Posts Tagged ‘WNBA’

CHS hoops stars got to watch professional players in action Friday. (Photos courtesy Scott Fox)

The Wolves meet Seattle Storm standout Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.

Past connections pay off.

New Coupeville High School girls basketball coach Scott Fox was a firefighter and fire captain in California before retiring to Whidbey.

During that time he worked 20 years with the father of Seattle Storm standout Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, seeing her rise from a junior high star to the national high school player of the year, then a three-time national champion at the University of Connecticut.

Friday night Fox got a chance to take seven CHS seniors to watch her play in person, as the Storm bounced the LA Sparks 84-62 at the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett.

The Wolves – Tia Wurzrainer, Jered Brown, Hannah Davidson, Gavin Knoblich, Avalon Renninger, Jacobi Pilgrim, and Scout Smith – also got to meet Mosqueda-Lewis.

The 25-year-old small forward has enjoyed a stellar career at every level.

Mosqueda-Lewis was the ESPN National Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011, while adding the State Farm/WBCA High School Player of the Year, Naismith High School Player of the Year, and Gatorade National Player of the Year her senior season.

She captured gold medals four times while playing for different Team USA squads, was a three-time national champion at UConn, and won a 2018 WNBA title with the Storm.

Mosqueda-Lewis also holds the NCAA D-I women’s career record for made three-point shots, rattling home 398 three-balls, while shooting a crisp 44.7% from behind the arc.

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Ann Pettit (left) with partner Christina Parker.

Ann Pettit (left) with partner Christina Parker.

“Everything, and I mean everything in my life is based off of basketball in one way or another. My life has revolved around the ball like the earth does around the sun.”

Ann Pettit is one of the greatest basketball players in Coupeville High School history, a high-scoring sensation who helped lead the Wolf girls to their first-ever appearance at the state tournament.

The team’s Offensive Player of the Year in 1996 and ’97 and MVP in ’98, she excelled on the court and it was where she was the happiest.

“My best memories at CHS was when I played basketball,” Pettit said. “That was the only time I enjoyed myself.

“Our team coached kids, as well as went on tournaments, and camps together during the summers,” she added. “We had a great team, very well coached and organized. As a unit we were amazing.”

Pettit was a huge part of that success, making an impact from the first moment Wolf coach Willie Smith gave her varsity playing time.

Bouncing up from the JV team as a swing player her sophomore season, she didn’t enter her first game as a varsity player until the second half, yet still poured in 18.

“Coach Smith put me in during the third quarter, scared out of my mind for sure,” Pettit said. “I will never forget that game. From then on, I was a starter on varsity.”

Teaming with Zenovia Barron to form a formidable scoring duo, Pettit faced down considerable talent to lead the Wolves to state during her senior season in 1997-1998.

While Lakewood and King’s provided huge obstacles, the biggest might have come in the game that sent the Wolves to the Big Dance.

Facing off with Bellevue Christian — the same school Coupeville plays tonight in a district playoff game — Pettit found herself matched up with Cathrine Kraayeveld, now in her 11th season in the WNBA.

Despite giving up considerable height — Pettit was five-foot-nine and Kraayeveld is listed at 6-3 these days — the feisty Wolf held her own and a photo of her being swept up in a post-game hug by mom Julia anchored the Whidbey News-Times coverage of the game.

It is a moment she holds dear.

“My mom came to watch after work. She was so so proud of me,” Pettit said. “The photographer was there at the perfect moment.”

To get to that moment, and all the times she sparkled on the hardwood, Pettit put in considerable time working on her game.

If she had a chance to play, she seized it. Always.

“I played basketball year round. Sometimes I practiced twice a day,” she said. “I had a lot to learn, and skills to develop. I wanted basketball to take me someplace.

“Coupeville was small, still is, but I wanted to experience the sport at another level.”

It was a dream she lived out, playing ball for Peninsula College for two seasons, followed by a stint with York College in Nebraska while she attended Concordia University for fine arts.

Her time at Concordia, followed by the Art Institute of Portland, where she graduated in Design Visualization, led to her current work as a 3D artist.

No matter where she has been, or what work she’s pursuing, basketball has always been there for her.

After countless 3-on-3 tourneys and rec league action (once playing on three different teams at the same time), she is not playing as often as she approaches 35, but, when she does, she still comes full-tilt.

“I have been able to work hard, in work, in life with my dedications I learned through sports,” Pettit said. “I am a competitor. This world is full of competition, everywhere! It is a competition just to merge onto the freeway.

“Basketball itself made me who I am today.”

She’s also seen the game from the other side, coaching a JV girls’ basketball team for two years and handing down the lessons she learned to young players on her rec league teams.

“I want to coach again in the future. My heart will always be with the sport of basketball,” Pettit said.

“I always give the best advice I can while I play and when I coach,” she added. “I feel like now, I coach still with the younger 20’s ladies I play with.”

One of her favorite players, all-time hoops great Sheryl Swoopes, was featured in a Nike ad with the quote “Basketball is basketball, athletes are athletes.”

It is a quote Pettit believes deeply in.

“I always told my girls that. It is easy to get intimidated, and it is easy to intimidate,” Pettit said. “Believe me, there are girls who want to do just that. Always remember it’s basketball.

“She is an athlete just like you. No matter how tall, how fast. Next, the offensive player always has the advantage, and know it,” she added. “Finally, cherish every game like it is your last.

“High school seems like an eternity, but man, basketball was awesome then, love the game.”

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