Posts Tagged ‘scoring records’

Alex Murdy, about to deliver the dagger. (Bailey Thule photo)

This is a heady time for hoops stat heads.

Nationally, LeBron James is on his way to taking down a record which has stood almost 40 years, as he’s 400 points and some odd change from topping Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA career scoring mark.

That’s huge.

Michael Jordan never got there. Neither did Kobe, or either of the Malone’s, Karl or Moses.

Abdul-Jabbar set the record April 5, 1984, in a game against the Utah Jazz played in Las Vegas — nine months before LeBron was born — bumping Wilt Chamberlain from the top spot.

With the passage of time, Wilt the Stilt is now #7 all-time, yet we still remember his dominance, and that’s aided by the fact that his name resurfaces each time someone new makes a run at the title.

Stats are ever-changing, but, when we track one player scaling the mountaintop, while taking time to remember those who breathed that same rarified air, we connect the past to the present to the future.

Or at least that’s always been my belief while writing about small town high school and middle school basketball.

No one in Coupeville has thrown down 38,000+ points, maybe.

But when we look at the mosaic painted by those who’ve scored in a Wolf varsity game, each player is worthy of their moment, however brief or extended, in the spotlight.

The CHS boys’ hoops program is in its 106th season, the Wolf girls in their 49th year, and I’ve been able to document 651 players (412 boys, 239 girls) who’ve scored.

The list ranges from Brianne King (1,549 points) to 12 players, including current sophomore Jada Heaton, who slipped a single free throw through the net.

Jada Heaton becomes one with the universe. (Bailey Thule photo)

Which is all a long way to getting around to the point of this story, which is when the occasional person tells me I focus too much on scoring stats, I hear you — I’m just not listening to you.

I appreciate rebounds, smart passes, well-set picks, and the most-exciting moment in basketball.

And yes, that’s when a player hustles back, plants their body, accepts the incoming pain, and draws an offensive charge, selling it to the ref by falling to the floor like they’ve been smacked by an in-his-prime Mike Tyson.

It’s a thing of frickin’ beauty, and something Coupeville players, girls and boys, have become very smart at achieving this season.

But points ultimately decide who wins and who loses.

Points are the one stat which we have a fighting chance to tally in a town where too many scorebooks and stat sheets ended up in the garbage can or tossed into a barn for a curious cow to munch.

Listen, I’d love to know how many rebounds Tom Sahli snagged in the ’50s, but barring time travel being perfected, I currently have a better chance of marrying Margot Robbie than I do of ever knowing that number.

I’m not holding my breath, is what I’m saying.

Especially when I’m still missing a season’s worth of Sahli’s scoring stats, thanks to the 1951-1952 season forever staying just out of my reach.

But we do what we can do, and the 2022-2023 season has been chockful of meaningful milestones to record and ramble on, and on and on, about.

Seniors Maddie Georges and Alex Murdy both cracked the 300-point club, while sophomore Lyla Stuurmans and junior Cole White recently gained entry to the 100-point club.

Friday brings Darrington to town, and with the arrival of the Loggers, there’s a chance seniors Alita Blouin (98) and Gwen Gustafson (91) hit triple digits.

And then there’s the biggie, with Logan Downes sitting just four points away from becoming the 50th Wolf boy to hit the magical 5-0-0 for their career.

Having topped 20 points in nine of 11 games, with a high of 40 against Orcas, the junior marksman has already rung up 272 of his 496 points this season.

Which means the youngest of the three Downes brothers could retire to Rio tonight and still have the best season for any CHS player, boy or girl, in the last five years.

Logan Downes has places to be. Get out of his way. (Chloe Marzocca photo)

Hunter Smith tallied 382 points in the 2017-2018 campaign, coming within shouting range of the 10th-best season by a Wolf boy — current Coupeville coach Brad Sherman’s 396 in 2002-2003.

The last CHS player to hit 400 in a season was current Norwegian pro hoops star Makana Stone, who scorched the nets for 427 in 2015-2016.

That’s sixth-best in school history, and third-best by a Wolf girl.

Across 153 seasons (so not counting 2022-2023, which is still in progress), nine Coupeville hoops stars have combined to record 10 seasons of 400+ points.

Brianne King (446 and 442) is the only two-timer, with Jeff Rhubottom (459), Pete Petrov (442), Makana Stone (427), Arik Garthwaite (423), Bill Jarrell (415), Mike Bagby (414), and Tom Sahli (409) also on the list.

But wait, David, you said 10, and that’s nine.

That’s because Jeff Stone (no relation to Makana, though both are connected by talent) rang up 644 points across 24 games during the 1969-1970 season.

You read that right, any first timers to this blog.

Leading the way for a Wolf team which went 20-4 and won the first district championship by ANY Whidbey Island basketball team, Jeff Stone scored almost 200(!) points more than any other CHS player has amassed in a single season.

He also set the school’s single-game record of 48 points against Darrington, at the biggest moment, in the game which won that title.

Even with no three-balls, and while getting pulled from the contest with a full 90 seconds to play.

48 and 644 have seemed almost untouchable for quite a long time.

Just like 38,387, which is how many points Kareem Abdul-Jabbar popped through NBA nets.

But now, as LeBron makes his own run at history, we have a new contender at the local level, as well.

Logan Downes still has a long way to go, but through 11 games, he is only 23 points off Jeff Stone’s pace.


26.8 a night against 24.7.

He’s a contender.

Listen, the small things matter in God’s chosen sport.

Rebounds, backdoor cuts, or Katie Marti reviving the spirit of ’90s “bad girl” Jodi Christensen, exploding into the scrum, blowing up bodies and gloriously freakin’ out the visiting fans.

The team titles on the wall are the gold standard.

It’s what we talked about when Jeff Stone and his 69-70 teammates returned to the CHS gym for the 101st anniversary of Wolf boys’ basketball, reuniting with the coach, Bob Barker, who led them to glory.

But, at its core, basketball is about points, and it’s about the eternal dance as the numbers ebb and flow.

It’s why I update my career totals for CHS hoops after each game — before I write the story — and not at the end of the season, so I can watch things unfold in real time.

Mia Farris ponders the possibilities. (Bailey Thule photo)

One night, Mia Farris, just beginning to climb the chart, scores three points and passes 11 more players on the list, each name evoking a memory.

Another time out, Alex Murdy supplants his uncle, Allen Black (310-305), with Black in the stands for the game.

“I scored 39 against Concrete my senior year and you ain’t touched that yet, skippy,” is what the old school ace’s small smirk seems to say, even as his pride in his nephew also shines through.

And the dance continues, one point at a time.

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Led by its seniors, the CHS boys basketball team is 5-0 and averaging 72.4 points a night. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

52 years later, still the gold standard.

It’s a great, but not legendary, start.

With high school hoops set to resume Tuesday, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball team will get a chance to continue its torrid start.

The Wolves, who are set to host La Conner, are 5-0 and have topped 70 points each time out.

With four players averaging double figures — and a fifth missing by just a single bucket — Coupeville is balanced, dangerous, and able to attack a defense from all sides.

Hawthorne Wolfe has rattled the rims for a team-high 67 points so far (13.4 a night), with a pack of teammates hot on his heels.

Fellow senior Caleb Meyer (61), junior Alex Murdy (52), and sophomore Logan Downes (50) are all producing 10+ points a game, with senior Xavier Murdy  just off that pace with 48.

But, these Wolves still have some work to do if they want to be legendary.

That’s because, 52 years down the road, a CHS team from back in the day of short-shorts and no three-point line, is still the standard-bearer.

While the 2021-2022 Wolf squad has opened with 70, 71, 75, 73, and 73-point performances — the program’s best start in more than a decade — the 1969-1970 Coupeville hardwood heroes were even more torrid.

That Wolf squad dropped 102 points on opening night — one of four times they topped triple digits in a 24-game season — then delivered a school-record 114 in game #5.

Through five games, the current team is singing the nets for 72.4 points a night, while the old-school warriors burnt the whole gym down at 85.6 through five contests.

The 69-70 team slowed down (a bit) after that, finishing with a school-record 1,836 points during a 20-4 season.

That translates out to 76.5 a game, and no CHS team has topped the mark since, even with the embrace of the three-ball.

That vintage squad, which featured Jeff Stone dropping a program-record 644 points, was the first Whidbey Island hoops team to win a district title, and the first CHS team to advance to the state tourney.

We still have a long way to go in this campaign — with the specter of the pandemic still threatening to upend things — but there is an unmistakable feeling that the current Wolves could accomplish something special.

Through five games, Brad Sherman’s team has shown a willingness to share the ball, getting it onto the fingertips of whomever has the hot hand that night.

That bodes well for the future.

Will it make for a historical season? Only time will tell.

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Jeff Stone, torching the nets old-school style.

It’s stood the test of time.

Set in an era long before the three-point shot went from novelty to staple of the game, Coupeville High School’s single-game basketball scoring record has remained untouched for almost 52 years.

Jeff Stone, who also owns the school’s single-season scoring mark (644), and is tied with Mike Bagby for the CHS boys career record (1,137), pumped in 48 points in the biggest game of his life.

The explosion came in the 1970 district championship game against Darrington, a game played in front of a reported 2,200 fans.

By the time Stone exited the game, with a full 90 seconds left to play, he had hit 17 of 28 field goal attempts, while netting 14 of 16 free throws.

More importantly, his performance lifted the Wolves to the district hoops title, the first of its kind won by any of Whidbey Island’s three schools.

That sent Coupeville to state — the first trip in any sport for a CHS sports program — and kicked off the most-successful decade in Wolf boys basketball history.

Stone went on to a brilliant college hoops career, then came back around to teach, coach, and be an administrator at Oak Harbor High School.

The game has changed over the past five decades, and yet not a single Wolf player has toppled the 48-point record yet.

Bagby had a run at the mark, as did Allen Black, who once torched Concrete for 39.

Current gunner Hawthorne Wolfe, who kicks off his senior season tonight at home against Oak Harbor, has had several 30+ point games, but is still chasing the king as well.

Actually, both of Coupeville’s single-game records have remained in place for quite some time, with Judy Marti’s 32 in 1983 having never been topped by another Wolf girl.

But, while 38 years (and counting) is truly impressive, 51 years (and counting) is astounding.

Some day the record may fall.

Until then, the hunt goes on, one basket at a time.

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The Zinger lives!

One mission accomplished.

Thanks to a Google search where he inadvertently discovered my obsession with his high school hoops exploits, Jack Elzinga has helped me fill in one of the missing pieces of Coupeville High School boys basketball history.

As I’ve tried to compile a complete scoring record for a program which began in 1917, it’s been an uphill battle, especially with anything before the “modern” era.

I’ve felt pretty good about what we have, which goes 398 players deep, though the gaps will always bother me.

While we may never track down stats for the guys from the ’30s and ’40s, I can deal with that.

Scoring was at a much-lower rate back then, and no one from that time period would likely crack the career top 100, much less top 10.

But three guys from the ’50s — Elzinga, Tom Sahli, and Jerry Zylstra — kept me awake at night.

Well that, and the fact “Big” Mike Criscuola may never get his proper due, as his missing 8th grade stats and questionable playoff totals from other seasons have him #5 all-time, when he’s closer to #1.

But back to Elzinga, Sahli, and Zylstra, and the “missing” seasons of 1951-1952 and 1953-1954.

Or … formerly missing seasons, at least in the case of 53-54.

Thanks to Elzinga, who is a Professor Emeritus for the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida, we now have scoring stats for that campaign.

The fast facts:

Sahli, a senior, scored 409 points that season, which is the seventh-best single-season performance by a Wolf boy.

Combined with the 310 he scored as a junior, he now sits with 719 points on my list, jumping from #90 to #19 on the career scoring chart.

Though, if someone can come up with totals from Sahli’s sophomore year (51-52), he’ll shoot even higher.

Always something to keep me awake.

Elzinga and Zylstra, sophomores on that 53-54 squad, went for 124 and 122 points, raising their (now final) career totals to 770 and 527, respectively.

That moves Elzinga from #25 to #14 and Zylstra from #59 to #42 all-time.

All while giving current Coupeville sniper Hawthorne Wolfe a little more work to do, as the 1950’s-era players getting their rightful due bumps him back (for a moment) from #47 to #49.

With 492 points and counting and nine games left in this pandemic-shortened season, the CHS junior, who has often expressed interest in players who came before him, will likely take that as a challenge.

As we update the ever-evolving 104-year history of Wolf boys basketball, I also offer up the following from Elzinga.

Like my communications with legendary former CHS coach Bob Barker, it reads more like a well-written book than an email.



I did a vanity Google this afternoon and came upon your blog.

I can fill in some of your gaps. I have the 1954 Leloo Cly.

That was my sophomore year and Tom Sahli’s senior year. He averaged 19.5 pts/game. Later I saw him play against Elgin Baylor.

We were a pretty good team – the yearbook said we had the best record in “several years.”

Sahli was our star – we mostly passed the ball around until we could get it to him.

Leloo Cly doesn’t record rebounds but Tom seemed to snatch every one. 

I started every game, averaging 5.6 pts/game.

After Tom graduated I became the center and had two productive seasons. 

I was All-District in the end-of-year tournaments both years. As I recall, I averaged about 15 pts/game both seasons.

Gil Winje put together some scrapbooks of press clippings of the Tri-County basketball league.

These clippings were new to me – no one in Coupeville read the Everett paper.

Gil did this for his brother who played for Granite Falls. He did this for other years too.

Getting the scrapbook of my senior year of basketball was a fabulous treat.

We had a successful season that year but fell short of going to state.

La Conner was a big rivalry but we beat them home-and-away that year, but lost to them in the consolation game of the district tourney.

They went on to state where Gail Thulen set the place on fire, shattering records, scoring 41 points in one game to set the state tourney record.

We’d seen a lot of Gail and I guess we’d learned how to corral him.

I think Gail got a scholarship to Washington State.

Me? I got a scholarship to Everett Junior College, where I played one year before moving on to U-Dub to focus on my studies.

They don’t put this in the record books but I’m sure I’m the only All-District player who survived polio five years previously.

Harold Buckner was an excellent baseball player as you have noted in your blog. We’re still good friends.

This has been a ball for me. So happy to share things with someone with your quirky interests.

If I can find any more info I’ll send it along.

Best regards,


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With 38 goals in two seasons, CHS soccer star Derek Leyva was eight scores from claiming the school’s career record. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Leyva is moving out of state, bringing an end to one of the more electrifying runs by a CHS athlete.

The thrill is gone.

Or, at least he will be in just a few days.

Coupeville High School is losing its top active soccer scorer, as Derek Leyva is moving out of state Saturday, bringing an end to one of the more electrifying runs by a Wolf athlete.

He’ll depart having scored 38 goals in two seasons for the CHS pitch squad.

Derek Leyva tossed in a Wolf boys single-season record 24 goals as a sophomore in 2018, then netted 14 more this spring.

His 38 goals stands second all-time on the school’s career list, trailing just cousin Abraham Leyva, who knocked in 45 scores in the three seasons he played in Coupeville.

Mia (35 goals) and Kalia Littlejohn (33) are #1 and #2 on the girls chart, and #3 and #4 in school history.

Abraham’s younger brother, Aram, who’s #3 on the boys career list (and #5 overall) with 29 goals, now has an open path at the career mark heading into his senior season.

With quick bursts of speed, the ability to pump fake defenders into the stands, an often-surprising amount of toughness, and an artful scoring touch, Derek Leyva was like no other booter we’ve seen in a Wolf uniform.

He also surprised a lot of people with how strong a football player he was during his junior season last fall.

We knew he had a powerful leg, and the first couple of times he took the field, it was as a kicker, which was to be expected.

But, as the season progressed, Derek Leyva made an impact on every part of the game, proving to be a sure-handed receiver and a sturdy part of the Wolf secondary.

While we largely focus on his athletic ability — this is a sports blog, after all — he’s also a solid citizen, a good guy all around.

I’ve always been fairly open about the fact soccer is not high on my list of favorite sports.

I’m an idiot and I probably don’t have the ability to appreciate the intricacies of the world’s favorite sport.

But watching Derek play was genuinely exciting.

He played at a level few Coupeville athletes do, in any sport.

If I had to pay to attend games (which, thankfully, I don’t), he would have been certainly worth the price of admission.

So, thank you for the last two years, Mr. Leyva, and I wish you the best of luck in the future.

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