Wolves clinch Northwest A title with win at Orcas

The Coupeville boys basketball team and their fans used the long ferry trip home from Orcas Island to celebrate clinching the 2001 Northwest A League title.

“The guys were pretty excited, pretty pumped up,” said head coach Randy King about the 61-44 victory over the Vikings on Tuesday. “We had a big crowd come up and everyone’s happy with the title.”

The trip turned into a mini-celebration as everyone brought food and a spread was laid out on the boat for the champions and their fans.

“It was a great trip,” said King. “On the way home we kind of took over the third floor on the ferry and had a little potluck. It was loaded with Coupeville folks. Hopefully they can keep following us at district.”

The Wolves overcame a slow start against Orcas and had to use a 19-9 third quarter run to clinch the league crown with two games to play.

“We had to fight our way back,” said King. “It had a little drama. We played well on defense and had to adjust our offense. The kids came through and I’m really happy for the team.”

The Wolves began the contest slowly, at one point trailing by eight in the first quarter before ending the period down 17-12. According to King, the fired-up Vikings came out in a defense intent on stopping the inside game of senior Chris Good and the outside shooting of junior Brad Sherman.

“They had a guy on Chris and they had a guy on Brad, plus Chris got into foul trouble,” he said. “That didn’t help because he is so important to our game.”

After the first quarter, Coupeville settled down, first on defense and then on offense. The Wolves held Orcas to six points in the second quarter and went into halftime tied 23-23. The team used the half to make some offensive adjustments that worked in the third quarter.

The Wolves came out strong in the third behind the inside/outside play of Good and junior guard Casey Clark. Good scored 7 of his game-high 15 points in the third, while Clark hit two three-pointers to help Coupeville pull away.

“Casey hit a couple of daggers,” said King. “He hit those three’s in transition and that forced them to have to come out and guard us.”

After pulling away by 10 in the third quarter, the Wolves outscored the second-place Vikings 19-12 in the final period to post a 17-point win. Coupeville beat Orcas by five at home in their first meeting.

“(Orcas) came out hard and attacked the basket,” said King. “They were very quick and athletic, but we’re playing better right now. We only had seven turnovers. The teams in this league are trying to figure out ways to stop us. When we have a good inside-outside game going it’s hard to do.”

The Wolves might have secured the league crown at Orcas but they still had two league games left to play. Yesterday the squad faced LaConner (results will be published in Wednesday’s edition of the News-Times), while on Tuesday they travel to Archbishop Murphy. King praised his squad and set one more goal for them to accomplish in the regular season.

“I just have a bunch of special kids,” he said. “It has to be a pretty special group to win the first title in about 25 years. It would be nice to go undefeated in league.”

With the victory, Coupeville earned a first-round bye in the upcoming tri-district tournament. The Wolves’ first game will be on Feb. 14 at Mountlake Terrace High School where they will take on the winner of a first-round game between the Emerald City League third-place team and the Chinook League third-place team. King isn’t too worried about the nine- day layoff.

“I’m not too concerned right now, maybe after this week,” he said. “We’re not dealing with any injuries right now, so that isn’t a worry. We work hard and have fun at practice. Our second team doesn’t get to play much in games, but they work hard and push the first team in practice. That’s how we’re getting better.”

King and his squad are going to savor the Wolves first league championship in quite a long time.

“It’s been a while,” he said. We’re pretty much certain that this is the first league title since the mid- 70’s. Might be about 25 years. Hopefully the next one won’t take as long.”

Coupeville 61, Orcas Island 44

At Orcas Island H.S.

Coupeville 12 11 19 19 61

Orcas Island 17 6 9 12 44

Coupeville: Clark 12, Sherman 10, Meek 4, Hageman 14, Callahan 6, Good 15. Orcas Island: Plaister 10, Jos. Gage 6, Cline 1, Clark 15, Jor. Gage 10, Johnson 2. 3-point goals: Clark 2, Sherman 2, Meek 1, Clark 3, Jor. Gage 2. Records: Coupeville 8-0 in league, 14-4 overall. Orcas Island 6-2, 10-4.

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