Wolf girls claim title

The Coupeville Wolves are the undisputed champions of the Northwest A girls basketball league. Unofficially, at least.

Coupeville played Archbishop Murphy Thursday on a neutral court in LaConner. It was a playoff game of sorts, with the winner assured the number one seed in next week’s tri-district tournament and bragging rights to the league title, which officially they shared with identical regular schedule records.

Both schools entered the contest with 9-1 league records, each having provided the other with the only blemish on their win/loss card. The Wolves were aching for revenge, having lost to the Murphs by four earlier in the week.

As expected, the duel started out as a battle of Titans, with Coupeville nursing a one point lead at intermission. Then, something happened, because a different, more ferocious pack of Wolves came out snarling for round two.

“We came out with a set play to Ashley Bagby and she hit a three — it was her only points for the night. But it set the tone,” said coach Greg Oldham, who won his first league title in only his second year at the helm.

Inspired by Bagby’s trey, the Wolves switched from zone to relentless man-to-man defense, holding the Murphs to 5 points in the entire third quarter. Meanwhile, on offense, the Wolves poured in 15 of their own to take a commanding 11 point lead that they never relinquished, finally prevailing 50-39.

Archbishop Murphy kept it close in the first half by hounding Coupeville’s two leading scorers, Bagby and Brianne King. Bagby was held to 3 and King to a modest (for her) 12 points, but their teammates did what had to be done.

“The other players picked up the slack,” said Oldham. “Archbishop Murphy didn’t expect it.” You don’t win a championship with only two players, and when the need for scoring emerged Erica Lamb and Sarah Muow responded with 13 points apiece, while Amy Muow chipped in a valuable 8.

Oldham also credited his sixth man — the crowd in the stands. “We had a great crowd,” he said. “Even the band made the trip. We packed one whole side of the gym.”

Coupeville’s fans have plenty of action left this year. The Tri-District Tournament is in progress, but with the number one seed in hand the Wolves can watch and practice for a while. Their first action will be next Saturday, Feb. 16 at Mountlake Terrace. Game time is 8 p.m. and the opponent will be the winner of a game between Bellevue Christian and Bush.

Coupeville 50, AB Murphy 39

At LaConner

Coupeville 13 10 15 12 — 50

A. Murphy 11 11 5 12 - 39

Coupeville: Lamb 13, King 12, Taylor 1, S. Muow 13, A. Muow 8, Bagby 3

A. Murphy: Not available

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