La Conner stuns Coupeville boys on home court

Looks of dejection spread up and down the Coupeville bench as the final buzzer rang out Friday night.

The Wolves realized their 52-34 loss to La Conner meant a golden opportunity just slipped through their hands.

“Who knows, maybe it was us not playing for a week, but mostly it was just them,” CHS head coach Randy King said of the Braves.

Playing its final home game in front of a packed gym, Coupeville had a chance to secure second place in the Northwest A and guarantee the program’s first trip to the Tri-District tournament since 2002.

Instead, the Wolves generated their lowest point total of the season, placing themselves in a must-win situation last night at first-place Friday Harbor (13-0, 18-2).

“We’ve just got to do it on Tuesday (Feb. 14) since we couldn’t do it tonight,” King said.

Last night’s outcome occurred too late for print, but the scenario was simple. If Coupeville beat Friday Harbor, they finished at 10-4 in league and one game ahead of La Conner for second place and the final district berth.

A loss, coupled with a likely La Conner win over last-place Concrete (0-13, 0-19), and there is no playoffs for the Wolves. In that scenario both teams have the same record, but the Braves own a tiebreaker over the Wolves because they took two regular season matchups.

King knows his team could have avoided the tough situation with a win Friday, but said it was just one of those games.

“It’s funny, the ball didn’t seem to bounce to us,” he said. “We’d check shots and then the ball went back to them...they put up shots and we blocked out and somebody still got it.”

But King was also aware it was La Conner’s game plan that presented major problems.

“They just played fantastic basketball,” he said. “We thought patience was going to be key for us offensively, but we ended up playing defense for two or three minutes a possession and playing offense for 20 or 30, (seconds) sometimes less.”

Behind a suffocating defense, La Conner took away Coupeville’s usually potent three-point attack and challenged everything else the Wolves put up. CHS hit just 12-of-46 shots (26 percent) overall and 2-of-18 (11 percent) of its three-pointers.

The Braves carried a marginal 19-14 lead at halftime, but exploded over the first seven minutes of the second half. La Conner outscored the Wolves 16-4, hitting its first six shots.

Down 35-20 headed to the fourth quarter, Coupeville got within 10 points once, but got no closer.

The Braves’ balanced scoring attack was led by senior Bryce Watkinson with 14 points. Josh Oosterhof and Ryan Coonc each had 13.

Wolfpack senior Mike Bagby had 14 points and senior J.J. Marti had 11, including all six of Coupeville’s third quarter points.

Results from last night’s game at Friday Harbor will be in the Saturday edition of the News-Times. In the event of a win, Coupeville will play in the first round of the Tri-District tournament against the fourth place Emerald City League team at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23 at La Conner High School.

La Conner 12 7 16 17 — 52

Coupeville 7 7 6 14 — 34

Scoring: Coupeville - Bagby 14, Marti 11, O’Keefe 5, Larson 2, Miller 2. La Conner - Watkinson 14, Coonc 13, Oosterhof 13, Kellerman 6, Kennedy 3, Thostenson 2, Melisek 1.

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