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Posts Tagged ‘regular season finale’

Current Wolves get support on the road from the next generation of Coupeville hoops stars. (Michele Murdy photo)

Roll on, Wolves, roll on.

Capping what’s believed to be the first undefeated regular season in the 105-year history of the program, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball team dismantled host La Conner Thursday, romping to a 79-45 win.

The victory lifts the Wolves to 11-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 15-0 overall.

Next up for CHS is the District 1/2 tournament, which it will host.

As the #1 seed from the NWL, the Wolves advance directly to the title game next Thursday, Feb. 17, when they will play for the program’s first district title since 1970.

A win in that game also assures the Coupeville boys of their first trip to state since 1988.

Thursday night, facing a La Conner team which had been run off the court by Friday Harbor the day before, the Wolves rained down death from above.

Netting a season-high 12 three-balls, Coupeville put four players into double digits, with 11 of 12 players to see the floor scoring.

And Dominic Coffman, the one player not to score, still had a huge impact, sacrificing his body on dives to the floor while coming up with one of the prettiest assists of the season.

The key to getting to 15-0 — especially for a program which didn’t post a winning season between 2010 and 2021 — has been this group’s willingness to play as a team, feeding the hot hand and lifting each other up.

Alex Murdy and Co. are on the prowl. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Thursday’s game was a prime example, as seniors Caleb Meyer and Hawthorne Wolfe combined for 17 points in the first quarter, then added just one more point after that.

Not because either hardwood veteran went cold, but instead other players jumped to the forefront and the duo slid into facilitator roles, whipping pinpoint passes, forcing turnovers, doing whatever was needed in the moment.

So you had Xavier Murdy and Logan Downes each go off for nine points in the second quarter, then big moments for Grady Rickner, Alex Murdy, and Logan Martin.

Share the ball, share the glory. Just get that W.

It might almost make Coupeville coach Brad Sherman a bit misty, as he sees his best-laid plans play out in high style.

Though, steely eyes scanning the court while much of his face lurks behind a pandemic era mask, the prairie legend hides any emotion well.

His players, however, showed off a mix of bravado and joy, with just a little chest-thumping when appropriate.

Wolfe, after draining a second three-ball to cap the first quarter, dropped a few good-natured sweet nothings to the La Conner cheerleaders as he ran back down court.

Meyer, when he wasn’t busy pulling his teammates together and giving them fatherly advice, pumped his fist each time he flipped the net skyward.

And that was pretty much every time he touched the ball in the opening quarter, as he drained a trio of three-balls and a sweet lil’ jumper while on the move.

There were actually two ties in the game, the last at 10-10, and La Conner wasn’t too far off at the first break, trailing 21-16.

But then the Wolf defense got nasty, and the tsunami hit.

The lead was at 28-20 when Coupeville dropped the hammer, going off on a 15-0 tear.

Downes, already a dangerous sharpshooter and just a sophomore, rifled home back-to-back treys as he poured in nine points during the run.

The second three-ball, which sent the CHS bench into a tizzy with a 23-point lead, was set up by a kickout from Rickner, who a play earlier, benefited from another nice set-up.

That one came flying off the hand of Wolfe, who looked one way, then fired a bullet right through three defenders, the ball smacking into Rickner’s hands with a happy little sigh.

Up 43-22 coming out of the halftime break, Coupeville kept its intensity up while emptying the bench.

Basically, everyone played, and everyone contributed.

Coffman pulled off two big-time hustle plays, the first on defense, the second while he was sprawled on the floor.

On the first, he could have straggled back downcourt with a 30+ point lead and La Conner on a breakaway.

Instead, Coffman flew like a bat out of Hell, got in front of the incoming ballhandler and planted himself, absorbing a huge collision and drawing the offensive charge on his rival.

It was a play which didn’t have to happen, but meant a ton to his fellow Wolves, who pulled him back to his feet while beating the crud out of him for a second time — this time in celebration.

Later Coffman came back around, diving on the floor, before shooting the ball to a waiting Logan Martin, who calmly splashed home yet another three-ball.

There was also Nick Guay, likely another varsity star of the future, taking advantage of some floor time to pull off a three-point play the hard way.

Cole White set him up with a strong dish, then Guay powered his way to paydirt while being slammed around the head, converting the bucket under great duress.

Don’t forget about Meyer, who made his own highlight reel-worthy pass in the fourth quarter, zipping a ball through multiple defenders to set up a Jonathan Valenzuela layup.

Coupeville, which topped 70 points for the 10th time in 15 games, spread its offense out admirably.

Xavier Murdy finished with a team-high 19 points, with Downes (12), Meyer (11), and Rickner (10) hot on his heels.

Alex Murdy (9), Wolfe (7), Martin (3), Guay (3), White (2), Valenzuela (2), and Zane Oldenstadt (1) also scored for a CHS squad which has won by double digits 12 times this season.

And some side notes for stats freaks, as Wolfe and Downes hit personal milestones.

With 775 points and counting, Wolfe moves past all-timers Barry Brown (769) and Jack Elzinga (770), and now sits at #14 on the CHS boys career scoring chart, which dates back to 1917.

Meanwhile, Downes, with 205 points as he nears the halfway point of his prep career, joins the 200-point club.

He’s the fifth active Coupeville player to reach that mark, joining Wolfe (775), Xavier Murdy (436), CHS girls star Maddie Georges (234), and Rickner (212).

Up next: a run at a district title and state tourney glory. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

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With a win Tuesday, Xavier Murdy and Coupeville finished 8-4, the first winning season for a Wolf boys hoops squad since 2010. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Concern? Yes.

Panic? Not at all.

Bouncing back from an early deficit, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball squad rained down pain on visiting Darrington Tuesday night, pulling away in the middle two quarters for a season-closing win.

Using a 47-9 run to bust open the game across the second and third frames, the Wolves turned a six-point deficit into an eventual 64-29 romp.

The victory lifts Coupeville’s final record to 8-4 in this pandemic-altered season, leaving them just a half-game off of Northwest 2B/1B League champ Mount Vernon Christian.

CHS beat MVC (8-3) both times they played this season, with the Hurricanes benefiting from playing one less game than the Wolves.

That’s thanks to MVC not hosting Orcas Island, after the Vikings requested no fans be allowed to attend their road games during the pandemic.

Coupeville joined Concrete as the only schools from the seven-team NWL to play a full 12-game league schedule this spring.

Three of Coupeville’s four losses were decided by one play (a pair of one-point defeats to Friday Harbor and a two-point loss to La Conner) and the Wolves backed down against no one.

Sparked by seniors Daniel Olson, Sage Downes, and TJ Rickner, who were honored Tuesday, this year’s squad became the first Wolf boys varsity hoops team to post a winning record since 2010.

TJ Rickner was one of three Wolf seniors honored Tuesday. (Morgan White photos)

With 10 players eligible to return next season, including two-time scoring champ Hawthorne Wolfe, CHS coach Brad Sherman has much talent to work with going forward.

Thanks to the pandemic pushing basketball from the winter to the spring, the turnaround between seasons will be much shorter than normal.

That left the Wolves trying to balance the joy of what they accomplished this season with almost immediately planning for plunging into the work to take the next step — winning the program’s first league title since 2002, a time when Sherman was a player, and not a coach.

“Certainly great to send our seniors off with a big team win like that,” he said. “This team has a lot to feel good about this year – the resilience they showed through the off-season was remarkable.

“The way they came together during this shortened season, and the growth they showed as a group while they battled it out in this new league was really fun to be a part of,” Sherman added.

“Proud of each of these boys for the hard work and grit they showed week in and week out – and I hope they can look back and be proud of it too.”

Daniel Olson made key contributions, especially on defense, to lead his squad to a winning record this spring.

With its three seniors playing their final game four days after graduation, Coupeville came out a bit slowly against Darrington.

The night’s first bucket didn’t fall until the 5:42 mark of the first quarter, as Sage Downes slapped home a rebound, and then things got even drier.

The Loggers hit a pair of three-balls and jumped on Coupeville, building an 8-2 lead and sending the slightest of tremors through the gathered Wolf faithful.

But any trepidation didn’t last very long, as CHS started to heat up from behind the arc.

Back-to-back three-balls from Xavier Murdy and Wolfe got the crowd happy, before Hawk knifed the Loggers with another trey, this one off an inbounds pass and let loose from way behind the line.

Darrington’s final lead came at 13-11, before Alex Murdy flipped the switch.

A layup, off a pass from his brother, tied the game, then the sophomore sparkplug used a nifty Euro step move to stake CHS to a 15-13 lead at the first break.

Alex wasn’t done, slashing through the paint for a bucket to open the second quarter, and that unleashed a tsunami.

A 23-7 run in the second frame pushed the halftime lead to 38-20, before a 24-2 surge in the third put Coupeville up 62-22 heading into the final quarter.

The Wolves hit from every angle, with the majority of their scoring plays coming off of sharply-thrown passes, each player taking the time to set up their teammate on a night when everyone got a chance to contribute.

Wolfe, who knocked down two more three-balls along the way, was a wizard with the ball, whipping passes to Sage Downes and Grady Rickner for easy buckets.

Both Murdy brothers delivered note-perfect assists as well, while Wolfe, Olson, and Sage Downes teamed up for a bingo-bango-bongo series of passes which covered one end of the floor to the other.

Sage Downes played strongly at both ends of the floor in his finale.

Playing for the final time in a CHS uniform, Sage Downes paced the Wolves with a team-high 14 points, while Wolfe settled for a fairly-quiet 12.

That was still enough to lift the junior gunner three spots on the program’s career scoring chart, as he passes Jason McFadyen (654), Wade Ellsworth (659), and Pat Bennett (659) to move into 24th place across 104 seasons.

Wolfe sits with 662 points heading into his senior season, leaving him just 26 points shy of breaking into the top 20.

Alex Murdy added 10 points Tuesday, with freshman Logan Downes (9), Grady Rickner (7), Xavier Murdy (7), TJ Rickner (3), and Olson (2) also scoring.

With 221 career points, Xavier Murdy is now #125 on the all-time chart, needing 85 points next season to pass uncle Allen Black to become his family’s top scorer.

Logan Martin, Cole White, Jonathan Valenzuela, Miles Davidson, and Cody Roberts rounded out the roster, with everyone seeing floor time in the finale.

 

Final season scoring stats:

Hawthorne Wolfe – 252
Xavier Murdy – 122
Grady Rickner – 94
Sage Downes – 64
Logan Downes – 52
Daniel Olson – 51
Alex Murdy – 49
Logan Martin – 31
TJ Rickner – 18
Jonathan Valenzuela – 15
Cody Roberts – 8
Miles Davidson – 4
Cole White – 2

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Makana Stone went for 20 points and 14 rebounds Saturday, icing a win with four free throws in the final seconds. (Photo property Loughborough University)

Ice water in those veins.

Coupeville’s Makana Stone drained three free throws in the final 12 seconds Saturday in England, lifting the Loughborough University women’s basketball team to a thrilling 75-73 win over Nottingham Trent.

Trailing by a point, the Riders forced a turnover down low as the clock ticked down, with their American assassin fouled in the ensuing scrum.

Stone calmly drained both ends of the one-and-one to put Loughborough up 74-73, then came back around to hit another freebie after a technical foul on Nottingham’s coaching staff with just 2.8 seconds to play.

Nottingham gunner Mady Burdett, who played alongside Stone for four spectacular seasons at Whitman College, had a three-ball from the corner to win the game at the buzzer, but the ball refused to stay in the basket.

With the win, Loughborough finishes the regular season at 12-5 overall, 12-3 with Stone in the lineup, and clinches a top-three finish in the 10-team National Basketball League.

The Riders will be the league’s #2 seed headed into the playoffs, unless CoLA Southwark sweeps a pair of games this weekend.

The top eight squads, led by league champs Ipswich, begin the single-elimination playoffs next Saturday, May 15.

The battle against Nottingham Trent was a furious one, with neither squad able to pull away.

Loughborough, riding an eight-point opening quarter from Stone, led 20-15 at the first break, but was clinging to just a 34-33 advantage when halftime rolled around.

The Riders stretched their lead out, but just slightly, at 53-51 headed into the fourth quarter, and things got dicey from there.

With Stone strapped to the bench due to foul trouble, Nottingham claimed the lead at 61-60 with five-and-a-half minutes to play, and there were six lead changes over the next five minutes.

Coupeville’s progeny bounded back into the game, slapping home a layup to stake Loughborough to a 68-67 lead at the 2:30 mark.

But her former Whitman running mate was on fire, as Burdett drained a pair of three-balls to push Nottingham up 73-68.

Loughborough’s defense proved to be its biggest weapon down the stretch, with the Riders holding Nottingham scoreless over the game’s final 77 seconds.

Robyn Ainge singed the nets for a long trey to get the Riders back within a bucket, before Stone scored the game’s final four points at the charity stripe.

The former Wolf finished with a team-high 20 points (Burdett rattled the rim for 21) and snagged a game-best 14 rebounds to go with three assists and a steal.

Katie Januszewska dropped in 16 points for the Riders, while Ainge finished with 13.

On the season Stone sits with 240 points, 215 rebounds, 32 assists, 54 steals, and eight blocked shots.

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Lucy Sandahl ripped five aces Monday, sparking Coupeville to a big win. (Brian Vick photos)

They closed like killers.

The Coupeville High School varsity volleyball team wasn’t flawless Monday night in Sultan, but it was ruthless when it mattered most.

Wrapping up all three frames with a bang, the Wolves swept the Turks in straight sets, a cut above the team’s first meeting, when it took Coupeville four sets to escape with the W.

Winning 25-23, 25-17, 25-18, CHS put a bow on its regular season, finishing 8-2 in North Sound Conference play, 13-2 overall.

The Wolves claimed 2nd place in their six-team league for the second-straight season, with their only losses to King’s, which is ranked #2 in 1A headed into the playoffs.

The postseason begins with the district tournament, which runs Nov. 2 and 5.

As the #2 seed from the North Sound Conference, Coupeville opens against the #3 team from the Northwest Conference, which should be Nooksack Valley or Meridian.

To see the bracket, pop over to:

http://www.nscathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=3120&sport=10

With 13 wins heading into the playoffs, this year’s team has tied the 2017 Wolves for the second-most victories in a single season in program history.

The all-time record of 14 wins was set by the 2004 CHS squad.

Hannah Davidson (left) and Emma Mathusek are 13-2 heading into the playoffs.

Now 48-18 under Cory Whitmore over the past four seasons, the senior-dominated Wolves came out with a roar Monday, jumping out to a quick 9-2 lead in the opening set.

With Zoe Trujillo dancing and firing darts at the service line, setting up big kills for herself, Maya Toomey-Stout, and Maddie Vondrak, Coupeville was rolling.

And then the wheels on the car started to wobble, while thankfully not completely falling off.

Playing with emotion on their Senior Night, the Turks came roaring all the way back to snatch the lead away at 18-17, then twice stretched the margin out to two points.

While that might not sound like a lot, it felt like it in the moment, as Coupeville, despite big plays from numerous players, couldn’t seem to get back in gear.

Facing a 22-20 deficit, and the very real possibility of dropping the opening set, the Wolves finally found the key.

It was in the hand of senior Lucy Sandahl, who bounded off the bench, twirled the volleyball across her palm, then lit the Turks up.

A genuinely nasty service ace, which left a noticeable burn mark on the hand of the Sultan player unlucky enough to try and return it (or so I’d like to think), kicked things off.

Not letting up, Sandahl kept pouring heat out of her cannon of a serving arm, and the Turks melted under the onslaught.

One bad hit pulled Sultan back within 24-23 for a hot second, but then Toomey-Stout came strolling along, shaking her head in a silent “not gonna happen” moment.

Rising up from the ground like a phoenix reborn, “The Gazelle” tore the cover off the ball on set point, her kill ripping cross court and burying itself in the gym wall, never to be pulled back out again.

After that, the momentum had definitely shifted towards the young women in the black uniforms, which greatly pleased the large contingent of Wolf fans who made the trek to the hinterlands of Sultan.

“Take that one!” whispered Craig Trujillo, and, down on the floor, his daughter Zoe responded, elevating and lashing a frozen rope of a winner.

Zoe Trujillo brought her A-game, delivering five kills, two aces, and seven digs.

“Blow the gym up, baby!!” screamed Lisa Toomey (OK, maybe I’m paraphrasing on this one, but I think I’m close…) and, down on the floor, Maya Toomey-Stout dropped a few nuclear bombs disguised as kills.

With Scout Smith bobbing and weaving, firing up graceful sets for her big hitters to wallop, then running and diving, scraping balls off the floor, freeze-framing the Turks, before twisting in mid-air to flick winners off her fingertips, mom Charlotte Young nodded ever so slightly.

“Girl’s OK … I guess.”

And then she smiled the big smile of a mom whose heart soars each time her offspring dazzles and delights.

Which is often.

While the second set went back and forth, with seven ties, Coupeville never trailed, thanks to big plays from freshman Lucy Tenore, stuffing a would-be kill, and senior Hannah Davidson, ruthlessly dominating at the net.

With Sultan still hanging around at 19-17, Toomey-Stout dropped the hammer, reeling off six straight points on serve – the final coming on a dramatic ace which snagged the top of the net, then flopped over, falling to the ground and piercing the heart of everyone in Turk Nation.

After the comeback in set #1, and the often-tense action of set #2, the final set was almost anticlimactic, but in a good way for the Wolves and their fans.

Up early, up big, and never really pushed, Coupeville relied on big serving from Trujillo, Sandahl, and Raven Vick, plus tons more bashin’ of the ball from Toomey-Stout, Davidson, and Vondrak to close out the evening.

Sultan fought hard to stay alive, holding off four-straight match points at the end, but its fate was already written.

Putting an appropriate cap on things, Trujillo whipped a cross-court kill, a slicer ‘n dicer of a shot, to end things and send the Wolf faithful to the exits with smiles on their faces.

Toomey-Stout (16 kills), Smith (27 assists), Sandahl (five aces), and Trujillo (seven digs) topped the stat line, with Smith and Tenore each collecting a block.

“Playoffs, here we come!!”

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Anna Dion and CHS soccer hosts Sultan Thursday, with a playoff berth on the line. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Mallory Kortuem, being smooched on by mom Heather, scored her second goal of the season Wednesday night as Coupeville celebrated Senior Night.

They’re coming back for at least one encore, and maybe two.

Despite falling 6-1 to visiting Granite Falls Wednesday in a rough-and-tumble, yellow card-filled bout on Senior Night, the Coupeville High School girls soccer team hasn’t played its final game on its home turf.

The loss, combined with Sultan being blanked 3-0 by Cedar Park Christian, leaves Coupeville tied with the Turks for the final playoff berth from the North Sound Conference.

The Wolves (1-9 in league play, 1-12-2 overall) host Sultan (1-9, 1-13-2) Thursday at 5 PM in a tie-breaker game.

Free to the public, the rumble will run half the length of a normal game, with two 20-minute halves.

If the teams are tied at the end of regulation, there will be up to two five-minute sudden-death overtime periods, with a penalty-kick shootout at the end if we’re still knotted up.

The loser is done for the season, while the winner advances to host a district play-in playoff game Saturday.

That game would be at 1 PM, would also be free, and would feature Mount Baker as the opponent.

If Coupeville survives playing both Sultan and Baker, it advances to face the #3 team from the North Sound Conference, either CPC (5-5, 8-6) or Granite (5-5, 8-7), in another loser-out game Monday, Oct. 28.

Every playoff game from Monday on would be a road game for the Wolves, with admission charged.

Wednesday marked the end of the regular season for NSC soccer teams, with previously undefeated South Whidbey “Cougin’ it” and losing 2-0 at King’s to blow its shot at winning an uncontested league title.

The Falcons (9-1, 13-1-1) and Knights (9-1, 12-4) tie for the title, with each having won 2-0 on their home turf.

While that game was for the title, Coupeville’s tilt on the pitch was a much-more emotional affair, as the Wolves honored their five seniors.

Avalon Renninger, Mallory Kortuem, Anna Dion, Tia Wurzrainer, and Natalie Hollrigel were showered with praise, applause, and hugs, while Sherry Roberts read their farewell notes to a packed crowd.

Full of good will for all, the Wolves then hit the field, only to run into one of the rougher teams it has played this season.

As the battle raged on, players from both sides went down (though no one seemed to suffer any permanent injuries) and the refs spent a decent amount of time waving yellow cards, even handing one out to ultra-cool CHS coach Kyle Nelson.

Granite Falls broke a scoreless tie a little over 10 minutes into the game, winning a one-on-one battle, as a Tiger came crashing in hot and pegged a ball just out of the reach of Wolf goalie Mollie Bailey.

The Coupeville junior, hitting her stride again after returning from an earlier shoulder injury, did her best to combat frequent shots on goals, deflecting balls from all angles.

One play, on which Bailey slid to her right and punched the ball away as it came zinging towards her head, was especially sweet, and earned a roar from the pro-Wolf crowd.

The visitors had the magic touch, however, and knocked in two more goals late in the first half to take a 3-0 lead into the locker room.

With the margin mushrooming out to 5-0, Coupeville got a trio of second-half highlights from Kortuem, which put a more-positive spin on things.

The speedy Wolf star blasted in her second goal of the season, and sixth of her career, to get Coupeville on the board, then she got defensive.

Kortuem first blew up a rival in the open field, dumping a hapless Tiger on her rear, before pulling off a sensational save.

With a Granite player WAY, WAY ahead of her and making a mad dash at the goal, the school record holder in the 400 hit the jets, came flying in like a runaway missile, slid, and deftly knocked the ball free at the last second.

The crowd’s first reaction was stunned silence, as their brains tried to comprehend what they had just witnessed.

Then the stadium rocked, waves of adulation rolling down for Kortuem, one of the best to ever wear the Wolf uniform.

While Coupeville’s coach prefers to focus on team accomplishments instead of singling out players, he was willing to shower some praise on his pack of seniors after the game.

“They’ve been awesome, stepped up and become true leaders of this team,” Nelson said. “Each has been successful in their own way and brought their own talents, and it’s made for a very cohesive team, and one which has had a lot of fun.”

Fun which isn’t over just yet.

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