Boys basketball: Foul-plagued Coupeville falls to La Conner

The Wolves were in a foul mood.

La Conner took advantage of 28 Coupeville fouls that resulted in 38 free throws as the Braves dropped the host Wolves 65-49 Tuesday, Dec. 28.

Mired in foul trouble early, the Wolves were forced to abandon their aggressive defense and the Braves took advantage by attacking the hoop. When Coupeville dropped into a zone, La Conner hit from long range.

The Wolves also were forced to sit starters who got into foul trouble, and their bench couldn't pick up the slack and failed to score in the game.

The Wolves led 17-14 when Ben Hayes went to the bench with three fouls with 4:59 left in the half. A minute later, he was joined by Ian Smith who also picked up his third foul.

La Conner went on a 7-1 run and Coupeville coach Randy King was forced to send Hayes and Smith back on the court.

The damage was done and the momentum swung in the Braves' favor and they never let up, leading 25-20 at the half and 45-31 at the end of three quarters.

Starters Hunter Hammer and Dalton Engle were also whistled for three first-half fouls.

Less than two minutes into the third quarter and Coupeville trailing 32-24, Hammer committed his fourth foul and sat until the beginning of the fourth quarter.

The Braves finished the quarter on a 10-2 run as Hayes and Smith each committed their fourth fouls.

Coupeville compounded their problems by not shooting well, hitting just 37 percent (17-for-45) from the field and 61 percent from the line (11-of-18).

The Wolves also had trouble consistently finding the 6-7 Hammer and 6-6 Hayes in the post against the pressing, scrappy defense of the Braves, who had no player taller than 6-1.

Hammer finished with 16 points (eight from the line) and pulled down 19 rebounds and blocked five shots.

Hayes, Smith and Tyler King each scored 10 points and Engle added three. Hayes collected seven rebounds and Engle six; Smith had three assists.

The loss could have been worse as La Conner (5-2) connected on only 19 of its 38 free throws.

Coupeville (0-3, 1-7) entertains rival South Whidbey (3-0, 7-2) Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m.

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