Wolves look big on the inside

"With the bite of winter hitting the island it must mean that sports will start to come indoors for the boys at Coupeville. One such athlete is quarterback Noah Roehl who led the football team to within one game of the championship. Now Roehl has another shot at a league title, this time in basketball. The first week is usually kind of rough because a lot of the guys have been playing and I haven't, said Roehl. Once I get back in the groove of things and switch gears it gets pretty easy.Last year the Wolves wound up the season in second place in their division - behind Darrington - with an overall mark of 14-12.It's always a struggle, admits head coach Randy King. Last year we were second in the league and we only lost two league games. Hopefully we can improve a little on that this year.King says that the team played well last year and hopes that the success is something that the Wolves can build on for this season. He also knows that with new players coming on, they will have to find their place on the squad and not break up the comradery built from the previous season.Every year you start with a new bunch of kids, said King. I think that one of the things that our kids did last year is that they worked together really well and they were pretty unselfish.One weapon that King is counting on is the potential size advantage that the team should have on the inside during league play. Assuming we get to the playoffs, where it all kind of evens out, we should be the biggest team on the interior in our league, said King.But with the size advantage, a loss of quickness is always a concern for any coach. I think our kids are going to be stronger than last year, said King. We may not be as quick overall but we have some good quick players. I think we are still going to be able to work the ball up and down the court really quickly. King is looking to his returning seniors, Ty Blouin, Pat Bennett and Roehl to lead on the floor and play hard. I think that the leadership role is distributed among all the seniors on the team, said Bennett. And I think we all kind of gather and teach through our actions. I guess it kind of brings out the best in all of us to have a winning season.But the coach knows to be successful he needs the team to work together and to incorporate his younger kids into the mix.All three started (last year) and Pat was all-league last year so we will be expecting a lot from him, said King. One of the strengths on our team, aside from really good senior leadership, we have a really dedicated and strong group of juniors. A couple of our kids were all-stars at camps that they went to this summer.One thing that King is impressed with is the work ethic of all the players and how they play the game together. They are not afraid to work hard and play hard, said King. They really like each other.The coach is confident that his squad can challenge other teams in the league this season for the title, but he knows it wont be easy.I think all the teams pose problems because they try to beat you every night you play them, said King. Friday Harbor returns a really good player from their team last year and they'll have a couple of kids back, La Conner always does a great job of competing with us. Darrington is returning league champions and they have great program year after year. I think those will be the main group that will challenge for the championship. King is confident that the team will be physically ready for the season despite some of the usual sprained ankles. But the preparedness of the team goes well beyond being physically fit for the upcoming season. I think a lot of kids grew a lot this last year, especially our juniors, said King. They had a successful football season and some of them gained a lot of confidence there and the kids have been working hard in the weight room and they love to play.The coach knows how important his job will be this year if the team is to achieve the goals he has set forth. But the biggest thing that King wants is for the kids to gain more than just Ws.I try to coach with the philosophy that individual kids are the most important thing that we have out here, said King. Every one of them is important. I think there are always great lessons, you face great challenges, people trying to beat you, and I just love the thrill of competition. But I hope our kids learn to accept those thrills with dignity, and that helps them be good people. "

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