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Coupeville’s Makana Stone scored 11 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter Saturday. (Photo property Loughborough University)

Two wins from a title.

With their American assassin coming up big in the fourth quarter Saturday, Loughborough University held off plucky Reading 72-63 in the quarterfinals of England’s Women’s National Basketball League playoffs.

Coupeville grad Makana Stone erupted for 11 of her 19 points in the final frame, spurring the Riders from a seven-point deficit.

With the win, Loughborough, which entered the eight-team, single-elimination WNBL playoffs as the #3 seed, gets to 13-5 on the season.

The victory avenges a regular season loss to Reading in April, and sends the Riders on to a semifinal clash with #2 seed CoLA Southwark next Saturday, May 22.

Regular-season champ Ipswich faces off with #5 Nottingham Trent in the other final-four matchup.

In the buildup to the playoffs, Reading and Loughborough split a pair of regular season games, and through three quarters Saturday the Rockets looked primed to pull off a postseason upset.

A game which had been knotted 12-12 after one, then 32-30 in favor of the Riders at the half, took a disastrous turn in the third frame.

Reading jumped on Loughborough, ripping off a 15-6 run to carry a 45-38 advantage into the fourth.

But Stone and her British teammates never flinched, calmly fighting back while closing the game on a torrid 24-8 tear.

Coupeville’s progeny kicked things off by making off with a steal, then slapping home a breakaway bucket to open the period, and the fuse was lit.

Loughborough got all the way back to 45-45, then claimed the lead for good at 48-47 when Katie Januszewska rippled the net on a three-ball with a tick over seven minutes to play.

Reading hung around for a bit more, staying within 52-51 at the five-minute mark, but Stone promptly sliced and diced the Rockets defense for another layup to blunt the rally.

The former Wolf, who also snatched nine rebounds and pilfered three steals, held her team together even as they shot just 28% from the floor, hitting just 21 of 74 attempts.

Stone hit 50% of her field goal tries (6-12), and was a dead-eye 7-9 at the free-throw line, on a day when none of her teammates topped 33% from the floor.

Januszewska did match Stone’s 19-point effort, with Molly James tossing in 10.

On the season, Stone, who is nominated for the WNBL’s Player of the Year, Team of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year honors, has 259 points in 16 games.

She also has 224 rebounds, 33 assists, 57 steals, and eight blocked shots.

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Coupeville senior Sam Wynn scored two goals Friday in his final high school game. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Call it a private school special.

Get to the playoffs, face off with a team you’ve already beaten, and, ta-da, that other squad suddenly has a dominant new player inserted in the lineup.

Maybe us hicks from the sticks living out here in Cow Town are just overly suspicious, but sometimes you wonder…

Anyways, having removed the tin foil hat from my head (for a moment at least), I can report that Cedar Park Christian-Lynnwood, with its new Cristiano Ronaldo-style ringer, capped its boys soccer season Friday with a 5-3 win over visiting Coupeville.

Sam Wynn, the pride of public schools everywhere, banged home a pair of goals for the scrappy Wolves, but when the other team has a guy pegging all his shots from 25+ yards out and recording a hat trick, well…

Still, CHS coach Robert Wood came away from the finale fairly pleased.

“A great game. Tons of fun,” the pitch guru said. “Their guy, who missed our first game, put the ball anywhere he wanted.

“A coast-to-coast dribbler, pretty amazing, but not impossible to defend,” Wood added. “(Our) kids never gave in to them … played strong the ENTIRE game. They just had our number.”

Wynn rattled home his first scores of this pandemic-shortened season, punching home the sixth and seventh goals of his prep career while making his final appearance in a Wolf uniform.

The first came on a penalty kick, while the second sprang from a torrid run upfield.

“Speedy Sam beat the defense several times, and finally went one-on-one with the keeper and buried it,” Wood said.

Coupeville’s other goal came from a star of the future, as freshman Nick Guay “drilled a ball to the upper right corner” for his first high school score.

While the Wolves finished 1-5 on the season, they were young, hungry, and highly-competitive.

Bouncing back after the program was originally shut down due to a lack of sufficient players, they finished the season with 14 players, 12 of whom can return next season.

Wynn and fellow senior defender Owen Barenburg depart, but the players who scored during this campaign included a junior, a sophomore, two freshmen, and an eighth grader.

Xavier Murdy is one of five Wolves who scored this season who can return next year.

 

Final scoring stats:

Aidan Wilson 3
Xavier Murdy 2
Sam Wynn 2
Nick Guay 1
Cole White 1
Cael Wilson 1

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Ryan Blouin gets dramatic. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Nathan Ginnings plays keep-away. (Morgan White photo)

One more time.

The Coupeville High School boys soccer team will get another game during this pandemic-shortened season, with a “playoff” contest Friday afternoon.

The Wolves, who are 1-4 on the season, travel to Lynnwood to face Cedar Park Christian, which is 3-3-1.

The game is a rematch of Coupeville’s season opener, which it won 3-0 at home April 16.

While there are no conventional playoffs this school year, Northwest 2B/1B League Athletic Directors set up a one-day royal rumble, featuring six of the seven schools to play soccer this time around.

Along with CHS vs. CPC, league champ Orcas Island plays Providence Classical Christian, while La Conner and Mount Vernon Christian square off.

Grace Academy, which finished in last place, sits out the mini-tourney, while Friday Harbor sat out the entire fall sports season because of Covid concerns.

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“You can’t contain us! You can’t beat us!!” (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

One win away from punching a guaranteed ticket to the big dance.

The Whitman College women’s basketball team jumped out quickly Thursday on the University of Puget Sound, then held off a late rally to claim a 72-66 home win in the semifinals of the Northwest Conference postseason tourney.

With the win, their 12th straight, the Blues improve to 24-2 and advance to the championship game of the NWC tourney.

They’ll face arch-rival George Fox University (20-6) Saturday, after the Bruins upended Pacific University 56-47.

The winner claims an automatic berth to the 64-team NCAA D-III national championships, which run March 6-22, while the loser waits to see if they can nab an at-large bid.

Win or lose Saturday, it seems all but certain Whitman, currently ranked #7 in the nation, will be part of March Madness.

It would be the third trip to the big dance in four years for the Blues seniors – Lily Gustafson, Mady Burdett, Katie Stahl, Natalie Whitsel, and Coupeville grad Makana Stone.

Whitman advanced all the way to the Elite Eight during their freshman campaign in 2016-2017, and the group is a stellar 92-19 overall since arriving in Walla Walla.

Thursday’s game was one in which Whitman almost pulled away several times, only to have a pesky Puget Sound squad mount mini-comeback after mini-comeback.

Blues gunner Kaelan Shamseldin opened the game with a three-ball, before Stone slapped home back-to-back layups to stake Whitman to a 7-3 lead.

After the game’s one and only tie at 3-3, the Blues led the entire night.

Up 15-5 after one quarter, Whitman stretched the lead out to 33-20 midway through the second quarter, with Stone once again stepping up.

The Northwest Conference Player of the Year hit a jumper and a free throw, then made off with a steal to set up a potentially game-busting jumper from Kaylie McCracken.

But it wasn’t to be, as UPS closed within eight at the half (38-30), fell behind by 13 in the third, then roared all the way back within four points with under two minutes to play.

Clinging to a 68-64 lead, Whitman put the ball in Burdett’s hands, and the sweet-shootin’ assassin from Edmonds closed the game by rippling the nets on four consecutive free throws to cap a team-high 16-point performance.

The Blues only got scoring from six players, but four of those finished in double-digits.

McCracken pumped in 15, Gustafson banked home 13, Shamseldin made the nets jump for 12, and Taylor Chambers popped for nine.

Hampered by foul trouble all night, Stone had a relatively quiet night, finishing with seven points, four rebounds, an assist, and a steal in just 26 minutes of action.

Also having a very muted game was Puget Sound’s First-Team All-Conference player Jamie Lange, a double-double machine who was held to just eight points and three rebounds in her collegiate swan song.

On the season, Stone sits with 405 points, 220 rebounds, 37 assists, 26 steals, and 25 blocked shots, while shooting 166-313 (53%) from the floor and 70-88 (79.5%) from the free throw line.

The 405 points is the 10th best individual scoring season by a Whitman women’s player.

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Scout Smith soars in to collect another bucket. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Anya Leavell has her eyes on the prize.

Hannah Davidson looks for an opening in the defense.

Chelsea Prescott floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee.

Izzy Wells cleans the glass.

Photos are the cherry on top of the playoff cake.

The games might be played, but things aren’t complete until you have pics to prove it all went down.

So here you go, thanks to the camera of wanderin’ paparazzi John Fisken.

To see everything he shot Tuesday night, and possibly purchase some glossy memories, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Basketball-2019-2020/GBB-2020-02-11-vs-Meridian-playoff/

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