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Hawthorne Wolfe dropped 21 points Saturday as Coupeville ran Port Townsend off the floor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was exactly what Brad Sherman was looking for from his team.

Ending a long, tough week with an explosion of joy, the Coupeville High School boys varsity basketball squad put together one of its best games of the season Saturday night.

Playing for the fourth time in six days, the Wolves picked up 57 points from their Three Musketeers, played inspired second-half defense, and cruised past visiting Port Townsend 79-66.

The non-conference win snaps a five-game losing skid for Coupeville and lifts it to 5-10 on the season heading into the stretch run.

The Wolves, who are fighting for one of the final two playoff spots from the North Sound Conference, have three regular season games left on the schedule.

After back-to-back home games against South Whidbey (Jan. 28) and Granite Falls (Jan. 31), CHS travels to Sultan Feb. 4.

If the Wolves can replicate how they played Saturday, they’ll punch that postseason ticket.

Facing off with a RedHawks team which has given it major trouble in recent years, Coupeville came out firing on all cylinders.

The Wolves got balanced scoring, with sophomores Xavier Murdy and Hawthorne Wolfe dropping in 22 and 21 points respectively, while senior gunner Mason Grove added 14.

But it was the team’s play on the other end of the floor which brought the biggest smile to Sherman’s face.

“Defensively, it was a really great night for us,” the CHS coach said. “The kids responded in a big way after a tough week, and played with a lot of scrappiness and energy.”

Coming off a week in which they had to face hot-shooting Cedar Park Christian twice, wrapped around a rumble with state title contender King’s, Saturday’s match-up was Coupeville’s best shot at garnering a win.

Achieving one of Sherman’s top goals — playing four solid quarters, with no letdowns — the Wolves went toe-to-toe with Port Townsend from the opening tip.

RedHawk senior Noa Montoya played out of his mind in the game’s first eight minutes, banging home 16 of his game-high 27 points, while hitting one eye-popping shot after another.

But, as good as he was in the early going, Coupeville slowed Port Townsend’s main man after the first break, mainly by making him work like a devil to get his shot off.

The Wolves responded to Montoya’s hail of shots by spreading out the offensive love, with five different players rattling home a bucket in the opening frame.

Wolfe, Grove, and Gavin Knoblich all nailed three-balls, with Wolfe’s trey being set up by a sizzlin’ cross-court pass from Grove which threaded its way between multiple defenders on its journey.

Coupeville pulled within a single point twice in the second quarter, but couldn’t seem to get over the hump, eventually falling behind 40-33.

Enter Ulrik Wells, and key the comeback music.

The CHS big man pulled off a three-point play the hard way, banking in a short runner, then adding a free throw, and the fire was lit.

Back-to-back shiver-inducing plays from a rampaging Murdy — a three-ball on the move, then a steal and breakaway bucket — really kicked things into gear, and Coupeville closed the half on a 13-0 run.

Even with top rebounder Sean Toomey-Stout sidelined with first-half foul trouble, the Wolves crashed the boards hard, with Koa Davison capping things with a put-back off of an offensive board he ripped free from a rival’s hands.

The joy ride continued into the third quarter, with Murdy popping another trey, then slipping a pair of free throws through the twines.

With 18 straight points on the board and their biggest lead at 51-40, the Wolves looked golden.

Then, they stumbled for a second or two.

Montoya slipped away from his defender for a blink of an eye, arcing a three-ball to pay dirt, and Port Townsend was suddenly off on its own 13-0 tear, reclaiming the lead and the momentum.

To which the Wolves said, not today, my man, not today.

Grove made the net whisper sweet nothings with an elegant trey from the top, Davison netted a free throw, then Wolfe let the lightning erupt from his fingertips.

Scoring Coupeville’s final 10 points of the quarter, which set off his boisterous fan section comprised of autograph-seeking middle school hoops stars, Wolfe staked CHS to a lead it would never lose.

Putting the exclamation point on things in the fourth, Coupeville pulled off another 9-0 run, with all the buckets fueled by ferocious defensive stops.

Jered Brown, harassing the Port Townsend ballhandler every step of the way, bumped him, poked the ball loose, then yanked the orb back off the floor and shot down court for a game-icing layup.

Not to be outdone, Toomey-Stout corralled a madly-skipping loose ball, twirled, and drained a three-ball a moment later, driving the final stake through Port Townsend’s collective heart.

On the sideline, Sherman nodded, a hoops guru happy to see his plans play out as drawn up.

“Just a really, really strong team win, which should give us the momentum we need for those final league games,” he said.

All nine Wolves who hit the floor scored Saturday, with Murdy’s 22 a career-best for him at the varsity level.

Along with Wolfe (21) and Grove (14), CHS got points out of Davison (6), Knoblich (5), Toomey-Stout (3), Brown (3), Wells (3), and Jacobi Pilgrim (2).

The 79 points are a season-high for the Wolves, topping the 77 they notched against Orcas Island, and, with their performances, Wolfe and Grove continue to assault the CHS boys hoops career scoring chart.

With 366 points and counting, Wolfe jumped from a tie for #71 to sole possession of #67 on a list which encompasses 103 seasons, while Grove, with 341 points, rises from #81 to #74.

Among the former greats the duo passed Saturday were Glenn Losey, Ethan Spark, Aaron Trumbull, and Robin Larson.

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Hannah Davidson banked in five points Saturday, helping Coupeville’s varsity collect its 10th win of the season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Best start in program history.

With one caveat, that is.

Bouncing back from an early deficit Saturday, the Coupeville High School girls varsity basketball team pulled out a close win on the road in Port Townsend.

The 34-28 non-conference triumph lifts the Wolves to 10-4 on the season, with three regular season games left to play.

Coupeville travels to King’s Tuesday, then hosts Granite Falls and South Whidbey, before plunging into the playoffs.

While the 10-4 record is sweet, the Wolves, with a little help from everyone stretching their imaginations, can lay claim to the best start by a CHS girls hoops team.

Coupeville was 6-1, matching the 2009-2010 Wolves, when they were originally scheduled to play Port Townsend back in December.

High winds and skittish ferry captains bumped that game off the schedule, however, and Coupeville fell to Nooksack Valley in their next contest.

But if we take Saturday’s rescheduled game and count the win as if it happened back when the bout was first set to happen, boom, 7-1, baby.

At least that’s how CHS coach Scott Fox would like to look at it.

“Technically speaking, we’ll put an asterisk next to this game and beat the record!! Just saying!!,” he chuckled.

No matter how we count the win, getting back on the ferry with a W was all that mattered.

On a night when Wolf senior Hannah Davidson was whacked hard enough in the face to draw blood, Coupeville had to scramble to find a way to get out of town in one piece.

“They were up on us all game, much better than we expected,” Fox said. “We went down early, then fought back to take the lead with some timely shooting.”

Freshman Maddie Georges, who has been dropping daggers of late, knocked down a pair of three-balls in the opening quarter, keeping Coupeville within 12-10 at the first break.

After that, her veteran counterpart at point guard, senior Scout Smith, stepped up with six points in the next frame, and the Wolves turned things (slightly) to their advantage.

Up 17-15 at the half, CHS was clinging to a 26-25 lead headed into the fourth, then hit big shots in the final moments to ice the win.

Georges finished with a team-high nine points, after hitting another trey in the third quarter, while Smith banked in eight and Chelsea Prescott scooped in seven.

Davidson (5), Izzy Wells (4), and Avalon Renninger (1) rounded out the scoring, with Audrianna Shaw, Anya Leavell, Tia Wurzrainer, Carolyn Lhamon, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, and Mollie Bailey seeing floor time.

Two Wolves reached personal milestones Saturday, with Smith bouncing from #42 to #39 on the CHS girls hoops career scoring list.

With 265 points, she passed Sarah Mouw (259), Carly Guillory (260), and Madeline Strasburg (261) Saturday, while Prescott, a junior, moved from #51 to a tie with Hilary Kortuem for #48.

The duo are knotted at 231, at least for the moment, and Prescott slipped past a pair of former teammates, edging out Mikayla Elfrank (227) and Ema Smith (228).

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Logan Martin was one of five Wolves to score in double figures Saturday, as the Coupeville JV scored a season-high 82 points in a win over Port Townsend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

All about that balance, baby.

The Coupeville High School boys JV basketball team is loaded with gunners, and Chris Smith’s squad can kill you in a billion different ways.

That was shown one more time Saturday night, as five different Wolves hit double-digits in scoring as their team set a season scoring high while paddling visiting Port Townsend 82-63.

With the non-conference victory, the young guns improve to 9-5 on the season, guaranteeing they will finish with a winning record.

The Wolf JV has three games left on the schedule, with home games against South Whidbey (Jan. 28) and Granite Falls (Jan. 31), then a road trip to Sultan (Feb. 4).

Coupeville’s second squad beat all three of those schools the first time they played this season.

Saturday’s matchup with Port Townsend was a makeup of a game postponed by bad weather, and the Wolves were primed.

Barely a minute into the game, Daniel Olson crashed to the hoop, sucked in a dart of an inbounds pass and whipped home a layup, putting CHS up 4-2.

You could have called the game at that exact moment, as the visiting RedHawks would never gain the lead.

Of course, if they did, we would have missed out on another 31 minutes of highlight reel-worthy plays from the high-flying Wolves.

The passes zipped on this night, the defense was harsh and unyielding, often leading to breakaway buckets, and every guy in a Wolf uniform had a bead on the basket.

Five different Coupeville players scored in the first quarter, with Grady Rickner leading the way with a quick seven points courtesy a three-ball from the top of the arc, and a couple of long runs which led to note-perfect layups.

Both of those latter plays were set up by pinpoint ball movement, with Olson and Logan Martin firing long outlet passes which soared over scrambling defenders, then dropped on to Rickner’s waiting fingers.

When he wasn’t kicking the ball up court, Martin was banging it home as well, dropping a three-ball of his own right after arcing in a sweet little jumper in the paint.

The prettiest play of the quarter came at the very end, however.

With the clock racing to 0:00 and Smith exhorting his players to pick up the pace and get their rears up the floor, Cody Roberts came ambling by, dribbling into position.

Juking his defender off his feet, the lanky Wolf snapped to a stop and let a rainbow fly free, dropping an NBA-worthy three-ball through the bottom of the net as his coach did a double fist pump and the buzzer sounded.

If Roberts shot was a dagger, there were plenty more where that came from, as the Wolves blew open the game in the second quarter.

Sage Downes, who would finish as the second-highest scorer in the game, didn’t notch his first bucket until he converted a layup off of a steal to stretch the lead to 30-18.

With that play reigniting his scoring mojo, the middle of Angie Downes three sons then started dropping buckets like mad, slashing to the hoop time and again on his way to nine points in the quarter.

Coupeville went to the halftime locker room up 42-23, but not before Olson set up a Rickner layup with a laser-guided pass which tore the fabric of time as it also sliced ‘n diced two hapless defenders who watched it fly by their heads.

The biggest roar from the crowd came on a play by Miles Davidson, however, as he came rumbling down the right side of the floor, went airborne, and scooped up an underhanded shot, all while being whacked upside the head and body.

The ball kissed the glass and plopped through, then Davidson banked in a free throw to cap the game’s most hard-earned three-point play.

Port Townsend kept coming in the second half, but other than a brief fourth-quarter run fueled by three consecutive three-balls, could offer little resistance.

Everything was working for Coupeville, from T.J. Rickner playing like a savage down in the paint, to urban legend Chris Ruck exploding off the bench to score the game’s final bucket.

By the time all the scorebook totals had been added up, the Wolf offensive attack was remarkably well-balanced.

Grady Rickner, finishing with 18 points, narrowly edged out Downes, who slapped home 17, while Olson (12), Martin (11), and Roberts (10) all had hot hands of their own.

T.J. Rickner (7), Davidson (5), and Ruck (2) also scored for Coupeville, while Alex Jimenez was a beast on the defensive end of the floor.

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Natalie Castano was one of 10 girls to score Saturday as Coupeville’s JV romped to a lopsided win at Port Townsend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a beautiful beatdown.

Getting points from 10 different players Saturday, the Coupeville High School girls JV basketball team annihilated host Port Townsend.

Toasting the RedHawks 51-11, the Wolves used the non-conference win to improve to a spiffy 9-3 on the season.

Megan Smith’s squad came out on fire and ran away with the game early, jumping out to an 18-6 lead after one quarter of play.

Coupeville’s deadliest gunner in the early going was sophomore swing player Audrianna Shaw, who peppered the nets for 10 points in the first frame alone.

After that, the Wolves steadily added to their lead, pushing the advantage to 31-9 at the half, then 43-9 after holding Port Townsend scoreless in the third quarter.

With plenty of scoring opportunities, Coupeville spread out its offensive load, with freshman Alita Blouin and Shaw tying for team-high honors with 12 points apiece.

Ella Colwell, Savana Allen, and Jessenia Camarena provided plenty of support for the dynamic duo, with each Wolf ringing up six points.

Ryanne Knoblich (2), Natalie Castano (2), Anya Leavell (2), Kylie Van Velkinburgh (2), and Gwen Gustafson (1) also scored, while Heidi Meyers, Mollie Bailey, and Morgan Stevens saw floor time.

Coupeville returns to action next week with two of its final three North Sound Conference tilts.

The Wolves travel to Shoreline Tuesday to face King’s, then host Granite Falls Friday night.

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Maya Toomey-Stout is disturbed to see Thursday’s Coupeville High School basketball games have been cancelled due to high winds playing havoc with ferries. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was going to happen sometime.

Winter weather conditions and Island life finally conspired Thursday to mess up the high school basketball schedule.

Coupeville and Port Townsend were set to face off in four games, with the boys action on Whidbey and the girls games on the mainland, but Mother Nature had other ideas.

“Due to small craft advisory through 1:00 AM and increasing winds through the evening we are canceling tonight’s games rather than risk both teams getting stuck,” said CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith.

“We have always erred on the side of caution when it comes to the PT ferry, which is what we are doing tonight,” he added. “We will look to reschedule at a later date; thank you for your understanding.”

The unpredictability of the Coupeville/Port Townsend ferries to handle various weather-related issues was one of the reasons the Wolves listed when they departed the Olympic League two years ago.

Thursday’s games were non-conference rumbles which would have featured the CHS girls trying to improve to 7-1 and the Wolf boys attempting to pull up to .500 at 4-4.

Both programs will return to action Saturday, when Nooksack Valley comes to Coupeville for a weekend doubleheader. That event starts at 1 PM.

Unless Deception Pass Bridge gets ripped down by giant octopuses between now and then.

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