Sports

Winter prep preview | Coupeville boys basketball

The Coupeville High School boys basketball team has more experience and greater depth than the past few seasons. The question is, will that result in more wins?

The Wolves went winless in 2012 and picked up only one win last winter, but Coupeville should add more marks to the the victory column this season, according to coach Anthony Smith.

“In the past we came to play,” Smith said. “This year we will be more competitive. If the other teams look the wrong way, we will get them.”

“The kids will play hard. We just need to show up every night to play,” he added.

In order to be successful, the Wolves will need to make good decisions, which will cut down on turnovers, and play “organized chaos,” which should result in opponents’ turnovers and easy transition shots for the Wolves, Smith said.

Coupeville made progress in the off season and at camp, Smith said.

Coupeville returns five lettermen: posts Nick Streubel and Carson Risner (who is currently out with an injury), forward Anthony Bergeron, guard/forward Aaron Trumbull and guard Morgan Payne.

Key newcomers are guard/forwards Joel Walstad and Wiley Hesselgrave and transfer forward Matt Shank.

The Wolves don’t have great size -- Streubel is 6-4, Bergeron 6-3 and Shank 6-2 -- but the team jumps well, Smith said.

Bergeron, who was new to organized basketball last winter, “has made great strides,” Smith said.

The Wolves will be hurt by the loss of Ben Etzell, last year’s leading scorer, and Aaron Curtin, a two-year starter, who chose not to turn out.

Coupeville will get a “huge lift,” Smith said, when Gavin O’Keefe returns from a foot injury. O’Keefe, who started as a sophomore, broke his foot in the second game last season and then again this summer. He should be back after the first of the year, Smith said, and will give the Wolves a proven hall handler and scorer.

Until O’Keefe returns, the point position will be handled by committee, Smith said.

Another boost for the team, according to Smith, is the return of Coupeville graduate Jason Bagby to help coach after two years of playing college basketball. Bagby is working with the posts to improve the Wolves’ inside game.

Smith sees King’s and Archbishop Murphy as the teams to beat in the fight for the Cascade Conference crown.

He added, “South Whidbey is always respectable.”

Coupeville starts its season at Blaine at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Four straight home games follow, and the first is the league opener with Cedarcrest at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10.

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