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Kailey Kellner rains death from above. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Kellner)

Shake up the lineup, shake up the results.

The D’Youville College women’s basketball team has seven players who have appeared in every game this season, but two of those hadn’t made a start.

That changed Monday, as the Spartans plugged Hanna Wozniak and Coupeville’s Kailey Kellner into the starting lineup, and suddenly got a different result.

Sparked by a huge fourth-quarter three-ball off the fingertips of the former Wolf gunner, D’Youville pulled away late to stuff visiting Medialle 84-71 and keep alive its playoff hopes.

The win, which lifts the Spartans to 6-10 in Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference play, 9-14 overall, snaps a three-game losing skid. D’Youville had dropped seven of its last nine.

With the victory, Kellner and Co. stay a game back of the final postseason berth, with two regular season games to go.

D’Youville hits the road Wednesday to face league leader Hilbert (13-3, 18-5) in Hamburg, NY, before closing at home in Buffalo Saturday on Senior Night against cellar-dweller Franciscan (2-14, 2-20).

The decision to switch up the starting lineup paid big dividends for the Spartans coaching staff, especially when it came to Kellner.

She scored in three of four quarters, finishing with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal in 23 minutes of action.

Kellner struck early and late, and the #30 scorer in CHS girls basketball history used her trademark long bombs to do much of the damage.

D’Youville fell behind early, but got back in the game when Kellner kicked off an 8-0 run midway through the first quarter.

Splashing home a three-ball, the former Wolf pulled the Spartans to within 8-6, and that set off a tense back-and-forth affair through much of the game.

Trailing 21-19 at the first break, D’Youville forced a 39-39 tie at the half, before closing the third with the slimmest of leads at 56-55.

The Spartans had busted out to a 10-point lead in the third, only to give it all back, and Medialle actually surged ahead briefly in the fourth quarter.

Enter Kellner, who was sitting with five points after adding a third-quarter layup to her tally.

Operating behind the arc, where she lives to drop daggers, she rippled the net with her second trey of the night, staking the Spartans to a 61-58 lead they wouldn’t surrender over the game’s final six minutes.

Kellner slapped home a layup to stretch the lead out to six points with 3:32 on the clock.

After that, D’Youville, which finished with five players with double-digit scoring, closed the win by hitting its free throws down the stretch.

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Gavin Knoblich netted six points Saturday as Coupeville clashed with Nooksack Valley. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

JV players (l to r) Cody Roberts, Miles Davidson, Chris Ruck and Tucker Hall watch the action in an earlier game.

And now they rest.

A long week came to an end Saturday for the Coupeville High School boys basketball players, a week full of wind and rain and no power and cancelled games and, finally, a trip to Nooksack Valley.

While none of the three Wolf squads came away with a win against the host Pioneers, there were bright spots for all.

Plus, there’s now a two-week rest period between games, time for any dings and bruises to heal, and, hopefully, for the power to come back on and stay on.

Coupeville doesn’t play again until Jan. 4, when it travels to Shoreline to face King’s and kick off the heart of the North Sound Conference season.

Here’s how Saturday’s action broke down:

 

Varsity:

It was a nail-biter for eight minutes, then a barrage of Nooksack shots went and ruined things.

Trailing by just two at the first break, CHS was outscored 28-9 in the second quarter, eventually falling 73-42.

The non-conference loss sends the Wolves into the break sitting at 1-7.

Coupeville came out strongly, with freshman Hawthorne Wolfe dropping five in the first quarter as Nooksack clung to a 12-10 lead.

Then, the Pioneers found their groove, and never missed a shot again. Like never, ever, ever again.

The second quarter was brutal, though the Wolves hung tough in the third and fourth quarters, but couldn’t chip away at the deficit.

Mason Grove paced Coupeville with a team-high 14 points, hitting a single three-ball in all four quarters.

Wolfe was hot on his heels with 12, included two treys, while Gavin Knoblich popped for six.

Rounding out the CHS attack were Jered Brown (4), Ulrik Wells (4) and Sean Toomey-Stout (2), while Jacobi Pilgrim, Jean Lund-Olsen, Dane Lucero and Koa Davison also saw floor time.

Nooksack sank eight three-balls, and dominated Coupeville at the free throw line, hitting 13-18 compared to 4-9 by the Wolves.

 

JV:

While the varsity was close for a quarter, Coupeville’s second unit stayed with Nooksack for an entire half.

Trailing by just a point at the break, the Wolves went cold in the third quarter, however, and fell 58-37.

The CHS young guns are 4-4 heading into winter break.

Nooksack surged to an early 14-9 lead, but the Wolves responded with their own 14-10 second-quarter run behind the play of a rampaging Xavier Murdy.

Making his high school debut, the fab frosh banged home eight of his team-high 17 points in the second frame.

The difference in the game came after the break, however, as Nooksack used a 17-4 explosion in the third to flip the game on its head.

Then, tacking on a 17-10 surge in the fourth, the Pioneers coasted in for the victory.

Grady Rickner tossed in seven points for Coupeville to back up Murdy’s 17, with Daniel Olson (4), Logan Martin (4), Sage Downes (3) and TJ Rickner (2) also scoring.

Cody Roberts, Tucker Hall, Chris Ruck and Miles Davidson rounded out the active Wolf roster.

 

C-Team:

With just six players in uniform, the Wolves couldn’t match Nooksack’s depth, or its high-powered scoring, falling 44-12.

Coupeville’s best output came in the third quarter, when it netted half its points, proving the resilience of Scott Fox’s young squad.

Chris Cernick led the offensive charge, dropping in five points, while Jaylen Nitta (3), Jonathan Partida (2) and Andrew Aparicio (2) also scored.

Ben Smith and Tony Garcia also saw floor time for CHS.

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Nick Guay sizes up a free throw Thursday during the CMS boys hoops season finale. (Morgan White photos)

Andrew Williams gets ready to rocket a pass cross-court.

Noted ball-hawk Cole White lunges for the steal.

You always want to end the season on a positive.

Regardless of your final record, if you can exit on a high note – be it a big win, a highly-competitive loss or just overall improved play, it has a strong chance to carry over to future seasons.

So consider Thursday night a roaring success for the three Coupeville Middle School boys hoops teams, which all closed with a bang against visiting Granite Falls.

How it played out:

 

7th grade varsity:

The most successful Wolf team provided the biggest finale moment, using a 19-7 run in the fourth quarter to smash open a nail-biter and run away with a 43-28 win.

The victory, the second-straight for Coupeville’s young guns, lifts their final record to 4-6.

The game was a tightly-played, and low-scoring, affair through the first two quarters, with the visitors clinging to a 10-9 lead at the half.

Things took a change after the break, however, as the Wolves started to knock down shots from behind the arc, picked up the pace, and threw the Tigers back on their heels.

A 15-11 surge in the third quarter, fueled by a pair of three-balls from Ryan Blouin, plus treys off the fingertips of Cole White and Nick Guay, changed the entire flow of the game.

Once it had the lead, CMS didn’t let up, pouring on the offense in a torrid fourth quarter.

The Wolves got all their points in the final frame from three players – Logan Downes, who banked in eight, Guay, who popped for seven, and Blouin, who kicked in four.

The buckets were set up by Coupeville’s stingy defense, with White making off with three straight steals and Zane Oldenstadt dominating his rival big men in the paint.

“Boys played well tonight!,” said Wolf coach Greg White. “It was a tight game until the fourth.

Zane played great defense on their giant post – it was a true team effort tonight,” he added. “It was a fun one to end on!”

Downes paced the Wolves with 14 points, while Blouin and Guay had season-highs, swishing home 13 and 10, respectively.

White and William Davidson added three apiece, while Oldenstadt and Mikey Robinett were rock-solid on defense.

 

7th grade JV:

Coupeville’s least-experienced squad didn’t get the game win, but they did score several moral victories.

First, after falling behind 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Wolves rallied to win a 4-3 battle in the second, and final, frame.

Also, Alex Clark netted his first bucket of the season, a big moment for both the player, and his coach.

Alex had a huge smile!,” Greg White said. “Justin (Wilkinson) and Andrew (Williams) also played really tough defense.

“Even though our scoring was limited, I thought it was a much better showing for our JV squad.”

Robinett tossed in Coupeville’s other basket, while Quinten Pilgrim, Timothy Nitta and Chris Villarreal all saw floor time.

 

8th grade varsity:

Playing their final middle school game, the Wolves came dangerously close to nabbing a season-closing win.

But, in the end, Granite Falls escaped with a 24-23 triumph, leaving Coupeville to finish 1-9 on the season.

The Wolves had one of their strongest performances of the season at the free-throw line, with four players combining to net eight shots at the charity stripe.

Alex Wasik, who showed tremendous growth as a player from game one to game 10, led the Wolves with seven points, notching at least a point in every quarter.

Ty Hamilton was hot on his heels, pouring in six, while Alex Murdy flicked in five, Dominic Coffman and Mitchell Hall swished two apiece and Josh Upchurch sank a free throw.

Rounding out the roster were Kevin Partida, Levi Pulliam and Jesse Wooten.

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Coupeville’s Mason Grove connected on a trio of three-balls Tuesday, but Sultan answered with 12 treys of its own in a 65-47 Turk win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sometimes all you can do is shake your head and mutter “Dang…”

When your team plays strongly, has an early lead and then gets buried under an avalanche of three-balls, the kind of avalanche where six different rival players hit from behind the arc, there’s not much else left to do.

It was that kind of night Tuesday for the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball team, as visiting Sultan nailed 12 treys en route to a 65-47 win.

The loss, coming in the North Sound Conference opener, drops the Wolves to 0-1 in league play, 0-6 overall.

Even while losing, CHS did not play badly.

The Wolves shot out to an 8-1 lead after freshman Hawthorne Wolfe banged home back-to-back three-balls of his own.

One came during a coast-to-coast jaunt by the fab frosh, who leads his team in scoring this season, while the second was a rainbow set up by a beautifully-timed kick-out pass from deep in the paint by Ulrik Wells.

With Wells and Gavin Knoblich each slapping home a bucket of their own, and Mason Grove exploding off the bench to caress the net with his own three-ball, Coupeville led by as many as five points in the first quarter.

But what seemed like a minor slow-down, with Sultan scoring the final two buckets of the opening frame on inside moves, became something far, far worse.

The free-flowing Wolf offense on display in the game’s early moments sputtered and wheezed for a bit, as the Turks ran off the first 12 points of the second quarter.

The 16-0 surge, which crossed quarters but never slowed down, turned a five-point deficit into an 11-point lead for the visitors, and they would never relinquish the advantage.

Coupeville finally broke the dry spell on a long jumper from Jered Brown, and the Wolves scraped back to within six, but then a disturbing trend starting rearing its head.

Sultan, once it started shooting from behind the arc, rarely missed, and the Turks, time and again, used an artfully-shot three-ball to blunt every single Wolf run for the remainder of the game.

Cameron Gunderson was the primary culprit, swishing six treys as he rolled up a game-high 22 points, but nearly every one of his Turk teammates was locked-in, as well.

The third quarter was a prime example.

CHS cuts the lead to 12 off of an offensive rebound and put-back by Sean Toomey-Stout?

Bam. Bam. Back-to-back Turk three-balls.

The Wolves rebound to cut a 20-point margin back to 13 right before the end of the third quarter?

Bam. Bam. Bam. Sultan hits two treys to close the quarter and a third to open the final frame.

Coupeville’s best sustained play of the night came right after the Turks drained that three-ball to open the fourth quarter.

A 10-0 run, helped out by four free throws, Wolfe making a dash coast-to-coast for a layup and Knoblich slapping home a basket off of a steal and dish by Toomey-Stout, made things interesting.

And then, one last time … bam, bam, as the Turk three-ball express made its final stops.

“Give Sultan credit where it’s due,” said Coupeville coach Brad Sherman. “They shot the ball extremely well tonight. Extremely well.”

While CHS couldn’t match Sultan’s long-range launching (the Wolves hit six treys of their own, with Grove netting three), Coupeville held its own in other areas.

The Wolves won the turnover battle, a special point of pride for Sherman, and a young team in transition continues to grow. The 47 points were a season-high.

“We moved the ball well on offense and got good looks; I’m happy with that,” Sherman said. “I thought our offensive movement continues to improve.

“Also, as a coaching staff, we continue to be impressed with the effort and work being put in by our guys,” he added. “They’ll be here tomorrow, heads up and ready to work, and that’s huge.”

Coupeville will have some time to fine-tune things before its next league game.

The Wolves travel to Concrete Friday for a non-conference clash, then have trips to Port Townsend and Nooksack Valley ahead on the schedule.

CHS doesn’t return to league play until Jan. 4, when it travels to King’s to kick off the final nine games of the 10-game conference season.

Tuesday night the Wolves spread out their offensive load, with eight of the nine players who saw floor time scoring,

Brown singed the nets for a team-high 11 points, with Wolfe and Grove chipping in with nine apiece.

Wells (6), Toomey-Stout (5), Knoblich (4), Koa Davison (2), and Jacobi Pilgrim (1) also scored, while Dane Lucero hit the boards with intensity.

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Coupeville’s Kailey Kellner, here with parents Tim and Jennifer, knocked down a pair of three-balls Sunday to help D’Youville College win a basketball thriller. (Photo courtesy Kellner family)

Things are on the upswing in New York.

Coupeville grad Kailey Kellner and the D’Youville College women’s basketball team are off to a 3-2 start on the season after pulling out a 69-66 thriller Sunday against Cazenovia College.

That’s a marked turnaround from a season ago, when the Spartans finished 5-20 and claimed only one non-conference victory.

Now, D’Youville has already tripled that number, giving them a boost heading into their first round of Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference games.

During Kellner’s freshman season, the Spartans finished ninth in the 10-team league. Right now, they boast the second-best record of any team from the conference.

D’Youville will get a big test this coming Wednesday, Nov. 28, when it hosts defending league champ Hilbert, which sits at 5-2 in non-conference play.

Winning tightly-contested games, like the Spartans did Sunday, bodes well for the future, though.

The two squads went toe-to-toe, shot-to-shot, swapping razor-thin leads at every break.

D’Youville was up by a single point, 17-16, at the end of the first quarter, while Cazenovia rebounded to claim a 35-34 advantage at the half.

The Spartans poured in 22 third-quarter points, their best showing of the game, to edge ahead 56-55 heading into the fourth, then clamped down on defense to close out the win.

Kellner was a big part of the win, coming off the bench to drop a season-high seven points in 16 minutes of action.

She knocked down a pair of long three-balls, slid a key free throw through the net at the end of the second quarter and also snagged two rebounds and made off with a steal.

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