SW hands Coupeville girls' first loss of the season

Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby looks to drive to the hoop in the Wolves’ 47-39 loss to the South Whidbey Falcons last Friday night. Ellsworth-Bagby led  Coupeville in scoring with 14 points, including two three-pointers. - Matt Moss
Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby looks to drive to the hoop in the Wolves’ 47-39 loss to the South Whidbey Falcons last Friday night. Ellsworth-Bagby led Coupeville in scoring with 14 points, including two three-pointers.
— image credit: Matt Moss

It was a game of missed opportunities for the Coupeville girls basketball team last Friday against South Whidbey.

The Wolves had plenty of chances to up their record to 7-0 and beat their rivals to the south for the second year in a row, but poor shooting proved to be the deciding factor in a 47-39 loss to the Falcons.

"We came out really flat,” said Coupeville head coach Greg Oldham after the game. “The layoff may have been a part of it, but they had the same layoff that we did so that's no excuse."

The Falcons raced out to a 9-4 first period lead when they hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. The Wolves began the second period strong defensively. They forced South Whidbey into several turnovers, but where unable to capitalize on the easy shot attempts that resulted. It was to be a reoccurring theme throughout the game for Coupeville.

"So much of what we do is sparked off of making easy shots and layups off the press and fast break,” Oldham said. “We got a lot of those shots tonight, they just didn't fall."

Coupeville made a brief run in the second. Senior guard Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby scored on a layup. On the team’s next possession, junior Amy Mouw was fouled and sank two free throws to make the score 17-14. The Falcons regained their momentum when they hit another three-pointer at the buzzer to enter halftime with a 20-14 lead.

Many of the Wolves’ best moments came in the third quarter. They began the second half with a 6-0 run to take their first lead of the night at 21-20.

"Our energy level wasn't what it should be until the third quarter,” said Oldham. “We had a pretty nice run there to start the second half."

After Coupeville’s run to tie the game, both teams struggled to put the ball in the basket. South Whidbey regained the lead but the Wolves kept it close. A Vanessa Davis free throw near the end of the quarter tied the score at 29-29 entering the third.

The Falcons raced to a four-point lead to begin the final quarter, but Coupeville came charging back. Sarah Mouw grabbed an offensive rebound, made the shot and was fouled. She converted the free throw to bring the Wolves to within one at 33-32.

After a Falcon free throw, Ellsworth-Bagby nailed a huge three-pointer from the right wing to give Coupeville a one-point lead with five minutes left in the game. Her big shot looked to be the spark that the Wolves needed, but they couldn’t stretch the lead. The Falcons tightened up their defense and forced Coupeville into putting up hurried shots at the end of the shot clock.

"Their match-up zone was tough," said Oldham. "I was a little disappointed that when the shot clock was running down, no one wanted to make a play and step up and take the shot.”

South Whidbey regained the lead for good and then stymied Coupeville’s attempts to get back in the game. The Wolves couldn’t set up their offense due to a suffocating Falcon trap at the end of the game. South Whidbey steadily pulled ahead and was able to win the Whidbey Island battle by eight. Oldham took his team’s first loss in stride.

"Last year we beat them when they probably should have won,” he said. “This year they beat us when we should have won. I guess the basketball gods have balanced the ledgers."

The Wolves didn’t have an answer for top Falcon scorer Hilary Wick. The 6-foot-1 senior paced everyone with 24 points, including 12 in the decisive fourth quarter.

"Hillary Wick is so tough because she can beat you so many different ways,” said Oldham. “She just killed us with some of those offensive rebounds tonight. She had 24 points and I bet most of those came off of her hustle."

Ellsworth-Bagby led Coupeville with 14 points, including two three-pointers.

The Wolves’ contest against South Whidbey was an opening round game in the annual South Whidbey Falcon Classic. With the loss, Coupeville faced Olympic, a 4A school from Silverdale, in the consolation game the next day. (Results will be published in Saturday’s edition of the News-Times).

The squad begins Northwest A league play on Friday when it hosts Friday Harbor. Tipoff is at 4 p.m.

South Whidbey 47, Coupeville 39

At South Whidbey H.S.

Coupeville – 4 10 15 10 – 39

S. Whidbey – 9 11 9 18 – 47

Coupeville: A. Mouw 2, Ellsworth-Bagby 14, King 8, Taylor 4, Davis 1, S. Mouw 10. S.Whidbey: Russell 2, Robinson 7, Hussey 1, Iddins 2, Dumke 3, Poolman 6, Wick 24, Tobler 2. 3-point goals: Ellsworth 2, King, Robinson, Dumke. Records: Coupeville 0-0 in league, 6-1 overall. S. Whidbey 0-5, 3-5.

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