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Coupeville spikers (left to right) Taylor Brotemarkle, Mia Farris, Jada Heaton, and Lyla Stuurmans sport new t-shirts after winning a weekend tournament. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Heaton)

The best 8th grade SWISH basketball team in the land. (Photo courtesy Ian Somes)

It was a weekend of champions.

Whidbey Island youth teams claimed titles in volleyball and boys basketball, dominating play and sending tremors through the surrounding communities.

The Whidbey Volleyball Club U15 team, which features six Coupeville High School spikers, won an eight-team tourney in Burlington, continuing a season of excellence.

Meanwhile, Coupeville’s 8th grade SWISH boys basketball team emerged as champs from a seven-team royal rumble run by Skagit County Parks and Recreation.

Both victories bode well for the future of Wolf athletics, as athletes in both sports continue to find success in both school and non-school events.

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With two wins Saturday, Coupeville’s SWISH basketball squad finished 8-2. (Photo courtesy Jon Roberts)

“It was a very successful season!”

The future of Coupeville High School boys basketball made a strong statement this season, rolling to an 8-2 record against off-Island competition.

The eight-man Wolf SWISH boys basketball team is a mix of guys who do the dirty work in the paint, and guys who pop shots from outside.

They are also, at least in the case of Landon Roberts (#3 in the photo above), rockin’ some serious ’80s mullets.

Whether it was the power of their flowing locks, or just their superior hardwood skill set, the Wolves closed the season Saturday with a bang.

Sweeping games from Mount Baker and Stanwood, Coupeville’s rising hoops stars put smiles on the faces of the brain trust — coaches Sean O’Neill, Craig Anderson, and Jon Roberts — with the latter delivering the quote which kicked off this tale.

How Saturday played out:

 

Game 1:

Coupeville’s heart overcame Mount Baker’s height advantage, with the Wolves running away for a 23-16 win.

With the game knotted at 9-9 at the half, the Wolves unleashed a blistering defense in the second half to pull away for the win.

Johnny Porter and Landon Roberts — hair flowing in the (indoor) wind — were wheeling and dealing, with Coupeville’s guards combining to dish out seven assists in the game, warming the heart of old-school hoops legend (and master statistician) Sandy Roberts.

 

Game 2:

Hunter Bronec had the hot hand as Coupeville bounced dangerous Stanwood 28-21 to put a cap on things.

The Bronec twin not named Hurlee showcased “mad foot skills acquired while watching Gonzaga’s Drew Timme,” leading the Wolves with a game-high 10 points.

Chase Anderson popped for eight in support, with Johnny Porter (4), Aiden O’Neill (3), Jack Porter (2), and Hurlee Bronec (1) also tallying points.

While they didn’t score, Camden Glover and Landon Roberts brought significant defensive heat during their on-court shifts.

Coupeville busted open a close game, turning a 13-12 halftime lead into a much-more comfortable final margin.

Its breakthrough came courtesy “a combination of good, quick passing, spacing and dumps into the posts, coupled with running floaters and heavy slashing to the hoop by the guards.”

Employing heavy back court defensive traps and pressure from O’Neill, Anderson, and Landon Roberts, the Wolves flustered Stanwood, then converted turnovers into easy scores.

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Jack Porter scored 10 points Saturday as Coupeville’s SWISH basketball squad split a doubleheader. (Jackie Saia photo)

Lessons learned, then turned into results.

Bouncing back after a tough loss early Saturday, Coupeville’s SWISH boys basketball squad rebounded to drill a big-city foe in its nightcap.

With the doubleheader split, the Wolves sit at 6-2 heading into the final week of the regular season.

How the day played out for the hardwood heroes:

 

Game 1:

Facing a Burlington-Edison team which had height and speed, Coupeville struggled on the boards and fell 25-16.

The second half was virtually even, but a 17-9 halftime deficit proved to be too much to overcome.

“We killed ourselves by missing easy layups and giving them offensive rebounds times three each time they came down the floor,” Coupeville coach Jon Roberts said.

“It was too late when our front court defense finally started playing.”

Chase Anderson and Hunter Bronec paced the Wolves with six points apiece, with Jack Porter tossing in three and Hurlee Bronec adding a free throw while “playing with a badly sprained ankle, with grit!”

 

Game 2:

Ramping up their defensive effort from the start, the Wolves ran away from the Lake Stevens Hoopsters, knocking them off 31-15.

“Shaking off a tough loss and getting our heads back in the defensive game, we got rolling in the first half, using a high-low post set and many excellent screen and rolls,” Jon Roberts said.

“I don’t keep track of assists – but there would have been too many to track!”

Coupeville made off with more than its fair share of steals, keying fast breaks, then took the ball hard to the hoop.

“Incredibly proud of the bounce-back against a small, fast, scrappy team,” Jon Roberts said.

Hunter Bronec topped the scoring chart in the finale, banking in nine points, with Anderson and Jack Porter each rippling the nets for seven.

Aiden O’Neill and Johnny Porter rounded out the offense, knocking down four points apiece, while Landon Roberts brought defensive heat, while setting up Coupeville’s big men with pinpoint passes.

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Hunter Bronec, seen in pre-pandemic times, scored a team-high 10 points Saturday. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“You showed grit and that’s what it took to win.”

As the Coupeville SWISH boys basketball team celebrated another win Saturday, that was the message coach Sean O’Neill delivered to his players.

And it was a message which resonated in the afterglow of a 27-25 victory over Sedro Woolley, a triumph clinched when Aiden O’Neill drained two free throws in the final moments.

Saturday, the Wolves opened slowly, but recovered with plenty of time left to play.

Overcoming “a horrific first eight minutes in which we couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn or play defense, we cleared our heads,” said Jon Roberts.

Twin terrors Hunter and Hurlee Bronec dominated in the paint, and Jack Porter drilled “a nice eight-footer” as Coupeville rallied to take a 15-14 lead into the halftime break.

Things weren’t going to be easy, however, as Sedro came out on fire to start the second, going off on a 6-0 tear.

Chase Anderson netted a three-ball for the Wolves to start the second comeback, then Coupeville clamped down on defense behind the spirited work of Landon Roberts.

Hunter Bronec paced his squad with a team-high 10 points, while Hurlee Bronec (6), Anderson (5), O’Neill (3), Jack Porter (2), and Johnny Porter (1) also scored.

Camden Glover and Landon Roberts round out the Coupeville roster, which is now 5-1 on the season heading into a bye week.

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Coupeville’s high-flying SWISH basketball squad knocked off a major foe Saturday. (Photo courtesy Jon Roberts)

It’s been a long time coming.

Jump back somewhere around 15 months ago — “whatever the day was the world was shut down” — and Coupeville’s SWISH boys basketball team was ready to put its #1 seed on the line in a championship game rumble with big, bad Stanwood.

Enter the pandemic, exit any chance of playing the game.

Now jump forward to May 15, 2021, and the Wolves hardwood squad — comprised of 7th and 8th graders — finally got their showdown.

And it went perfectly.

“Today was a great day,” said Coupeville coach Jon Roberts. “We didn’t get a chance to prove we were #1. Until today.

“Revenge is sweet!”

Playing scrappy, defensive-minded ball, the Wolves chopped the tall Spartans down, pulling away for a 26-21 win to run their record to a crisp 4-1 on the new season.

Having split with always-tough Orcas Island, and taken wins against two squads from Mount Vernon, the Wolves entered play Saturday with a confident spring to their steps.

Even down a man, with Camden Glover out for a game, Coupeville struck quickly and never let up.

Landon Roberts, playing like his grandpa Sandy did back in the day, opened the game with a quick bucket, then the Wolves spread the offensive love around.

Chase Anderson, the Magic Man, led Coupeville with nine points, including draining a pair of game-clinching free throws in the final seconds.

Aiden O’Neill and Hunter Bronec were hot on his heels with six points apiece, with Jack Porter (2), Roberts (2), and Hurlee Bronec (1) also scoring.

While the rim was unforgiving to Johnny Porter on this day, the tall baller made a sizable impact, “collecting numerous rebounds with elbow waving arms, ruling the paint.”

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