Coupeville girls squeak by Hurricanes

The Coupeville girls basketball struck early, jumping out to an 11-4 first quarter lead and then holding on for a 39-37 victory over Mount Vernon Christian on Tuesday night.

With the victory, the Wolves remained undefeated and ended the Hurricanes’ regular-season winning streak that lasted almost two years. Last year MVC went 21-0 in the regular season.

“I knew this was going to be a tough matchup,” said Wolves’ head coach Greg Oldham. “They are one of the best B schools in the state.”

Leading the way for the Wolves for the second straight contest was senior guard Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby. She led the team with 17 points in a 52-49 win over Overlake last week, and totalled a game-high 16 points against the Hurricanes. According to Oldham, many of her buckets came at key times.

“For the last two games Ashley has shown great senior leadership,” said Oldham. “Whenever we have needed a key bucket she has been producing. Everytime MVC pulled to within four she would step up and get it done and move the lead back to six.”

Oldham was also pleased with the play of a trio of post players: seniors Sarah Mouw and Tracy Taylor and sophomore Vanessa Davis. The three combined for 18 points and 13 boards and gave the Wolves a solid presence in the paint.

“It was a hard game to pick out individuals, everyone came in and contributed, especially in the post,” he said. “Sarah Mouw gives us a dimension we didn’t have last year. Whenever we need a key bucket down low we can get the ball to her.

“Vanessa (Davis) has really stepped up her game,” Oldham said. She’s one of the most coachable kids I’ve been around. Her game has improved so much since last year, while Tracy (Taylor) gave us some key points and key boards.“

The Wolves have worked on improving their inside game. With the addition of Sarah Mouw and the play of Davis and Taylor, the team doesn’t have to heavily depend on a perimeter game like last season.

“Last year we were very perimeter orientated,” said Oldham. “This year we like to mix it up. We still run plays for our outside shooters but we can go inside more.”

Coupeville jumped out early and led by nine at halftime, but Mount Vernon Christian came back in the second half and slowly chipped away at the Wolves lead. A couple of baskets in the final seconds drew the Hurricanes within two at the end, but Oldham was never sweating the outcome.

“We kept about a six point lead until the end,” he said. “The end wasn’t really that close. They hit a wild three, fouled us, we made one shot and then they went down and hit a two at the buzzer. I really wasn’t worried about the last 30 seconds.”

Both squads played solid defense, with the Wolves forcing MVC into 27 turnovers, while neither team was able to find a rhythm in the half-court offense. According to Oldham, the Wolves didn’t take as many shots as he would have liked, one more reason for the low-scoring affair.

“I was surprised that the game was that low-scoring because both teams pressed and we both like to run,” he said. “Good pressure defense and good half-court defense forced both teams to use a lot of the shot clock.”

Oldham was happy to escape the Skagit Valley College gym with a victory over the Hurricanes, who dropped to 4-1 with the loss.

“This might be the kiss of death for them, but I think they are one of the top three B schools in the state,” he said. “It was a quality win over a quality opponent.”

The Wolves hosted Sequim last night and then face longtime rival Darrington on Tuesday. Oldham expects a good game against the Loggers.

“I’m happy with the start we have gotten off to,” he said. “Darrington should be a real fun game.”

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