Posts Tagged ‘SWHS Falcons’

South Whidbey’s Bodie Hezel runs to daylight during his senior season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Whidbey Island would have been represented in Yakima.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shut down prep sports this spring, and one of the bigger casualties was the loss of the Earl Barden Classic.

The annual all-star football game, played in Yakima, pits the top seniors in the state from the 2A, 1A, 2B, and 1B classifications.

Coupeville gridiron stars who have played in the event in previous years range from Josh Bayne to Ryan Labrador.

While the game, and surrounding festivities, were cancelled for 2020, Earl Barden officials went on Twitter Friday night to reveal what the rosters would have been for this year’s game.

While not all players had yet accepted their invitation to play before the game was shut down, the rosters in their original form give a pretty good indication of what might have been.

While Coupeville’s Sean Toomey-Stout was snubbed, Whidbey Island did get some respect with South Whidbey senior Bodie Hezel selected for the West team.

Hezel, listed as a 6-foot, 180-pound running back/receiver/defensive back, drew the attention of coaches for a senior season in which he was named the North Sound Conference Most Valuable Offensive Player.

The South end standout was also tabbed as a First-Team pick as a defensive back, helping lead the Falcons to a 6-4 record in his final go-around on the gridiron.

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South Whidbey Class of 2020 grad Megan Parker shows off her mask. (Photo from Whidbey DIYers Facebook page)

Rivals on the field, friends off of it.

Students at Coupeville and South Whidbey High School are next-door neighbors, their classrooms separated by about 25 miles, but united by living on the same rock in the middle of the water.

With graduation arriving Saturday for a weary Class of 2020, the seniors at those schools, whether Wolves or Falcons, benefited from the generosity of a local group of “do it yourselfers,” and one of the school’s principals.

As everyone deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, both area schools required face masks for their graduation ceremonies.

That’s where the Whidbey DIYers group stepped up, getting going on a project to produce masks for grads at South Whidbey High School and South Whidbey Academy.

With the crafty ones hard at work, South Whidbey High School Principal John Patton donated to the cause.

To the delight of all, his bucks gave the Whidbey DIYers enough financial aid to go beyond their original commitment and craft masks for CHS grads as well.

The project was a success on all levels.

“Whether or not they use these masks or just keep them as a keepsake memory of this crazy year, we wanted them to be able to show off their accomplishment even if they have to wear a mask for work, etc,” the Whidbey DIYers said on their Facebook page.

The project was the work of many, with several DIYers getting shout-outs.

That included Gwendine “The Machine” Norton and husband Tom “The Bomb” Norton, both of Clinton, SWHS parents Keasha Campbell and Petrena Haines, DIYer admin Kymy Johnson, Oak Harbor’s Wendy Shingleton, Coupeville School Board member Venessa Matros, and Patton.

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Avalon Renninger and her fellow CHS seniors came up big Tuesday, drilling South Whidbey to finish the regular season at 12-5. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

This is the way you want to go out.

While the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball squad may come back around to play at home again in the playoffs, Tuesday night was a fitting send-off for its splendid seniors.

The four-pack of Tia Wurzrainer, Avalon Renninger, Scout Smith, and Hannah Davidson closed the regular season in style, sparking the Wolves to a 39-27 win over visiting South Whidbey.

With the victory, CHS closes out North Sound Conference play at 6-3, claiming third-place in the six-team league.

Now 12-5 overall, the Wolves open the double-elimination district playoffs next Monday, Feb. 10, when they travel to Nooksack Valley.

Beat the Pioneers (14-5), the #2 seed from the Northwest Conference, and Coupeville advances to the district semifinals and a likely match-up with King’s (15-5).

Drop that opener, and CHS would host its second playoff game Feb. 11.

To see the bracket, pop over to:


Tuesday night was about honoring the Wolf seniors, who have played together since middle school, and they responded, almost outscoring South Whidbey by themselves.

Wurzrainer, known for being a defensive dynamo, got things started by slipping a free throw through the net in the opening moments, signaling the start of one of her strongest performances of the season on both sides of the ball.

While South Whidbey slipped a bucket through the defense shortly after to claim a 2-1 lead, it would be the one and only time the Falcons would have the advantage.

Wolf junior Chelsea Prescott snatched a rebound away from a rival, then knocked down the put-back and a fuse was lit for Coupeville.

Ripping off a 15-0 tear in which five different Wolves tallied at least one bucket, CHS surged to a 16-2 lead and looked, for a bit, like it was going to savage its guests in spectacular fashion.

Prescott followed up her put-back with a soft jumper from the side and a bucket in the paint, while Wurzrainer and Smith pulled off coast-to-coast romps off of steals.

Everything was falling, all the passes were crisp — such as the one which set up Izzy Wells for a long, arcing jumper — and even the wild-card shots were dead-on.

Launching a three-ball from the top of the arc, Renninger spun a wicked liner which slammed into the glass, then promptly died on the spot and flopped straight through.

The success of the shot seemed to catch the left-handed ace by surprise.

Just for a second, though, as Renninger promptly nodded, a small smile slipping out as she whirled and scrambled back down-court to snuff out another Falcon opportunity.

But, just as the game was turning into a romp, Coupeville fell out of rhythm on the offensive end of the floor, allowing South Whidbey a chance to rally.

A miracle Falcon three-ball at the first-quarter buzzer was like a stab through the heart of Wolf Nation, capping a 7-0 run and cutting the lead to 16-9.

Things got a little tighter from there, with the lead slashed all the way back to 17-13 late in the second quarter.

Coupeville needed something to stop the bleeding, and it came in the form of note-perfect free throw shooting, as Davidson and Prescott stepped to the line and knocked down two freebies apiece after getting roughed up.

The Wolves closed the half with a beautiful play, as Davidson made off with a steal, then hit a cutting Wurzrainer in transition for a layup which pushed the lead back to double-digits.

That set up a second half in which Coupeville thoroughly controlled everything.

Pushing the lead to its largest margin at 33-15 exiting the third quarter, the Wolves looked sharp.

Wurzrainer fed Renninger with a gorgeous pass, and her tennis doubles partner barely made the net move as she sank yet another runner.

Then the freshman got in on the good times, with Maddie Georges driving and dishing, setting up Carolyn Lhamon for a bucket in the paint.

South Whidbey continued to bang away and play hard (and physical), but the Wolves had an answer each time, never letting the lead slip under 12 the rest of the way.

It was a performance which brought a smile to the face of veteran coach Scott Fox, in his first year at the helm of the CHS program.

“The effort has always been there (with this group),” he said. “I like the way they compete, and I couldn’t be more proud of this group of girls.”

Prescott rattled the rims for eight points on a night when Coupeville’s scoring was incredibly well-balanced.

Joining her in the scoring column were Wurzrainer (6), Smith (6), Davidson (6), Renninger (5), Wells (4), Georges (2), and Lhamon (2).

Young guns Kylie Van Velkinburgh, Audrianna Shaw, Mollie Bailey, and Anya Leavell came on late, giving Coupeville’s seniors a chance to walk off together, as a unit, to the cheers of their family and friends.

Meanwhile, freshman enforcer Nezi Keiper, rehabbing from an injury, provided emotional support for one and all from her perch at the end of the bench.

While the primary focus was on nabbing a team win to honor the seniors and send Coupeville into the playoffs on a positive note, the stats hounds are ever vigilant.

With three buckets Tuesday, Smith has 283 varsity points, and moves past Wolf legend Hailey Hammer (282) to claim 38th place on the CHS girls hoops career scoring list.

Prescott, now with 247 points, continues to rise as well, passing Kendra O’Keefe (244) to move into a tie for #45 with Marlys West on a chart which stretches back to 1974.

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Audrianna Shaw (5) played often-brilliant ball on both ends of the floor Tuesday night, sparking the Wolf JV to a come-from-behind win over South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sweet, sweet revenge is ours.

Despite not netting a field goal for nearly 13 minutes to open the game Tuesday, the Coupeville High School JV girls basketball team stormed from behind to topple visiting South Whidbey.

With the 37-31 win, sparked by a dynamic fourth quarter from Audrianna Shaw, the Wolves earn a season split with their next-door neighbors, avenging a two-point loss at Langley in mid-January.

The victory lifts CHS to 7-2 in North Sound Conference play, 11-4 overall.

Megan Smith’s squad has one game left on the schedule, a home non-conference rumble with La Conner Thursday. Tip-off is set for 6 PM.

Tuesday’s tilt with the Falcons didn’t start off all that great for Coupeville.

Unable to get anything to drop from the floor, the Wolves could only scrape out a pair of Shaw free throws in the first quarter, and they were spaced more than five minutes apart.

Making matters worse, South Whidbey hit a miracle three-point shot at the first-quarter buzzer, the ball corkscrewing through the air, then catching a small sliver of glass and (somehow) banking itself through the net.

With the Falcons up 11-2 and whoopin’ it up over their gift from the heavens, the Wolves needed to catch a break.

They’d have to wait awhile, though.

Coupeville went scoreless through the first four-and-a-half minutes of the second quarter as well, though it did clamp down on defense and ice out the Falcons.

Shaw finally broke the scoreless stalemate with two more free throws at the 3:26 mark, and then, mercifully, things took a huge positive swing.

It started with Anya Leavell sliding in front of a pass and picking it off, then slashing downcourt and pegging a smooth pass onto the waiting fingertips of a streaking Gwen Gustafson.

The Wolf frosh beat the Falcons to the hoop, slapped home a layup, and 12 minutes and 43 seconds after the opening tip, Coupeville had a field goal.

The hometown hoops stars liked that first score so much, they immediately added two more, with Shaw slashing inside for a bucket, then Leavell taking another steal coast-to-coast.

While South Whidbey recovered to score the final basket of the half, staking itself to a 13-10 lead at the half, the momentum had turned.

After combining to score just 23 first-half points, the two teams suddenly got all offensive in the third frame, with the Wolves having the upper hand during a 15-12 mini-surge.

Alita Blouin, stalking the court like a blood-thirsty assassin, led the way, tossing in seven points on a variety of moves, while breaking at least twice that many ankles.

She had plenty of help, with fellow freshman Ryanne Knoblich rumbling through the paint for a pair of huge buckets and Ella Colwell ripping down rebounds by the handful.

There were seven lead changes and six ties during the third quarter, with neither team ever up by more than a single bucket, setting the stage for a furious finale.

And the fourth quarter lived up to the anticipation, as the arch-rivals swapped leads back and forth.

Abby Mulholland rolled hard to the hoop, slapping home a go-ahead bucket, before Shaw pilfered a steal, zipped down court, and dribbled rings around two defenders as she wiggled through an incredibly small hole for a crowd-pleasing layup.

But South Whidbey wasn’t quite ready to crack, and a three-point play the hard way put the Falcons back on top 31-29 as the clock ticked madly down.

Which meant it was time for Smith to lean on her wily vets, and the Wolf swing players came through big down the stretch.

A pair of free throws from the always-unflappable Mollie Bailey knotted the score at 31-31, then the Wolves busted open the game with a brilliant bit of teamwork.

Shaw jumped a wayward pass, picked it off, flipped the ball to Bailey, then got down the floor as fast as her feet would carry her.

Weaving through back-pedaling defenders, Bailey sucked the defense to her, before skipping a pass right back to her running mate, who sealed the win with a breakaway bucket.

Coupeville tacked on two more baskets, one each for Leavell and Shaw, just to make sure things wouldn’t get dicey, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered, as the Wolf defense was lights-out across the game’s final three minutes.

Shaw finished with a game-high 12 points, while Blouin (7), Knoblich (4), Bailey (4), Leavell (4), Gustafson (3), Mulholland (2), and Colwell (1) also scored.

Jessenia Camarena, Morgan Stevens, and Kylie Van Velkinburgh chipped in with strong defensive work, with Camarena providing a particular jolt off the bench.

Forcing several jump balls, and slingin’ elbows with the best of them, she’s a somewhat underrated hustle player, and one who continues to show great promise for the Wolves.

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Mason Grove pumped in a team-best 20 points Tuesday night, pacing the Coupeville varsity in its battle with South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Well, that was something.

In a game which featured three technical fouls called on a South Whidbey squad which seemed to do an awful lot of whining, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball team showed grit and passion Tuesday, but couldn’t overcome a substantial height disadvantage.

The Falcons, who feature four players between 6-foot-7 and 6’4, are a talented team, and they showed it, earning a season sweep of the Wolves with a 76-65 win.

The victory lifts South Whidbey to 6-1 in North Sound Conference play, 14-3 overall, headed into a Friday tango with King’s (6-0, 10-9).

The Knights, whose record is deceptive, as the 1A state title contenders have spent the season playing a ton of 3A and 4A schools, ran the Falcons off the floor the first time they met, crushing them 78-45.

Win Friday to seal a perfect league mark, and King’s will give South Whidbey plenty more to kvetch about.

Coupeville, which sits at 1-6 in league play, 5-11 overall, is in a battle with Sultan (2-5, 4-13) and Granite Falls (1-6, 3-15) for the #4 and #5 playoff seeds from the NSC.

The Wolves welcome Granite to town Friday, then travel to Sultan Feb. 4 for the season finale.

Tuesday’s battle for Whidbey produced some stellar basketball, liberally mixed with some hard fouls, though the technical fouls came not for scrappiness, but for South Whidbey’s apparent love of flapping its gums.

Not to make too much out of things, but we’re 92% into the season, and no collection of players that I’ve seen this year has spent so much time complaining, making faces, whispering sweet nothings at the refs out of the side of their mouths, and losing their cool on what seemed like EVERY SINGLE PLAY.

Big props to Dexter Jokinen, South Whidbey’s senior guard, who played with great intensity, but took calls good and bad in stride, merely nodding his head and quickly moving on to gutting the Wolves.

Maybe it was a one-night thing. Maybe not.

I’ve only see the Falcons play once this season, since I was sick the first time they played Coupeville in Langley, but good lord, if you’re going to make a solid playoff run and represent Whidbey, you all need to suck it up, buttercups.

You crack like this against a scrappy underdog team, you are going to implode when you face a Lynden Christian.

Come on, be like Jokinen. That dude gets it.

Anyways, let the hate mail flow I guess, Falcon faithful. It’s been a hot moment or two since I managed to tick off the South end of the Island.

The game itself, in between the frequent freak-outs, was your usual intense Island rivalry clash.

South Whidbey has talent, and can sting you from multiple directions, whether it’s Sterling Patton raining three-balls or Carson Wrightson roaring through the paint and finishing with a nasty two-handed dunk.

Coupeville responded in the early going with a couple of quick buckets from senior Mason Grove, who nailed his own trey, before slapping home a layup off of a dish from sophomore Xavier Murdy.

After that, X marked the spot, as the now healthy and ready to rumble CHS young gun ripped off his team’s next 10 points.

Showing off his rapidly-developing skill set, Murdy got his points in a variety of ways, hitting from range while also crashing hard to the hoop for three-point plays the hard way.

Tack on a couple of free throws from Jacobi Pilgrim and Jered Brown, then another Grove three-ball, with this one set up by a kick-out from Ulrik Wells, and the Wolves led 21-20 at the first break.

It was a huge change from the first time these teams met, when Coupeville fell behind 14-0 in a hail of turnovers.

CHS continued to fight hard through the second quarter, but the Falcons closed the half on a 9-4 run, stretching a three-point margin out to eight at 43-35.

A little runner in the paint from Hawthorne Wolfe to open the third quarter had thoughts of a comeback in the air, but then South Whidbey asserted its dominance to make things tougher.

Despite missing six consecutive free throws during the run, the Falcons put together a 9-0 surge to put the lead into double-digits for the first time.

Coupeville actually outscored the visitors 28-24 the rest of the way, but the damage was done, as the Wolves were unable to get all the way back.

Coming down the back stretch, they did get a ferocious block from Pilgrim, who caught a Falcon shooter just as he came off the floor, then rejected the ball off the back wall to loud applause from the Wolf student section.

“We put up a great, hard-fought effort against a tough basketball team,” said Coupeville coach Brad Sherman.

“This team really does not ever quit,” he added. “They kept scrapping and stopped several runs when they could have been blown out.”

Grove finished the game with a team-high 20 points, while Nick Young paced the Falcons with 21.

Koa Davison, who played strongly down low in the paint, banged home 11 to match Murdy, with Sean Toomey-Stout (7), Wolfe (5), Wells (4), Gavin Knoblich (4), Brown (2), and Pilgrim (1) also scoring.

Jean Lund-Olsen also saw floor time for CHS.

Coupeville’s top scorers this season, Wolfe and Grove, continue to climb the program’s career scoring chart.

Wolfe, a sophomore, has 371 points as a prep player, and jumped from #67 to #64 all-time Tuesday, passing Ray Harvey (368), Caesar Kortuem (369), and Ty Blouin (369).

His senior teammate scaled six players with his 20-point night, moving from #74 to #68 on a list which covers 103 seasons of CHS hoops action.

Grove sits with 361 career points, having passed former Coupeville greats like Pat Brown and Glenn Losey.

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