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Freshman Audrianna Shaw filled up the stat sheet in her high school debut Wednesday, sparking Coupeville’s JV to a rout of South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“We were ready to go!”

And how.

Even missing offensive ace Anya Leavell, who was felled by illness, the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball team was unstoppable Wednesday night.

Ripping off the game’s first 16 points, the Wolves savaged host South Whidbey, crushing their arch-rivals 36-11 in a magnificent romp.

The win, coming in the North Sound Conference opener for both teams, lifts CHS to 1-0 in league play, 2-3 overall.

The Wolves have won back-to-back games, and continue to add players back to their roster, easing the loss of Leavell and defensive dynamo Kylie Chernikoff (leg injury).

Freshmen Audrianna Shaw and Ella Colwell made their high school debuts Wednesday, and immediately jumped in to help their teammates on both sides of the ball.

Shaw, in particular, got off to to a roaring start, filling up the stat sheet with eight points, three rebounds, two steals and a team-high four assists.

Coupeville was brutally efficient on defense, throttling South Whidbey to the tune of 11-0 in the first quarter, before stretching the lead out to 24-7 by the halftime break.

“Our defense in the first quarter was stifling,” said proud CHS coach Amy King. “Audrianna and Kiara (Contreras) led the attack up top on defense while Mollie (Bailey), Izzy (Wells) and Ja’Kenya (Hoskins) didn’t let anybody from South Whidbey near the basket.”

Coupeville ramped up the intensity, dropping a press into the defensive mix a few minutes into the game, and the flustered Falcons wilted under the pressure.

King was able to give quality floor time to all 10 girls in uniform, and everyone contributed.

“As substitutes came in to the game, they stepped in without much change in the effectiveness of our defense,” King said. “From Kylie (Van Velkinburgh) and Morgan (Stevens) cutting off wing and post shots to Ella and Abby (Mulholland’s) wingspans in not allowing shots around the key and Alana (Mihill) working hard up top to force the ball away from the key.

“It was exciting to see the girls fight regardless of the score,” she added.

The Wolves snatched 33 rebounds and made off with 19 steals, both stats which pop off the sheet for Coupeville’s coaching staff.

“It just shows the effort these girls put into the game and winning it as a team,” King said.

Wells paced Coupeville with nine points, seven rebounds and three steals, while Shaw knocked down eight points, Hoskins and Mulholland each went for six and Van Velkinburgh notched four.

Bailey (2) and Contreras (1) rounded out the offensive show, with Contreras also driving South Whidbey’s ball-handlers bonkers while pilfering eight steals.

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Ema Smith scored 15 Wednesday, including hitting a trio of three-balls, as Coupeville’s varsity savaged arch-rival South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

For a second, it was close. And then it wasn’t.

Busting free from an 8-8 tie after one quarter Wednesday, the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball squad went on an inspired run.

With every part of their game in over-drive, the Wolves closed on a 42-7 run over the final three quarters, blistering host South Whidbey 50-15.

The win, coming in the North Sound Conference opener for both teams, lifts CHS to 1-0 in league play, 2-4 overall.

It also puts them in a three-way tie with King’s and Granite Falls atop the (very early) conference standings.

The 50 points are the most a Wolf varsity girls hoops team has scored since they dropped 56 on Klahowya Feb. 6, 2016.

That game was Makana Stone’s Senior Night, and the future Whitman College star went off for 27 points and 21 rebounds.

Wednesday night, two current seniors led the charge, as Wolf captains Lindsey Roberts and Ema Smith popped for 15 points apiece.

Coming off a game against Orcas Island where they squandered a second-half lead and came up just short of a win, the rout of South Whidbey was a huge bounce-back for the Wolves.

“We had a game plan for tonight, like we do for every game we prepare for,” Coupeville coach David King said. “We had a great practice yesterday and came out and executed our plan.

“As a coach, that’s what you like to see and all I can ask for.”

More than just a mere win, it was chock full of bonuses.

Coupeville has struggled when traveling to Langley in recent seasons, something King wanted to change. Also, getting solid play from the top of the roster to the end of the bench is huge.

“Our senior captains led the charge and the rest of the players all contributed in one way or another,” King said. “This game will foster our confidence moving forward, especially if we play like we did in all facets of the game (offense, defense, rebounding and hustle).”

The game was actually a nail-biter in the early going, as Lexi Starets-Foote pumped in six first quarter-points and South Whidbey went to the first break tied 8-8.

Roberts was getting her way in the paint, working down low for a pair of power buckets in the early going, but the game hardly seemed like it would be a blowout.

And then, just like that, Coupeville flipped a switch, and did so big-time.

Inflicting a withering defense on the Falcons, the Wolves held their foes to just three field goals across the game’s final three quarters, with none coming from Starets-Foote.

The key was Coupeville’s press, which shredded every last nerve South Whidbey players had, forcing multiple turnovers and giving the Wolves ample opportunity to run ‘n gun.

With Roberts slapping home nine points in the quarter, CHS went on a game-busting 18-3 tear in the second frame and didn’t let up from there.

The Wolves pulled off the rare goose egg in the third quarter, romping to a 15-0 advantage, before coasting home with a 9-4 mini-surge in the final frame.

“Our defense and press throughout the game set the tone for us,” King said.

Coupeville finished the game with 22 steals, snatched 34 rebounds, including 20 on the offensive glass, and forced South Whidbey into numerous mistakes.

The Falcons committed two shot-clock violations and a five-second inbound violation thanks to the constant Wolf pressure.

“It was great to see the pursuit for every rebound,” King said. “We took care of the ball and shared it as well. Only 12 turnovers, and we had 11 assists.

“Offensively we moved the ball well and made the extra pass to get a better look,” he added. “The effort we played with set the tone for the whole game.”

King praised Hannah Davidson for stepping up against South Whidbey’s #1 scorer, “doing a fantastic job keeping (Starets-Foote) from hurting us on the offensive end.”

Scout Smith showed off her ninja hands, pilfering a team-high five steals, while Chelsea Prescott’s never-say-die attitude on D was symbolic of how intense the Wolves played.

“One particular play stood out for me,” King said. “South Whidbey had a breakaway fast break, but Chelsea never gave up on the play despite being five to eight feet behind the player dribbling towards a layup.

Chelsea’s hustle allowed her to catch the player out front and prevented a basket,” he added. “That one play was just one of many we had defensively.”

Coupeville spread its offensive bonanza out, with eight of 11 players in uniform scoring.

Ema Smith’s 15 points, which included a trio of three-balls, is her varsity career-high, while Roberts used her 15 to rise two more spots on the CHS girls basketball career scoring chart.

Now sitting at #28 all-time with 351 points, she passed Kailey Kellner (339) and Tracy Taylor (350) Wednesday, while moving within a basket of Amy Mouw (353).

Scout Smith added five, Tia Wurzrainer, Avalon Renninger and Mollie Bailey went for four apiece, Davidson knocked in two and Prescott swished a free throw.

It was Bailey’s first career varsity points, and the sophomore spark-plug is in hot pursuit of the family scoring title.

Having passed dad Rusty (three career varsity points), Mollie is chasing sisters McKayla (6) and McKenzie (17).

Prescott, who also had three steals and a team-high four assists, led Coupeville on the boards, yanking down six caroms.

She got plenty of support, as all 11 Wolves had at least one rebound, from Ja’Kenya Hoskins (5), Roberts (5) and Nicole Laxton (4) down to freshman Izzy Wells (1).

While the win, the time and place it came, and the way it was achieved, are all huge, the Wolves want to stay focused as they move forward.

CHS travels to Concrete (0-6) Friday for a non-conference game, then returns home Dec. 18 to face Sultan (0-1, 2-5) in its second league clash.

“It’s one game and a game we can build on moving forward,” King said. “A good blueprint for us to be successful as the season progresses.”

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Emma Smith had seven kills and four blocks Monday as Coupeville volleyball thrashed South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They were sick. They were tired. They were under siege.

But, in the end, all that mattered was the size of their hearts.

Overcoming illness, weariness and some nicely rowdy visiting fans, the Coupeville High School varsity volleyball squad bounced back from its toughest moment of the season by delivering a classic knock-out punch to its arch-rivals.

The Wolves, backed by their own increasingly enthusiastic band of student supporters Monday, drilled visiting South Whidbey 25-22, 9-25, 25-18, 25-18, sweeping the season series from their next door neighbors.

With the win, CHS jumps to 5-2 in North Sound Conference action, 8-2 overall and solidifies its hold on second-place in the six-team league.

Coupeville trails defending 1A state champ King’s (7-0, 10-1) by two games, with three to play, and is a game up on Cedar Park Christian (4-3, 8-4) and South Whidbey (4-3, 7-5).

Granite Falls (1-6, 3-8) and Sultan (0-7, 3-8), two of the three teams the Wolves play in the final week-and-a-half of the regular season, bring up the rear.

When they took the floor Monday, the Wolves had a lot of excuses for feeling blue.

They were coming off an unexpected five-set loss to Cedar Park Christian in their last match, they were tired after making the long trip East for this weekend’s Wenatchee Invite, and their roster was racked with illness.

To which they said, “shrug it off.”

The spirit was best exemplified by one of the sickest of the bunch, junior Maya Toomey-Stout.

Bent over, frequently coughing into her shirt, both hands taped up, “The Gazelle” looked like a boxer who had already gone 10 rounds.

Which didn’t mean she wasn’t still fully capable of delivering hay-makers that made the court shake, her opponent’s knees quake and her fans lose their ever-lovin’ minds.

Same thing with senior Emma Smith, who came roaring in to open the match with a spike that peeled paint off the floor, and sophomore Chelsea Prescott, who followed almost immediately with a kill which thudded home with so much force it permanently warped the court.

The first time Coupeville and South Whidbey faced off, they played the full five sets, with each frame so close only an error here, a brilliant serve there, provided the slimmest of slim wins for the Wolves.

This time around, other than in a brief burp during the second set, Coupeville controlled the flow of action in every aspect of the game.

The opening set was tied 10 different times, the last at 22-22, but the Wolves only trailed once, and then by only a single point at 13-12.

Coupeville immediately responded, with Emma Smith taking a set-up from Scout Smith (one of her 24 assists) and crushing a spike that started on the left, zinged to the right like a bolt of lightning, then fried any Falcon within a two-mile radius.

From there, Toomey-Stout got down with her bad self, hammering home a winner, popping off a run of sizzlers at the service line, then sealing the deal with an unexpected bit of mid-air ballet.

With the set knotted at 22-22 and the teams rallying, “The Gazelle” suddenly shot up the middle of the court, sprang almost over the net in a single bound, and flicked the ball to the side for a crippling winner.

In that single play, all the momentum shifted Coupeville’s way, and, sure enough, two plays later, Emma Smith sealed the deal, rising majestically on set point to deliver one of her match-high four blocks.

The less said bout the second set, the better, so we’ll keep this brief and … big breath.

Emma Smith and Toomey-Stout delivered a handful of kills, Prescott and Emma Mathusek chased down everything humanly possible, Hannah Davidson had a sweet tip winner, Maddie Vondrak cracked an ace as soon as she hit the floor, and it all wasn’t enough to save the Wolves.

Moving on.

The third set was better, much better, and, even though Coupeville had to fight from behind, not leading until 14-13, the mood in the gym swung big time.

After letting seven South Whidbey students (and the metal sign they were clanging away on) carry the load in the early going, Coupeville’s fan section picked up their game.

With Teo Keilwitz and Gavin Knoblich pounding flag poles on the bleachers, the Wolves took advantage of their larger numbers and finally shouted down the frantic Falcon faithful.

Spurred on by their support crew, the Wolf spikers launched into overdrive, with Prescott and Davidson delivering tip winners that splashed down with a happy little sigh, while Ashley Menges crushed aces down the middle of the floor.

That opened up things for Emma Smith, who blocked back-to-back Falcon shots, one with the palms of her hands, the other with just the very tippy-tips of her fingertips.

With Menges on a final, decisive tear at the service stripe, Toomey-Stout soared airborne, hung there for a day-and-a-half, then knocked all the air out of the ball (and all the willpower out of the Falcons) with a mighty, mighty mash.

If South Whidbey thought it had a chance in the fourth, and final, set, that went away quickly.

Or in about the time it took Toomey-Stout to whip another spike off the back line and out into the parking lot. I’m thinking .002 of a second.

As they surged towards the win, and the final knockout punch, every Wolf on the floor was firing.

Scout Smith dropped a Kareem-style sky-hook for a surprise winner while Mathusek flicked a shot that slowly crawled up and over the net, before suddenly flopping to the floor on the other side, kicking away as an unlucky Falcon ripped out her back muscles trying to lunge for the runaway ball.

And Toomey-Stout?

Jabbing, jousting and jolting, in between filling her shirt collar with germy goodness from frequent coughs, she was in top form, her remarkable skill and soaring heart pulling her tired, battered body along for the giddy ride.

Take a look at a reporter’s notebook and the notations about Toomey-Stout’s play in the fourth set are filled with terms like “rise and destroy,” “launched the eruptor,” smoked a fool” and, finally, “Dang! Think she killed that girl.”

The match ended in the only way possible, as Toomey-Stout, coming up the left side of the floor like a semi-truck with no brakes about to turn a Kia Sorento into a grease spot on the open highway, blasted the ball off the face of a hapless rival.

In the moment, swept along by the joy of the win, the delight of reaching down deep and finding a gear maybe they didn’t know they had, the Wolves rejoiced.

As they did, their coach, Cory Whitmore, one of the few to have escaped the illness besetting the spikers, smiled, while keeping a healthy distance from any coughers.

“We had a mental gut check and came out on the other side of it, which is exciting,” he said. “I’m proud of our mental toughness. The girls don’t make excuses for themselves or for each other, they just raise their play.

“Now, it’s lozenges and orange juice for everyone tomorrow!”

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Eryn Wood played strongly Monday as the Coupeville JV spikers battled South Whidbey through three torrid sets. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Second match, same as the first.

The JV volleyball squads from Coupeville and South Whidbey played twice this season, and the result was identical – the Wolves roll early, the Falcons swoop in at the end.

Monday, CHS roared to a lopsided win in the opening set, crushing the visitors 25-15, but then came up short in the final two frames, falling 25-19, 25-13.

The loss drops Coupeville’s young guns to 3-4 in North Sound Conference play, 5-5 overall.

Just like the first time these two JV teams faced off, back in late Sept. in Langley, the Wolves came out all guns firing.

Monday, Zoe Trujillo elevated and ripped a rival’s knee cap off with a ferocious spike to open the match, and that was just the beginning.

A nasty ace off the fingertips of Lucy Sandahl, followed by a block from Abby Mulholland and a kill from Izzy Wells, and Coupeville had a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Raven Vick and Sandahl each ripped off stellar runs at the service line to pad the lead, with Trujillo providing the snappiest point when she slipped in from the left side at the last second to drop a running tip which had the Falcons swinging at nothing but air.

Once again, Coupeville looked like it would put the match away in the second set, jumping out to a lead.

But once again, that lead slipped away, never to be regained.

Maddie Vondrak unleashed like a coiled spring exploding, driving a ball between two defenders for a kill, then immediately struck again, this time dancing in air while using just the tips of her fingers to reach up and snuff out a would-be-Falcon point.

That followed a sensational smash off the back line from Kylie Van Velkinburgh, and things were sailing along nicely. Until they weren’t.

The Wolves didn’t trail until 17-16, but once they found themselves on the short end of the score, they couldn’t get back in front.

Trujillo made a spectacular running save on one point, however, popping the ball back into play.

That gave Vondrak a chance to arc a high, looping shot over her shoulder, with the ball splashing down deep on the other side of the net for an unexpected, and thrilling, point.

With their swing players (Sandahl, Vondrak, Vick and Trujillo) unavailable in the third set, CHS coach Chris Smith went to his freshmen in the final frame, and they put up a strong effort against more seasoned foes.

Eryn Wood and Noelle Daigneault caught the spotlight, with the former dropping in several winners with a variety of sweet hits, while the latter lashed a booming ace on her very first serve.

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Ema Smith was one of four Coupeville High School soccer stars honored Monday during Senior Night festivities. (Photos by Jackie Saia)

Lindsey Roberts hangs out with part of her vast family.

Sarah Wright (3) and lil’ sister Genna are joined by their parental units.

Maddy Hilkey has both grandma and mom with her on her big night.

The Fab Four and their coach for the past two seasons, Kyle Nelson.

Roberts lets mom Sherry get at least one hug in.

Hilkey exits with a laugh.

The Fab Four closed one chapter Monday, but they’re not done yet.

Playing at home for the final time in their prep soccer careers, Coupeville High School booters Ema Smith, Maddy Hilkey, Lindsey Roberts and Sarah Wright were honored on Senior Night, then went out fighting.

While the Wolves fell 3-0 to visiting South Whidbey, CHS, and its veteran leaders, have at least one, and possibly many more, games left this season.

Coupeville, which sits at 1-8 in North Sound Conference play, 2-11-1 overall, travels to Granite Falls (6-3, 7-6-1) Wednesday for the regular season finale.

The Wolves are tied with Sultan (1-8, 5-10) for fifth-place, and the last playoff slot, from the six-team league.

Except, because this is soccer and everything needs to be extra-complicated, Coupeville is actually a point up on the Turks, since one of their league losses came in double overtime.

If the Wolves hold on to the #5 slot — Sultan plays Cedar Park Christian (4-5, 7-7) Wednesday — they open the modified double-elimination district tourney Oct. 22.

Coupeville’s playoff game would be at the home of the #3 NSC school (either Granite or South Whidbey), and would be a loser-out affair.

Win, and the Wolves play Oct. 24, still on the road, one victory away from advancing to bi-districts or one loss from packing up their gear.

Everyone confused? Good, there will be a test later.

Facing off with their Island rivals for the second time this season Monday, the Wolves battled South Whidbey (6-3, 8-5-1) almost to a standstill in the first half.

The Falcons slipped home a goal right before the break, then tacked on two more in the second half to sweep the season series from Coupeville.

“The girls played real well, just not quite with the energy we needed to pull out a win,” said Wolf coach Kyle Nelson.

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