime.

The non-conference loss drops Coupeville to 3-7, but the Wolves have an immediate chance to rebound, hosting Klahowya Saturday afternoon (3:45 varsity tip) in a key Olympic League clash.

Topple the Eagles and the Wolves will sit atop the league standings at 2-0.

Coupeville has faced a tough non-conference schedule, and, by and large, the Wolves have held up well.

Friday was no different as the Wolves bolted out to a big lead early, scrambled to pull off a miracle in the final 10 seconds of regulation, then almost pulled off a second miracle in the extra period.

Trailing by four with 25 seconds left in regulation, CHS improbably tied up the game thanks to one sure thing, and one huge surprise.

The sure thing was Hunter Smith attacking the basket, drawing a foul, then banking home a pair of free throws which softly snapped through the net.

The improbable came after the Wolves used back-to-back fouls to frustrate North Mason.

Coupeville had fouls to give, and the calls forced the Bulldogs to take the ball out of bounds both times. The second time, with eight seconds to play, the Wolves took advantage.

North Mason, rushing to beat a five-second call, threw a pass into the wrong thicket of arms, and Wolf defensive ace Hunter Downes read it perfectly.

The senior snared the ball off of the fingertips of a rival, spun and fed Smith for a breakaway layup to knot things at 53-53, sending his home fans into hysterics.

CHS then almost pulled off a true miracle, as Joey Lippo knocked the ball away on the next play, stole it and chucked up a prayer right before the final buzzer.

It wasn’t answered, however, and, for the second time this season, Coupeville went to overtime.

The extra four minutes weren’t as kind this time around as they were the first time during a win over Port Townsend, as North Mason hit back-to-back three-balls to start things off.

Suddenly down eight, with time running out, Ethan Spark did his best one-man impersonation of a scoring machine, hitting a trey and two free throws to pull Coupeville within 61-58.

Forced to foul, the Wolves sent Jha’mal Johnson to the line.

North Mason was just 7 of 18 at the charity stripe to that point, but Johnson was money, dropping in both shots to all but seal the win.

Spark nailed another long three-ball, his fifth of the game, but the Wolves couldn’t buy a foul at the end, poking at the North Mason players to no avail as the final six seconds ran off the clock.

The wild finale capped a game that went in spurts.

Coupeville opened on fire, rolling out to a 17-5 lead midway through the first quarter, with four different players knocking down buckets.

Smith and Lippo had six apiece in the opening run, with the latter netting three the easy way (a trey on the first shot of the game) and three the hard way (a bucket in the paint, followed by a free throw).

Toss in a three-ball from Spark and a short jumper from Kyle Rockwell, who was moving like a young Karl Malone, and things were humming for the Wolves.

Until they weren’t.

North Mason turned the tables from late in the first quarter until right before halftime, compiling its own 17-5 surge to knot things at 22-22.

That just meant it was Lippo time, again, as the senior, who was having the finest offensive night of his basketball career, tossed in another four, with his final layup sending CHS into the locker room up 27-23.

Coupeville’s Achilles heel has been the third quarter, and North Mason took advantage of a brief bit of Wolf sluggishness to run off nine straight points to open the quarter.

Spark finally stopped the bleeding with a silky jumper from the side five minutes into the quarter, and another three-the-hard-way from Lippo pulled the Wolves back within 37-33 headed to the fourth.

The final quarter was a donnybrook, with seven lead changes.

Downes, who would later come up with the game-defining steal and assist, had a put-back off of a rebound that was huge, while North Mason gunner Trey Fisher started hitting everything from everywhere.

Fisher, who didn’t score in the first half, finished with a game-high 22, with the majority of that coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Included in that were three straight eyebrow-raising shots, counting for seven points total, which he rained down immediately after a Spark three-ball gave Coupeville a 49-46 lead.

The Wolves spread much of their scoring among three players, with Spark hitting for 20, while Smith and Lippo chipped in with 18 apiece.

That was a career-high for Lippo, while Smith’s points raise his career total to 657.

He passed Jason McFadyen (654) Friday to move into 23rd on the CHS boys basketball career scoring chart.

Downes (3) and Rockwell (2) rounded out the scoring.

JV stumbles early:

Take away the first quarter, in which they dug themselves a 20-0 deficit, and the Wolf JV made a game of things.

But that opening eight minutes, where a full-court press shredded a lot of their resolve, made things hard, and CHS couldn’t get all the way back in a 58-28 loss.

The non-conference defeat drops the Wolf young guns to 1-8 on the season.

Coupeville, which didn’t get a shot off in the first three minutes of the game, finally broke through on the scoreboard on the opening shot of the second quarter.

Then promptly suffered another 13-1 run at the hands of the Bulldogs.

Pick the game up from the final minute of the second quarter through the end of regulation, and it was a 25-25 stalemate, though, with Mason Grove raining down five treys on his way to a team-high 15.

Jake Pease fought hard in the paint for six points, while Sages Downes (4), Koa Davison (2) and Jonathan Partida (1) rounded out the scoring.

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   Beware the wrath of “The Enforcer.” Wolf senior Kyle Rockwell delivered several “Rock Blocks” Tuesday, sparking an incredible comeback win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Today, most of the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball players are 16, 17, maybe 18 years old.

Storming back from 12 down in the fourth quarter Tuesday, upending defending league champ Port Townsend 44-41 in overtime, rebounding from the worst night of the season to lay claim to the best — it’s huge in the moment.

Yet tomorrow, the Wolves return to school, family life, practice, all the routine things of life. They won’t have much time to bask in a victory which raises them to 1-0 in Olympic League play, 2-3 overall.

But wait a bit.

Give it 10 years down the road, when they come back for that first reunion.

Or 20 years down the road, when they tell the tale to their own children.

Wait until their playing days are long gone, when they are the grandfathers in the stands at games, and what went down Dec. 12, 2017 will stay with these Wolves.

It will live forever in their memories, one bright, shining moment when team meant everything, and calmness under pressure was rewarded.

They’ll look back and remember the “Rock Blocks,” resounding rejections delivered in crunch time by senior enforcer Kyle Rockwell.

Hunter Smith’s insane drive through the paint in overtime, slicing ‘n dicing three defenders as he banked home a game-winner while explosively stumbling on one foot, will remain crystal clear.

And Jered Brown’s game-clinching free throws — little rain drops of perfection splashing through the net, delivered as Port Townsend’s JV players wailed and gnashed their teeth right next to me — will be the perfect capper as old men raise their glasses and remember the thrill of youth.

Now, at this point, some of you are shaking your heads and saying, “It was just a game.”

Right…

This was Port Townsend, once invincible.

This was the RedHawks, still the kings until someone forcibly topples them from their perch.

And this was Port Townsend, the team that drove a stake through Coupeville’s heart a year ago.

The man who knifed the Wolves in last year’s thriller was Jacob Boucher, and he played a major role in Tuesday’s reversal of fortune.

This time, though, instead of hitting a game-winning three-ball, he was being sent to the locker room, ejected after getting two technical fouls, then continuing to run his mouth in the presence of the refs.

The ejection, coming on the heels of Rockwell rising up to snuff a RedHawk shot, gave Coupeville several things in one fell swoop.

Trailing 35-22, and having hit just one field goal in the entire second half, the Wolves needed a spark. Something to rile them up and make them rise up.

Bingo, Boucher.

The ejection stopped the clock, which was running away from the Wolves, it sent Smith to the line, where he swished three free throws, and it knocked a great deal of the air out of the RedHawks.

Suddenly, despite a double-digits lead, they became the tentative team, and suddenly, none of their shots would drop against a CHS defense which had reclaimed its “five wild dogs attacking as one” status.

Two more free throws from Ethan Spark, then (miracle of miracles) back-to-back field goals (the first since the four-minute mark of the third) sliced the lead to 36-32.

Port Townsend knocked down one final bucket, on a quick cut inside, but the momentum had turned and the tsunami was headed straight at the RedHawks.

A Smith free throw cut the margin to five, then Coupeville forced a turnover in the back court.

With bodies flying everywhere, the ball landed on the fingertips of Spark, who was struggling a bit with his shot.

Never fear, as, when it mattered most, the senior gunner was straight money, swishing a three-ball from the left corner to slice the lead to 38-36.

The improbable, the unexpected, the beautifully-crafted comeback reached its apex with another defensive stop, a silky-smooth pull-up jumper from Smith, and then 31 seconds of pure, golden, defensive Hell.

Port Townsend had two chances, one to take the lead, and another, after a long rebound, to outright win, but couldn’t hit either shot while being bombarded by a stifling Wolf defense.

Playing without defensive spark-plug Cameron Toomey-Stout, who rolled his ankle earlier in the game, the Wolves mixed and matched their lineup.

Rockwell, Brown and Dane Lucero, mixed with Smith, Spark and the Glass Cleaner Twins, rebounding aces Hunter Downes and Joey Lippo, brought the heat in the nerve-shredding finale.

Tied at 38-38, with a fresh four minutes added to the clock for overtime, the two teams went toe-to-toe.

This wasn’t a case of one team losing, but instead a tale of one team rising up to claim a win, no matter the cost, or how hard their foe came at them.

And give the RedHawks credit. They fought like savages to the final moment.

A gorgeous shot from Smith, hanging in air for eternity while his shot hit the back of the rim, clanked around, then flopped through, put CHS up.

Port Townsend responded, getting three the hard way, on a put-back and ensuing free throw, before Smith pulled off what might be the best basket he has ever scored.

Now, we’re talking about a guy who went for a season-high 26 points Tuesday.

A guy who passed former Wolf greats Marc Bissett, Jim Syreen, Roy Marti and Randy Duggan to move from #37 to #33 on the school’s career scoring list.

The master of calm, cool and collected, who, when he is not astounding, is just plain magnificent.

But this one, this shot, this was one for the ages.

His team trailing 42-41, the clock ticking towards 30 seconds left in overtime, Smith sucked the defense to him, then slashed/stumbled/rumbled up the gut, somehow beating the rules of gravity to stay on his feet.

Three RedHawks had a chance to stop him, and Smith made them all miserable, slapping the shot through the tiniest crack in the defense, banking the ball up off the glass and in.

All around him, madness reigned, people screamed like banshees, and, this is not 100% confirmed, but it’s possible Smith might have actually raised his eyebrow a single, solitary millimeter.

Which, for him, is the equivalent of another player ripping their jersey in half.

And yet, there’s more!

Port Townsend had not one, not two, but three close-in shots in the final seconds, but could not buy a bucket.

How the final tipped shot from Noa Montoya didn’t go down is a mystery best explained by the CHS gym having a ghost who was perfectly positioned to knock the ball back up and out of the cylinder.

With the ball on the floor, it was Brown, a five-foot-seven sophomore wandering in between the big trees, who grabbed the game’s biggest rebound.

If Smith is ever-calm, Brown’s placid demeanor when playing makes his teammate look like a raving lunatic by comparison.

It’s possible his nerves were exploding on the inside, but, on the outside, Brown projected the feeling of a cool breeze reaching out and caressing every Wolf fan’s face.

The RedHawk supporters screamed. Brown dropped in the first free throw with barely a ripple in the net.

The RedHawk supporters wailed. Brown dropped in free throw number two, and the net never moved.

Cue one final moment of madness, as Smith knocked the in-bounds pass away and time ran out before Port Townsend could get a game-tying shot off, and the celebration swept through the gym, a tidal wave of joy.

The furious finale capped a game that was very close until Coupeville’s shooting woes in the third quarter and part of the fourth allowed the RedHawks to (seemingly) pull away.

Bright spots in the early going for the Wolves came via a 7-0 run to close the first quarter, two sparkling shots from Lippo (one a three-ball, another on a quick cut under the hoop) and Coupeville’s defensive intensity.

Downes, giving up inches but compensating for it with heart, was an animal on the boards, while Rockwell continues to carve out his legend as a folk hero.

An easy-going big man who has never let blindness in one eye slow him down, the senior scored his first-ever varsity points on a pair of free throws, while rejecting three RedHawk shots while patrolling the paint.

The one-for-all-and-all-for-one mentality, the grit, the refusal to give in, all brought a huge smile to Coupeville coach Brad Sherman’s face.

Coming off a very unsatisfying game at South Whidbey Saturday, seeing his guys bounce back so quickly and so convincingly in their league opener, was all he could ask for, he said.

“A monster win!,” Sherman said. “I give all the credit to the guys on the floor.

“This all comes down to if they believe they can win,” he added. “(Assistant coach) Chris (Smith) and I believe they can, but they have to believe it. And they showed us they do.

“The way they closed out the game? Wow. Just wow. Really about all I can say.”

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   Wolf sharpshooter Lindsey Roberts returned Wednesday after missing a chunk of the season, scoring in a 2-1 overtime win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You can’t keep a superstar down.

Chimacum found that out, twice, Wednesday night, as its best-laid plans for a soccer upset were denied in the final moments by two of Coupeville’s best.

Backs pushed to the wall, the Wolf booters rallied for a 2-1 road win in overtime on goals from Lindsey Roberts and Kalia Littlejohn.

The stunning turn of events lifts CHS to 6-3 in Olympic League play, 8-8 overall.

As the Wolves bid farewell to the regular season and turn their attention to the playoffs — they host Vashon Island 1 PM Saturday at Oak Harbor Stadium — they have tied last year’s team for the most wins in a season by a CHS girls soccer squad.

To get there, though, Coupeville had to battle.

Despite a hail of shots which just missed finding the back of the net, the Wolves found themselves in a scoreless tie late in regulation.

Then, to the horror of everyone associated with the road team, the Cowboys slipped in a goal with 10 minutes and counting.

That was the turning point, however, “sparking us into a higher gear” in the words of Coupeville coach Kyle Nelson.

Enter the first superstar, as Roberts, reborn and returned to the pitch after missing a chunk of the season while battling a leg injury, cranked home the tying goal with five minutes to play.

After being relegated to taping games and being a cheerleader for several games, the Wolf junior seized her opportunity, collecting her fifth goal of the year.

Not to be outdone, Littlejohn, Coupeville’s leading scorer, broke a recent dry spell, ramming home the game winner on a “golden goal” in sudden death overtime.

It was Kalia’s 16th score of the season and the 34th of her stellar career, pulling her within one of big sis Mia Littlejohn’s CHS girls soccer career record of 35, tallied from 2014-2016.

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   Chelsea Prescott, seen here in an earlier game, matched her jersey number Thursday, pouring in 23 points in an OT win. (John Fisken photo)

   Wolves (l to r) Prescott, Bella Velasco, Izzy Wells and Abby Mulholland wait for their game to start. (Susan Hulst photo)

Something for everyone.

Want a rout in favor of the good guys? We got it.

More in the mood for a thriller that comes down to the final play but also ends in favor of the good guys? We got that, too.

They got to the finish in different ways, but both Coupeville Middle School girls basketball squads sent their fans home happy Thursday, claiming emotional wins over visiting Forks.

The 7th grade Wolves cruised to a 32-13 win to improve to 5-4 on the season, while the 8th graders (now 2-7) pulled off a come-from-behind 37-35 triumph in a wild affair.

Thursday’s games couldn’t have gone more differently.

7th grade:

Kylie Van Velkinburgh hit a soft one-handed jumper a few seconds into the game, and the rout was on.

With several Wolves anxious to get things finished as quickly as possible (they had an Ariana Grande concert in Seattle to get to), CMS pushed the pace.

Back-to-back buckets from Anya Leavell, set up by strong passes from Audrianna Shaw and Van Velkinburgh, kick-started things, before Ja’Kenya Hoskins threw down three consecutive baskets to stake the Wolves to a 16-5 lead at the half.

Leavell dropped in three more buckets during a 12-0 third quarter run which effectively ended any Forks comeback hopes.

When she wasn’t filling up the bucket, her teammates were equally on fire, with Adair De Jesus tipping a loose ball right into Van Velkinburgh’s hands for a layup and Kiara Contreras rampaging end to end.

Coupeville’s Energizer Rabbit closed the third by ripping a ball free, then zipping to the other end, where she stopped ‘n popped for a sweet basket.

Not content to stop there, Contreras nailed a fourth-quarter jumper after another steal.

Leavell paced the Wolves with 10, while Hoskins (8), Van Velkinburgh (6), Contreras (4), Shaw (2) and Samantha Streitler (2) all scored.

De Jesus, Alana Mihill, McKenna Somes, Lily Leedy and Katelin McCormick all provided hustle and gritty defense, as CMS drove the Forks ball-handlers batty.

8th grade:

Walk away after the first quarter and you might be surprised with the news the Wolves won.

Trailing 13-4, with little to show except a gorgeous pull-up jumper from Genna Wright, things were looking dire.

And then the game changed thanks to a ramped-up defense and an ability to hit free throws.

Facing a fairly rough ‘n rowdy Forks squad, the Wolves went to the line more than normal, and netted 10 free throws, with most of them coming at crucial moments.

Coupeville used a 10-0 run to open the second to retake the lead, only to watch a ref miss a crucial call mere seconds before the halftime buzzer.

Forks, looking dangerously close to being shut-out in the second quarter, hit a miracle three-ball on a play where the shooter somehow escaped being called for a blatant travel.

How blatant? Even the ref’s seeing-eye dog was like, “Hey, man…”

Trailing 16-14 at the break, instead of being up 14-13, Coupeville never blinked, thanks to Mollie Bailey.

Despite not wearing the “superstar” socks older sisters McKayla and McKenzie had bought for her (and being verbally abused from the stands for said decision), the unflappable Wolf point guard went to work.

In between shooting occasional glares at her family, the youngest Bailey won a battle for a loose ball in front of the hoop, then banked it home to knot things at 16.

Very next play, she out-muscled two Spartans for a rebound, then popped the ball into Chelsea Prescott’s hands.

Cue another bucket, as Coupeville’s primary scoring threat knocked down a bank shot, part of a game-high 23-point barrage.

With Prescott singing the net from all angles, and Izzy Wells chipping in with a put-back off of a rebound, CMS twice stretched the lead out to six.

Enter a wicked one-two punch, as Forks used a dagger of a three-ball to cut the lead, before Wolf coach Ryan King was T’d up for protesting Prescott being pummeled and knocked to the floor by rabid Spartans on back-to-back plays.

While her coach was forced to sit for the remainder of the game, Prescott had no such restriction, and she made Forks feel her full fury.

With CMS down 31-28, she circled the defense, spun and dropped an ice-cold trey with 34.8 seconds to play, then stared down the Spartans as she retreated.

The Wolves forced a crucial traveling call with 15 ticks left to send the game to overtime, a three-minute period they played with brutal efficiency.

Trailing 35-32 after the larger Spartans went inside for two quick buckets, CMS closed the game on a 5-0 tear.

Prescott slid two free throws through the twines to get the Wolves close, then things got frantic.

Heidi Clinkscales made off with a steal and took it coast to coast for a layup that would have put Coupeville up by a point, only to have the lead ref wave off the bucket.

This time, he claimed, he did see a travel.

Not thrown off in the slightest, Clinkscales promptly pilfered the ball on the very next play, leading another wild chase down the floor.

This time, no travel, though she did get knocked to the floor by three Spartans at the end of her journey.

Facing a one-and-one, Clinkscales drilled the first attempt to tie things at 35, sending a jolt of energy through the Wolves, who all promptly ran back on defense, forgetting they had a second free throw opportunity awaiting them.

While that charity shot rolled around and popped off the rim, CMS held firm on defense, with a loose ball leading to the game-winner.

Out on the break, Bailey led Wells perfectly, dropping the ball into her hands, then pumping her fist as the 7th grader, who plays up a grade, hit a running layup.

Forks had a three-pointer at the buzzer to win, but couldn’t stick the mood-killer, leading the giddy Wolves to charge off the floor, win in hand.

Coupeville got points from five of its eight players, with Prescott’s 23 backed by Wells (6), Wright (5), Bailey (2) and Clinkscales (1).

Abby Mulholland, Bella Velasco and Kaitlin Painter all saw floor time for the victorious Wolves.

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