After its defense staked it a good-sized lead, the Coupeville High School girls basketball team hung on tight at the end to secure 35-31 win at Lakewood Friday, Dec. 13.
The Wolves limited the Cougars to only 14 points through the first three quarters and took a 12-point lead into the final frame.
Lakewood rallied for 17 fourth-quarter points and sliced the gap to three with seven seconds left when Maddi Strasburg hit a free throw to lock up the win.
Coupeville used a full-court press and sticky man-to-man, half-court defense to frustrate the Cougars for three quarters. The defensive strategy slowed Lakewood and created numerous turnovers, according to Coupeville coach David King.
Hoops by Hailey Hammer, Julia Myers and Strasburg pushed the Wolves to a 6-4 first-quarter lead.
In the second quarter, Hammer produced two steals and Amanda Fabrizi, Bree Messner and Strasburg one each to haunt the Cougars. Makana Stone and Hammer scored four points apiece to lift the lead 16-10 going into the half.
The Coupeville offense picked up another 10 points in the third period, getting four from Stone and a nice bucket off on the press break from Strasburg to Hammer to Monica Vidoni.
Lakewood (0-2, 0-4) accelerated its pressure and began crashing the boards in the fourth quarter. The result was Coupeville turnovers and extra opportunities, which fueled the Cougars' comeback.
The Wolves also hurt themselves by shooting poorly at the line in the fourth.
Strasburg, however, hit the clincher to set the final score. Lakewood had two possessions in the last seven seconds but turned the ball over each time.
Not all was bad for Coupeville in the fourth. King liked the play of his offense: "We didn't rush our offense like we have in the past. Things are starting to click up and down the roster."
In recapping the game, King said, "We are sharing the ball really well on offense; on any given game someone new may step up and lead us. Our guards, led by Bree and Maddi when they are playing the point, have improved their decision making and are seeing the floor better."
He also praised the play of junior Myers, who hasn't played basketball since the eighth grade: "(She) is improving each day. She is asking all the right questions, and having her speed, jumping and willingness to learn are making us a better team."
Stone and Strasburg scored nine points each, Hammer had seven, Myers four, Messner two, Kacie Kiel two and Vidoni two.
Stone also collected 11 rebounds (seven on offense), five steals and three blocks.
Kiel added seven rebounds and four assists, and Messner grabbed four offensive rebounds.
Coupeville (1-1, 2-2) now hosts rival South Whidbey at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17. The Falcons (0-2, 1-5) picked up their first win Saturday, defeating Overlake 41-13.