Sports

Wolfpack returns solid core to the hardwood

Looking at his roster, Coupeville girls basketball head coach Greg Oldham likes what he sees.

“We have a very solid core of players coming back,” he said.

The Wolves return eight varsity athletes, including four starters, from last year’s 14-8 team that finished second in the Northwest A league and missed making the state tournament by one point. A 45-44 heartbreaking loss to Forrest Ridge was the only thing that separated the Wolves from a third straight trip to the state tournament.

“We have high expectations this year, especially after the disappointment at the end of last season,” Oldham said.

Leading the list of returners is last year’s leading scorer, 6-foot-1-inch post Lexie Black.

Black, who averaged 11.8 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks a game, could come back a more polished player this season after attending college coaching legend Pete Newell’s Tall Women’s Camp in California over the summer.

“She’s done a lot of work in the off-season,” Oldham said.

CHS also expects to be strong at its guard positions.

The Wolves return both of last year’s starting guards in second-leading scorer Whitney Clark and Taniel Lamb. Both players had just shy of 80 assists last season.

“Last year our back court was very inexperienced — it’s a senior group now,” Oldham said. “Something magical tends to happen between junior and senior years.”

The teams' other starter, junior forward Brittany Black, led the Wolves in three-point percentage and free throw percentage.

Other varsity players returning include senior Heather Davis and juniors Beth Mouw, Courtney Williams and Corrin Skvarla.

Coupeville will also get a boost from someone not on its roster last season. Senior Janiece Jenkins transferred from Oak Harbor to CHS last year, but due to rules had to sit out a full season before she could play.

Oldham expects her to come in and contribute to the Wolves right away.

“She’s another one that brings a lot of experience to the court,” he said.

The Northwest A/B will have a different feel to it this year.

For the past four years the Wolves had to duke out the league championship with Archbishop Thomas Murphy. With the Wildcats' move to 2A this season one large obstacle was removed. Kings, a powerhouse from the Emerald City league, also moved up a class, opening a door at the district tournament.

“Two of the big dogs are out of the way,” Oldham said.

Although some of the tougher opponents are gone, Oldham still expects the league to provide a challenge this year from top to bottom — especially with the addition of three quality B schools.

“In past years I’ve guessed the top finishers no problem,” he said. “This year we just look at the teams and can’t tell where any of them are going to fall.”

The first place finisher automatically moves on to the state tournament. The loser will have to battle through a four-team tournament to nab the final spot.

Coupeville tips off its season at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 30 at home against 3A South Whidbey.

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