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Seeded #4, Coupeville’s 5th/6th grade boys SWISH basketball team brought home a second-place trophy Saturday after winning two of three games at the season-ending league tourney. (Photos courtesy Jon Roberts)

The future of Coupeville basketball.

Overachievers, one and all.

Despite entering the season-ending league tournament Saturday as the #4 team, out of seven, the Coupeville 5th/6th grade boys SWISH basketball team beat the odds.

Winning two of three, while coming dangerously close to making it three of three, the Wolves upset the #1 team and brought home a second-place trophy from the Skagit County Parks and Rec.

The opening game was a thriller, as Coupeville rallied from down six points in the fourth quarter to topple #5 Ferndale 27-26.

The Wolves, powered by strong play from Chase Anderson, Aiden O’Neill, and Johnny Porter, who was a mad dog on defense, closed on a 13-6 tear.

That set up a clash with the tourney’s King Kong, #1 Anacortes.

Coupeville struck early, snatched an 8-7 lead after one quarter, then turned on the defensive heat to hold off the tourney favorites.

Once again, things came down to the fourth quarter, and once again the scrappy Wolves stepped up and blasted their foes with the game on the line.

This time it was a 10-6 run, fueled by Anderson and O’Neill, and Coupeville headed to the championship game after a 24-18 dethroning of the big city boys.

With #1 and #2 gone, the tourney came down to the Wolves and #3 Jr. Wildcats, with the title in doubt until the final moments.

Seeking redemption for a narrow loss last week in league play, Coupeville pushed their foes until the end, but ran out of gas at the very end, falling 29-26.

Hurley Bronec opened strongly for Coupeville, tossing in a bucket to go with a 4-4 performance at the free-throw line.

He got plenty of help from his teammates, with Landon Roberts, Anderson, and Jack Porter all chipping in with a bucket of their own.

Coupeville’s defense, led by Johnny Porter, who “was throwing elbows and tearing down rebounds like a mad man” according to coach Jon Roberts, kept the game close.

Down just 17-16 at the half, Coupeville got third-quarter scoring from Camden Glover, Roberts and Anderson, but watched its deficit stretch out slightly to 25-22.

Bronec and Johnny Porter led a strong defensive stand in the final frame, while Anderson notched the final four points of the season.

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Ben Smith nailed several big fourth-quarter shots Saturday, helping the Coupeville C-Team topple South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Revenge!

A day after Coupeville’s JV boys basketball squad lost to South Whidbey, the Wolf C-Team swept in and got some payback.

Playing at a tournament in Granite Falls Saturday, the Wolves put on a defensive clinic in the second half, toppling a Falcon squad which featured 9 of its school’s 14 JV players, including the leading scorer from Friday night.

Coupeville’s own seven-player team took a hit in the nightcap, losing its top player to an early injury and eventually falling to the tourney hosts, but CHS coach Scott Fox came away pleased with the day-long excursion.

“Got the monkey off our backs!”, he said. “We put together a great win against South Whidbey!

“Team played awesome defense in the second half.”

The Wolf C-Team, now 1-7 on the season, returns home to host Oak Harbor Monday. Tip-off is 5 PM.

How Saturday played out:

 

South Whidbey:

The game was a tale of two very different halves, as the Wolf comeback kings stormed from behind to net a 28-16 win.

Jaylen Nitta tossed in four of his game-high 14 points in the opening quarter, but Coupeville found itself in a 12-5 hole at the first break.

Things didn’t get much better, though not necessarily all that much worse either, during a second quarter which was brutal for lovers of offensive play.

The Falcons garnered the only points of the frame with a lonely field goal, but, as they went to the locker room up 14-5, little did they know they would never, ever hit from the field again.

Perhaps inspired by a Lombardi-style speech from their coach, or just revived by the intermission, the Wolves attacked ferociously once play started back up.

With Nitta running wild, dumping in six more points in the third, CHS used a 10-0 run to turn their deficit into a one-point lead.

After that, it was time for “Big Game BenSmith to take over, as he rifled in a pair of shots from way outside in the fourth, keying a 13-2 surge to nail down the win.

South Whidbey’s only second-half points came courtesy two free throws, as the Falcons failed to hit a single field goal after the halftime break.

Nitta finished with 14 points to lead the way, while Smith (6), Chris Cernick (3), Jonathan Partida (3), and Tony Garcia (2) also scored.

Brayden Coatney and Andrew Aparicio rounded out the plucky Wolf squad, coming strong on defense alongside their teammates.

 

Granite Falls:

Nitta went down early, and without their leading scorer, CHS fell 43-22.

After trailing 13-2 at the first break, the Wolves cut the lead back to seven by the half, and were still within single digits until the game slipped away in the fourth quarter.

While Granite had a 10-6 advantage in players, Partida, in particular, didn’t back down.

Nailing a trio of three-balls, he scored in every quarter while tickling the nets for a season-best 15 points.

Coatney, Aparicio, and Garcia chipped in with two apiece, while Cernick swished a free-throw to cap the Wolf scoring.

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Hannah Davidson (John Fisken photo)

   Hannah Davidson controlled play at the net during a weekend tourney in Sequim. (John Fisken photo)

(Photo courtesy Cory Whitmore)

Bundled up for an early-morning ferry ride. (Photo courtesy Cory Whitmore)

Improvement, always improvement.

That’s what JV coaches are looking for first, last and always, and it’s exactly what Kristin Bridges witnessed Saturday.

Having taken her Coupeville High School volleyball squad to Sequim for a weekend tournament, the Wolves responded with some of their best play of the season.

A team that sits at 5-2 in regular-season play sparkled in a multi-school environment.

“The tournament was exactly what the JV team needed,” Bridges said. “They learned a lot and really began to own the court with a bit more confidence.

“Honestly, every player demonstrated such great improvement from the beginning of the season, which is what I really wanted to see as a coach.”

Competing strongly against everyone they faced, the Wolves drew big praise from their coach.

Emma (Mathusek) was our libero, playing incredible defense,” Bridges said. “At one point I referred to her as a spider monkey because she was just everywhere on the court, covering the pass, covering the block, and digging.

“Her serving was on point as well, often bringing Coupeville back in the game or gaining us a bigger lead.”

Numerous other Wolves also stepped forward and captured their moment in the spotlight.

Hannah (Davidson) had a very aggressive day on the net. She was killing it even from the 10-foot line,” Bridges said. “Her ability to adjust to the set is really quite impressive.

Lucy (Sandahl) and Scout (Smith) had beautiful assists to Hannah, Allison (Wenzel), Zoe (Trujillo), Maya (Toomey-Stout), Peytin (Vondrak) and Nicole (Lester).”

With the team having focused on passing in practice, seeing her players respond in pressure situations brought a smile to the coach’s face.

“Our passing was extremely reliable and consistent,” Bridges said. “To see those practices pay off was encouraging. Now we can shift our focus and really fine-tune different areas of our game.

“Personally, it was a very emotional day as a coach,” she added. “I am just really proud of the improvement, team work, and leadership.

“We will always have something to work on, but it’s a good day when you are able to shift your focus because they really “have it” now.”

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Makana Stone (Amy King photo)

   Makana Stone tries to stay toasty warm while waiting for the ferry. (Amy King photo)

bus (Amy Briscoe photo)

Stay in school or jump on the bus? (Amy Briscoe photo)

bus (Briscoe photo)

Jump on the bus!! (Briscoe photo)

ferry (King photo)

   “We get to go on a ferry!! Oh wait, this is the 15,819th ferry we’ve taken as athletes…” (King photo)

Lindsey Roberts (King photo)

   Lindsey Roberts may only be a freshman, but she already realizes the importance of getting in a power nap on road trips. (King photo)

It’s tourney time.

And, frankly, it’s been several years since we even heard that around these parts.

For some reason, Coupeville High School basketball squads have been AWOL in recent years when it came to attending in-season tournaments.

But that changes today, as the Wolf girls are off to Friday Harbor for the Tip-Off Classic.

Coupeville plays Overlake at 2 PM, followed by the hosts tipping off against South Whidbey. Friday’s losers and winners pair up Saturday at 10 AM and 1:30 PM, respectively.

Depending on how things play out on day one, the Wolves might get a chance for some revenge against their Island rivals. CHS fell 32-30 to South Whidbey Wednesday in the season-opener.

And, in a twist, the Wolf JV squad will get a game at the tourney as well, with a match-up against Friday Harbor Saturday.

Going on an actual trip (the varsity and its coaches will spend the night Friday) not only gets the Wolves two games, but a chance to come together in a team environment in a way a regular bus trip to a game wouldn’t allow.

“It should be a great bonding experience for the team,” said Coupeville coach David King.

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