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Freshman Maddie Georges scored 13 points Friday night as Coupeville’s varsity nipped Sultan in a wild one. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Bend, but don’t break.

Showing some serious intestinal fortitude Friday, the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball team made big plays at crucial moments.

Shots which had to go in, went in. Defensive stops which had to be made, were made.

And with that, the Wolves head into the weekend happy, having held on to capture a 31-28 gut-wrencher of a win against visiting Sultan.

The victory lifts Coupeville to 2-1 in North Sound Conference play, 7-3 overall.

This was the kind of game which can give a coach some extra grey hairs. Though, if you win, you can sort of live with that.

The Wolves rode the rollercoaster Friday, jumping out to a big lead, giving it all back, then stepping up to deny Sultan in the fourth quarter for the second time this season.

In the early going, things looked fairly eazy-breezy.

Sultan did drain a long shot from the top of the key, beating the buzzer by half a second, to open the game, then went on to hold a 4-2 lead.

But the Wolves responded in style, using a 14-0 run which started with a first quarter Maddie Georges layup and ended with a second quarter Tia Wurzrainer layup to blow things wide open.

Coupeville was frustrating the Turks with nasty defense, getting out and running, and almost always finishing strongly.

Maybe not at the free throw line, where it missed its first six attempts, but everywhere else.

Whether it was Chelsea Prescott slashing through the middle to convert a layup off of a dart of a pass from Hannah Davidson, or Georges hitting from long range, everything was going in for the Wolves.

One of three freshmen on the Wolf varsity, Georges hit a pair of three-balls during the run, and was so quick about it, she actually beat her coach.

In between the treys, Fox sent a sub to check in and replace his fab frosh.

But while the other Wolf crouched by the table, waiting for a stoppage in play so she could check in, Georges went flying by, snagged a pass and nailed a leaning three-pointer, making sure to maximize her floor time.

Up 16-4 after the surge, Coupeville took a small step back after that, but got another long jumper from Georges as soon as she reentered the game, and went to the break up 20-12.

But if things were dandy in the first half, they got a bit desperate later.

While everything had been dropping for the Wolves during the first two quarters, the rim got downright rude in the third quarter, rejecting shot after shot by Coupeville.

Given new life, Sultan crawled back to within 20-19 and was mere ticks of the clock away from pulling off the bagel job in the frame.

But wait, remember those fab frosh I mentioned? Cause they’re here to save the day.

Carolyn Lhamon, with a Sultan player hanging off of each of her arms, out-wrestled the world for the biggest offensive rebound of the game, then flicked the ball out to the shooter with the magic touch.

Some call her Mad Dog. Some call her The Wall.

It doesn’t matter, because Georges blocks out all noise on the floor, even the hollering of her boisterous fan section.

Stone-cold killers are just that way.

Lhamon’s pass on her fingertips, Georges slid forward and calmly reigned holy terror on the Turks, flipping the net skyward with her third three-ball of the night and calming her coach’s angina.

For a moment, at least.

It probably came right back, as Sultan scored the first three buckets of the fourth quarter to erase the 23-19 lead Georges had given Coupeville.

Trailing for the first time in what seemed like forever, the Wolves were down 25-23, the basket had once again closed up shop on their side of the floor, and things might have seemed dire.

But … plot twist.

A team which was having little luck at the free throw line recaptured its mojo and reclaimed the game thanks to turning a weakness into a strength.

Prescott drained a freebie, before senior leaders Avalon Renninger and Scout Smith each went 2-for-2 during back-to-back trips to the charity stripe.

Surprise. Surprise.

Things still got pushed to the final moments, however, as the teams traded buckets, with Coupeville’s coming off of a short banker from Davidson, before a Sultan free throw made life tense at 30-28.

Worse still, the Turks had the ball in their hands with 19 seconds to play, thanks to a questionable call on a play where Renninger was drilled in the face, only to have the ref whistle traveling and not a foul.

Sultan’s momentary joy was short-lived, however, as Smith picked off the inbounds pass, sliding around her rival to yank the lob out of mid-air.

That set up one more free throw from Renninger, and then a final defensive gem to seal the deal.

With the Turks down by three and scrambling to get the ball up court, Georges emulated Smith, her point guard mentor, by making off with the ball and setting off a celebration on her bench.

At which point the Coupeville coaching staff started to breathe again.

Georges led the scoring attack with 13, Prescott (7), Wurzrainer (4), Renninger (3), Smith (2), and Davidson (2) also scored, while Lhamon, Izzy Wells, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, and Audrianna Shaw chipped in with hustle and grit.

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After battling back from injury, Koa Davison returned to the lineup Friday, making key plays on both ends of the floor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Middle school players show some love for Hawthorne Wolfe, who rattled home a team-high 14 points. (Morgan White photo)

One team owned crunch time Friday, but it was the wrong team.

Unable to hold on to a 10-point third quarter lead, unable to hit a field goal in the game’s final six minutes, and unable to get a defensive stop when it mattered most, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball squad absorbed a body blow.

Falling 57-52 to visiting Sultan, which closed the game on a 10-0 run, the Wolves lost out on a chance to stay unbeaten in North Sound Conference play.

Instead, CHS slides to 1-1 in league action, 4-6 overall, and sits in a tie with Cedar Park Christian (2-2, 6-6), which it hosts next Tuesday.

King’s (3-0, 7-7) tops the standings, followed by South Whidbey (2-1, 10-3), while Granite Falls (1-3, 3-8) and Sultan (1-3, 2-9) bring up the rear.

With a win, Coupeville would have held sole possession of second place, just a half game off of front-runner King’s.

And, for much of the night, the Wolves looked like they were headed for victory.

Despite some atrocious free throw shooting — CHS finished just 8-23 at the line, while Sultan was 11-15 — the hometown hoopsters led for much of the game.

Once they grabbed the advantage at 21-18 early in the second quarter, thanks to a Mason Grove three-ball from the top of the arc, the Wolves held fast to it, eventually stretching things out to 44-34 late in the third.

But the fourth quarter was Coupeville’s Kryptonite, as Sultan disrupted the flow of the game.

The Wolves only field goal in the final frame came off of an offensive rebound put back up and in by Ulrik Wells, but they needed more.

The put-back, coming with 5:55 to play in the game, staked CHS to a 50-43 lead, but the Turks steadily chipped away.

A free throw and a three-ball, with the trey coming off a third-chance offensive rebound, tightened the margin to 50-47 and nothing would stay in the bucket for the Wolves.

Two free throws from sophomore Xavier Murdy pushed the lead back out to five points, but the Turks countered with a pair of charity shots of their own, plus yet one more very-long three-ball to tie the game up.

Coupeville had a chance to retake the lead, only to clank a pair of free throws at the 1:19 mark, followed almost immediately by the game-busting play.

It came courtesy of a wild drive up the middle, with the Turk ballhandler throwing down a layup under duress, then tacking on a free throw after he was pummeled by a pack of Wolves.

With most of the air sucked out of the CHS gym, Coupeville capped its ice-cold fourth quarter shooting performance by bouncing two more shots off the iron, and what seemed like a likely win ended in something far less desirous.

As he stared numbly at the scorebook after the game, Wolf coach Brad Sherman didn’t affix blame, but offered praise for his team’s opponents.

“Our guys played hard, especially on the boards,” he said. “But … Sultan hit shots when they needed to.”

On a night when Coupeville honored the memory of the late Bennett Boyles, a CHS Class of 2022 hoops player who lost his battle with cancer at age 12, Sherman stressed to his team that the loss, while it hurts, should be viewed as a building block.

“We have a chance to come out tomorrow (Saturday) and help teach young players at our kids clinic, and then get ready for two more games next week,” Sherman said. “We continue to have something to play, and work, for, and we should be grateful for that.”

The Turks rode the three-ball to an early lead, dropping a trio of treys to claim a 14-12 lead after one quarter of play.

Hawthorne Wolfe and Sean Toomey-Stout led the CHS attack in the first frame, combining for nine points, but the Wolves didn’t claim the lead until the second quarter.

Koa Davison, back on the floor for the first time since before winter break, had a spring back in his step and went airborne to spike a Sultan shot off the back wall to key the surge.

With the Wolf faithful roused by the blocked shot, CHS got back-to-back buckets in the paint from the hard-working Wells, then let Toomey-Stout go wild.

“The Torpedo” dropped eight points in the quarter, with all four buckets coming on steals, breakaways, and much majestic soaring through the air, as he dodged rivals and twisted them into pretzels.

Up 32-27 at the half, Coupeville played its best ball in the third quarter.

This time around, it was Jacobi Pilgrim who crushed the air out of the ball on a blocked shot, while Davison hit a sweet mini skyhook and Gavin Knoblich tickled the twines on a three-ball from the corner.

The hottest hand belonged to Wolfe, who arched a trey from the left side to open the quarter, then slashed hard to the hoop for two-point buckets three times.

His final shot, on which he charged up the middle, popped into the air, then flicked the ball off of his fingertips over the outstretched hands of a Turk, was a thing of beauty.

It let Coupeville boast a 48-39 lead headed to the final break, and seemed, in the moment, to be the dagger.

Unfortunately, the fourth awaited.

Wolfe finished with a team-high 14 points on the night, while Toomey-Stout sank 12, and Wells banked in six.

Pilgrim (5), Grove (5), Knoblich (5), Davison (3), and Murdy (2) also scored, with Jered Brown pushing the attack hard when running the point.

Two CHS players reached personal career scoring milestones in the loss, with Toomey-Stout joining the 200-point club and Knoblich earning entry to the 100-point club.

With 205 points and counting, Toomey-Stout joins Wolfe (316) and Grove (268) among active Coupeville boys players in the first group, while Knoblich sits with 104.

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With a win Friday, Morgan Stevens and the Coupeville JV girls are 6-2 on the season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They let them hang around for a bit.

But just a bit.

Putting the game away with a strong surge across the second and third quarters Friday, the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball team buried visiting Sultan 33-15.

With the win, the Wolves earn a season sweep of the Turks, while surging to a flawless 3-0 in North Sound Conference action, 6-2 overall.

Now, like their varsity counterparts, the JV girls won’t play in front of their home fans for almost three weeks.

Both girls programs have five straight games on the road ahead of them, not returning to the Coupeville gym until January 31, when Granite Falls comes to The Rock.

Friday night the Wolves came out a bit slowly, settling for a 5-5 tie at the first break.

After that, it was Turk crunchin’ time, as Coupeville used 9-2 and 15-3 runs across the next two periods to break things open.

CHS coach Megan Smith spread the offensive love around, with Alita Blouin and Ryanne Knoblich carrying most of the load in the second quarter, before Gwen Gustafson and Jessenia Camarena began to heat up in the third frame.

Blouin finished the game atop a very-balanced scoring attack, rattling the rims for eight points, while Camarena, Knoblich and Gustafson knocked down six apiece.

Savana Allen (4), Morgan Stevens (2), and Ella Colwell (1) also scored, while Claire Mayne, Abby Mulholland, and Heidi Meyers all played strongly on defense for the Wolves.

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Miles Davidson was one of 13 Wolves to score as Coupeville’s JV annihilated Sultan Friday. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Everyone eats.

That was the mantra Friday for the Coupeville High School JV boys basketball team, as 13 different players scored during a blowout win over visiting Sultan.

By the time the Wolves were done shredding the Turks 70-14, CHS coach Chris Smith had a full scorebook and his third win in the last four games.

With the victory, Coupeville’s young guns improve to 2-0 in North Sound Conference play, 6-3 overall.

The Wolves will carry their hot streak back into action next week, when they host Cedar Park Christian, then travel to South Whidbey.

Friday night Coupeville came out firing and never let up, raining down shots from every angle as it built a 21-2 lead after one quarter of play, then a 46-5 edge at the half.

With a running clock in the second half, CHS didn’t have time to put up as many points, but still closed strongly with 9-3 and 15-6 runs across the final two frames.

Grady Rickner paced the Wolf attack, netting a pair of three-balls en route to a game-high 12 points.

Freshman Alex Murdy was next man up with nine, while Daniel Olson, Sage Downes, and Logan Martin banked in eight points apiece.

Rounding out the scoring were Xavier Murdy (6), Miles Davidson (5), Andrew Aparicio (4), Alex Jimenez (2), Chris Ruck (2), TJ Rickner (2), Cody Roberts (2), and Chris Cernick (2).

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Jered Brown returns to action January 3. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

There were basketball games this week, just none involving Coupeville.

The Wolves are on Day 8 of a 12-day break between contests, not returning to action until Friday, January 3, when they travel to Chimacum.

But other North Sound Conference teams did lace up the shoes and head to the hardwood, so we’re back to provide a look at where everyone’s win/loss record sits.

Have to fill the time somehow, so here’s where things sit:

 

North Sound Conference girls basketball:

School League Overall
Coupeville 1-0 6-2
CPC-Bothell 1-0 6-3
Granite Falls 0-0 2-6
King’s 0-0 6-2
South Whidbey 0-1 2-6
Sultan 0-1 3-5

 

North Sound Conference boys basketball:

School League Overall
Granite Falls 1-0 3-5
King’s 1-0 4-6
Coupeville 0-0 3-5
South Whidbey 0-0 7-1
CPC-Bothell 0-1 3-4
Sultan 0-1 1-6

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