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Posts Tagged ‘undefeated’

Current Wolves get support on the road from the next generation of Coupeville hoops stars. (Michele Murdy photo)

Roll on, Wolves, roll on.

Capping what’s believed to be the first undefeated regular season in the 105-year history of the program, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball team dismantled host La Conner Thursday, romping to a 79-45 win.

The victory lifts the Wolves to 11-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 15-0 overall.

Next up for CHS is the District 1/2 tournament, which it will host.

As the #1 seed from the NWL, the Wolves advance directly to the title game next Thursday, Feb. 17, when they will play for the program’s first district title since 1970.

A win in that game also assures the Coupeville boys of their first trip to state since 1988.

Thursday night, facing a La Conner team which had been run off the court by Friday Harbor the day before, the Wolves rained down death from above.

Netting a season-high 12 three-balls, Coupeville put four players into double digits, with 11 of 12 players to see the floor scoring.

And Dominic Coffman, the one player not to score, still had a huge impact, sacrificing his body on dives to the floor while coming up with one of the prettiest assists of the season.

The key to getting to 15-0 — especially for a program which didn’t post a winning season between 2010 and 2021 — has been this group’s willingness to play as a team, feeding the hot hand and lifting each other up.

Alex Murdy and Co. are on the prowl. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Thursday’s game was a prime example, as seniors Caleb Meyer and Hawthorne Wolfe combined for 17 points in the first quarter, then added just one more point after that.

Not because either hardwood veteran went cold, but instead other players jumped to the forefront and the duo slid into facilitator roles, whipping pinpoint passes, forcing turnovers, doing whatever was needed in the moment.

So you had Xavier Murdy and Logan Downes each go off for nine points in the second quarter, then big moments for Grady Rickner, Alex Murdy, and Logan Martin.

Share the ball, share the glory. Just get that W.

It might almost make Coupeville coach Brad Sherman a bit misty, as he sees his best-laid plans play out in high style.

Though, steely eyes scanning the court while much of his face lurks behind a pandemic era mask, the prairie legend hides any emotion well.

His players, however, showed off a mix of bravado and joy, with just a little chest-thumping when appropriate.

Wolfe, after draining a second three-ball to cap the first quarter, dropped a few good-natured sweet nothings to the La Conner cheerleaders as he ran back down court.

Meyer, when he wasn’t busy pulling his teammates together and giving them fatherly advice, pumped his fist each time he flipped the net skyward.

And that was pretty much every time he touched the ball in the opening quarter, as he drained a trio of three-balls and a sweet lil’ jumper while on the move.

There were actually two ties in the game, the last at 10-10, and La Conner wasn’t too far off at the first break, trailing 21-16.

But then the Wolf defense got nasty, and the tsunami hit.

The lead was at 28-20 when Coupeville dropped the hammer, going off on a 15-0 tear.

Downes, already a dangerous sharpshooter and just a sophomore, rifled home back-to-back treys as he poured in nine points during the run.

The second three-ball, which sent the CHS bench into a tizzy with a 23-point lead, was set up by a kickout from Rickner, who a play earlier, benefited from another nice set-up.

That one came flying off the hand of Wolfe, who looked one way, then fired a bullet right through three defenders, the ball smacking into Rickner’s hands with a happy little sigh.

Up 43-22 coming out of the halftime break, Coupeville kept its intensity up while emptying the bench.

Basically, everyone played, and everyone contributed.

Coffman pulled off two big-time hustle plays, the first on defense, the second while he was sprawled on the floor.

On the first, he could have straggled back downcourt with a 30+ point lead and La Conner on a breakaway.

Instead, Coffman flew like a bat out of Hell, got in front of the incoming ballhandler and planted himself, absorbing a huge collision and drawing the offensive charge on his rival.

It was a play which didn’t have to happen, but meant a ton to his fellow Wolves, who pulled him back to his feet while beating the crud out of him for a second time — this time in celebration.

Later Coffman came back around, diving on the floor, before shooting the ball to a waiting Logan Martin, who calmly splashed home yet another three-ball.

There was also Nick Guay, likely another varsity star of the future, taking advantage of some floor time to pull off a three-point play the hard way.

Cole White set him up with a strong dish, then Guay powered his way to paydirt while being slammed around the head, converting the bucket under great duress.

Don’t forget about Meyer, who made his own highlight reel-worthy pass in the fourth quarter, zipping a ball through multiple defenders to set up a Jonathan Valenzuela layup.

Coupeville, which topped 70 points for the 10th time in 15 games, spread its offense out admirably.

Xavier Murdy finished with a team-high 19 points, with Downes (12), Meyer (11), and Rickner (10) hot on his heels.

Alex Murdy (9), Wolfe (7), Martin (3), Guay (3), White (2), Valenzuela (2), and Zane Oldenstadt (1) also scored for a CHS squad which has won by double digits 12 times this season.

And some side notes for stats freaks, as Wolfe and Downes hit personal milestones.

With 775 points and counting, Wolfe moves past all-timers Barry Brown (769) and Jack Elzinga (770), and now sits at #14 on the CHS boys career scoring chart, which dates back to 1917.

Meanwhile, Downes, with 205 points as he nears the halfway point of his prep career, joins the 200-point club.

He’s the fifth active Coupeville player to reach that mark, joining Wolfe (775), Xavier Murdy (436), CHS girls star Maddie Georges (234), and Rickner (212).

Up next: a run at a district title and state tourney glory. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

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Grady Rickner drills the bottom out of the net. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

A smidge of respect.

For the first time this season, the Coupeville High School boys basketball team — the only unbeaten squad left in 2B — has been noticed by the big city boys.

The Wolves, who sit at a pristine 13-0 heading into a game at Friday Harbor tomorrow night, received two votes in the most-recent Associated Press prep basketball poll.

That’s not enough to crack the top 10, which is led by Okanogan and Kalama, but it’s a start.

And, to be honest, the lack of votes is understandable, as AP voters tend to vote for teams they’ve seen play at previous state tournies.

Coupeville’s boys are chasing their first invite to the big dance since 1988, so, out of sight, out of mind.

But now, with each new win, it’ll get harder and harder to ignore the Wolves.

Never know — go win a state title, and they might actually crack the top 10…

 

To see the latest poll, pop over to:

https://apnews.com/article/sports-basketball-seattle-washington-olympia-490760c93b144fef81ac104033db6b6f

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Alex Murdy rampaged for 20 points Saturday as Coupeville improved to 13-0 on the season. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

History achieved.

Three times in the last 105 years, a Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball team started the season 12-0, only to stumble in unlucky game #13.

Not so for the 2021-2022 Wolves, who have done what the 1969-1970, 1976-1977, and 1996-1997 teams couldn’t do.

Holding off a feisty Granite Falls squad on the road Saturday, Coupeville escaped with a 70-62 win.

The non-conference victory over a 1A school which has been a longtime rival gives Brad Sherman’s squad — the only unbeaten 2B boys team in the state — a 13-0 mark heading into the home stretch of the regular season.

Left on the schedule are Northwest 2B/1B League tilts at Friday Harbor (Feb. 4) and La Conner (Feb. 10), before a likely appearance at the district tournament.

Coupeville once again demonstrated Saturday why they are so dangerous this year.

This group of Wolves doesn’t break under pressure, it can beat you from inside or outside, and it doesn’t matter which five players are on the floor at any given time.

As the Age of Coronavirus plays out, the state’s edict to test high school hoops players three times a week has left coaches to shuffle their rosters.

Saturday, the Wolves were down two varsity players, but as in every game before when other athletes were sidelined, the remaining group stepped up and seized the moment.

Facing a physical Granite Falls team which also hit the three-ball — at least in the early going — Coupeville didn’t blow its foe out.

But a win, by eight points or 48 points, is still a win. Get in, get the W, and get out.

Wolf senior Caleb Meyer, his curly locks glistening under the gym lights, got things started with a thunderous block on a Granite shot, and we were off.

The two teams traded baskets early, but a 13-2 run midway through the opening frame helped CHS open up a 17-13 lead after one quarter.

The Wolves kept Granite guessing, with Hawthorne Wolfe rippling the net on a long three-ball, before Meyer crashed end-to-end, taking a rebound all the way in for a bucket at the other end.

The biggest play, however, was a simple one, as Xavier Murdy got himself in perfect position on defense to draw a charge from a rampaging Tiger, sending a jolt of energy through the Coupeville faithful who traveled on a weekend night.

Cole White exploded off the bench to knock down back-to-back buckets to open the second quarter, but Granite hung tough.

The Tigers reclaimed the lead for a hot second at 27-26, before an Alex Murdy free throw tied things up, and then a wham-bam play staked CHS to a 29-27 lead at the half.

Logan Martin, rumblin’ down low in the paint, started things by coming up with a loose ball, before flicking an outlet pass to White.

The lanky sophomore led the charge down floor, sucked the defense in, then spun the ball to Grady Rickner — who was racing on his right — setting up a layup for his senior teammate.

Grady Rickner came up big on both ends of the floor.

Coupeville, as it has done so often this season, looked like it was blowing things wide open coming out of halftime.

Four Wolves combined to rattle the rims during a 21-9 third quarter surge, pushing the lead all the way out to 50-36 with eight minutes to play.

Wolfe led the way, lofting a pair of three-balls from the parking lot as part of an eight-point run, while Meyer slapped home six in support.

The rampaging Murdy siblings, who combined to toss in the other seven third-quarter points, teamed up on a pretty brother-to-brother bucket, with Xavier setting up Alex, and things looked safe.

But Granite had a few tricks still to play, as the Tigers rang up 26 points in a furious fourth-quarter rally.

Coupeville kept the lead right around 10, until Alex Murdy went out late after taking a rough tumble on a drive to the hoop and Wolfe fouled out on a questionable (at best) call.

A Tiger three-ball cut the lead all the way down to 66-60, but Granite also shot itself in the foot multiple times in the final moments.

Two missed free throws, an air ball on another trey, and a pair of turnovers forced by the aggressive Coupeville defense kept the hosts from staging a full comeback.

The Wolves missed some of their own free throws down the stretch, giving Granite a chance to dream, but converted when they needed it most.

Xavier Murdy, who joined the 400-point career scoring club Saturday, drained three of four charity shots in the final seconds to drive the final stake home.

As usual, the Wolves put together a very-balanced scoring attack, with Alex Murdy powering his way to a game-high 18 points.

Rickner kissed the glass for 16, Meyer drained 12, Wolfe made the nets jump for 11, while Xavier Murdy (9) and White (4) rounded out the offense.

It marked the ninth time in 13 games this season that Coupeville has topped the 70-point barrier.

After tossing in 11 points at Granite Falls, Hawthorne Wolfe has 761 for his career and moves to 16th place on the CHS boys career scoring chart.

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Alex Murdy is a key part of a Coupeville varsity which sits at 11-0. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Quality beats quantity.

Coupeville is the smallest of the three Whidbey Island high schools, but its varsity boys basketball team is the undisputed king of the Rock for the 2021-2022 season.

Having already polished off 3A Oak Harbor, the 2B Wolves went to Langley Saturday and smacked 1A South Whidbey to the merry tune of 74-38.

The non-conference victory caps a torrid week for Coupeville, in which it won four times in five days to run its record to 11-0.

Not always knowing from day to day which players will be on the floor during the test-three-times-a-week stage of the Age of Coronavirus, the Wolves have adapted.

A key player is missing, another steps up.

And they all attack with savage glee on defense, a key part of a run which has left Coupeville as the only unbeaten boys team left standing in the 2B classification.

A huge test awaits next Thursday, Jan. 27, when Coupeville travels to Mount Vernon Christian, but Saturday was all about getting some revenge on the next-door neighbors.

There was no Kody Newman to save the Falcons this time. No Lewis Pope.

Instead, after a relatively close opening quarter, in which sophomore Logan Downes poured in nine points during a 22-13 surge, the Wolves took the Falcons apart piece by piece.

A 25-6 run in the second frame, fueled by three-balls off the fingertips of Logan Martin and Downes, stretched the lead out to 47-19.

After that, Coupeville was methodical, putting together a 19-8 advantage in the third quarter, with Xavier Murdy dropping in nine points, before coasting in for the win.

Downes paced the Wolves with a game-high 18, while the X-Man was right behind him with 17.

Logan Downes has been strong on both ends of the floor as a sophomore.

Grady Rickner banked in 12, Caleb Meyer knocked down 11, Martin rippled the nets for six on a pair of treys, and the duo of Hawthorne Wolfe and Alex Murdy rounded out the attack with five apiece.

Also seeing floor time for Coupeville were Hunter Bronec and Dominic Coffman.

The two teams were nearly flawless at the free throw line in the game, combining to drain 26 of 27 freebie shots.

The Wolves were a perfect 16-16 — including Xavier Murdy hitting a pair of technical foul shots after South Whidbey was whistled for being overly yappy — while the Falcons finished 10-11.

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Caleb Meyer knocks down a jumper for a Coupeville hoops squad which is now 9-0. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Stay calm. Stay composed. Stay ferocious.

In this most trying of seasons, with each game day bringing with it the threat of postponement if the latest round of Covid testing doesn’t go right, they have endured.

They have united as more than a random group of players — meshing as a true team, willing to have a different hero each game, linked by history, driven by a pursuit of excellence, and thoroughly enjoying the moment.

And that’s why Coupeville High School is one of only two remaining unbeaten teams in 2B boys basketball.

Chief Leschi out of Puyallup is 11-0, and now the Wolves, after a major gut-check win Wednesday on Senior Night, is a pristine 9-0.

Knocking off visiting Friday Harbor 49-34 in a game in which it didn’t claim the lead until the third quarter, Coupeville also improved to 7-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play.

That puts CHS two games up on Mount Vernon Christian (4-1) as it chases its first boys basketball league title since current head coach Brad Sherman was the one knocking down three-balls twenty years ago.

Wednesday’s win wasn’t a blowout, but it showcased how this fired-up Wolves squad can turn a game around at a moment’s notice.

Coupeville’s slow start was perhaps due to a temporary cold shooting touch.

Or perhaps it was the yearly pitfall of Senior Night, an emotion fest which often hobbles teams.

If so, the Wolves, who paid tribute to Class of 2022 teammate Bennett Boyles, who lost a battle with cancer in middle school, faced a tougher task than most.

Before the game began, fellow seniors Xavier Murdy, Caleb Meyer, Logan Martin, Grady Rickner, and Miles Davidson welcomed Bennett’s mom, Lucienne Rivera, to the floor, embracing her and their memories of her son.

CHS senior Hawthorne Wolfe, the three-ball droppin’ gunner who has worn Bennett‘s name on his basketball shoes, couldn’t be there in person, prevented access by Covid protocols.

But Hawk, like Bennett, was there in spirit.

“That win tonight was a big one for all of our seniors,” Brad Sherman said. “For the guys on the floor, and the ones who couldn’t be.

“They have all given so much to the program and we could not be more proud of them.”

Friday Harbor, which beat Coupeville by a single, solitary point twice last season, came out aggressive, while the Wolves couldn’t get the ball to stay in the bucket.

Meyer pulled off a dazzling drive down the baseline, carving up the defense for a three-point play the hard way, but CHS found itself trailing 12-6 at the first break.

For a team which has broken 30 points in the opening frame more than once this season, the lack of scoring was noticeable.

But Coupeville’s defense, sparked by the Marauding Murdy boys, Xavier and Alex, kept the visitors on their toes, and unable to pull away.

The Wolves also took advantage of Friday Harbor’s penchant for hacking, going to the free throw line on a regular basis beginning early in the second quarter.

Rickner, his body picking up an assortment of bruises along the way, hit five of six at the charity stripe, before Xavier Murdy rippled the nets on a three-ball from Dame Country to close out the half.

Still, as they went to the locker room, the Wolves were in unusual territory, trailing 20-18 in a low-scoring rumble.

There was a mild ripple of tension in the gym, a bit of a concerned look on the faces of former CHS hoops coaches like Ron Bagby and Willie Smith.

But then there was the preschooler tumbling end over end off the bottom row of the bleachers, laughing like a madman, to signal the approaching storm.

Coupeville’s players sprang out of the locker room with purpose in their step, and a glint in their eyes.

Had Sherman gone all Vince Lombardi on them at halftime? Or is this team just able to spark itself back to life?

Maybe a bit of both.

Meyer, who bounded across Coupeville courts through middle school, then went on a walkabout to hone his hoops skills in the big city, strode onto the hardwood, and pulled his teammates close.

Back to end his school days with the guys he grew up with, the last connection to my Videoville days whispered a few words, slapped a few butts, then flexed his biceps and stared down Friday Harbor.

At which point Meyer’s young companion, sophomore wild child Logan Downes — the Anakin to Caleb’s grizzled Obi-Wan, if you will — went ballistic.

A long jumper from the left side, a three-ball from even further back on the right side, then a bank shot on the run, and two free throws to shut the visiting crowd up nice and good.

Logan Downes was scorching in the second half Wednesday, raining down pain.

Downes couldn’t miss, and neither could the old guys, as Logan Martin, Meyer, and Xavier Murdy all rained down three-balls as the Wolves went for the jugular.

Friday Harbor got flustered, driven mad by the ever-snapping CHS defense, and the mistakes started piling up.

Passes went wide and high. Rebounds slipped away, or were yanked away by the Wolves. And the fouls continued to mount.

Once it had its groove back, Coupeville was unstoppable, running the lead out to 38-28 by the end of the third quarter, before opening the fourth quarter on an 11-0 rampage.

The final frame started with an X-Man trey from the top of the arc and closed when the Murdy brothers combined to force a turnover at midcourt which resulted in a breakaway bucket.

Friday Harbor scored the game’s final six points to make the score look slightly closer than reality, but the visitors exited the floor looking like they had a severe case of whiplash.

While all the three-balls dropping from the skies brought roars from the pro-Wolf crowd, the biggest cheer in the final moments came on the kind of play which perfectly captures this team’s mindset.

With his team up by 20 points, Meyer tore like a bat out of Hell down court, then nimbly darted in front of a rampaging Friday Harbor ballhandler, planted himself and waited for the explosion.

Drawing the offensive charge — which also fouled out his no-brakes-required rival — the curly-haired Wolf dynamo jumped to his feet, pumping his fist in glee.

Right along with every one of his coaches and teammates.

The defensive gem capped a night in which Coupeville once again spread out its offense.

Xavier Murdy topped all scorers with 15, while Meyer banked in 12 and Downes popped for all 11 of his points in the second half.

Rickner (7), Martin (3), and Alex Murdy (1) also scored, while Cole White got frisky on defense.

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