Wolves cruise by Granite Falls, nip King's

Jason Bagby(14) hits the game winner against Kings. - Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times
Jason Bagby(14) hits the game winner against Kings.
— image credit: Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times

One was stress free, the other a nail-biter – and they added up to a pair of wins for the Coupeville High School boys basketball team.

After dispatching host Granite Falls 67-56 in a cruise-control win Friday night, the Wolves came back Saturday to nip visiting King’s 65-64 in a heart-stopper.

The wins pushed Coupeville’s league record to 3-1 and its season mark to 8-2. CHS will entertain Archbishop Murphy Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m.

After a loss to Cedarcrest last Tuesday, Coupeville coach Randy King said his club worked on cleaning up its offensive execution this week in practice, and the effort paid off against Granite Falls. He said, “We were in control early; we were much more efficient in our offense.”

Post Hunter Hammer again dominated the paint with 20 points. Jason Bagby took care of the perimeter offense by sinking four 3-pointers and finishing with 16 points. Tim Walstad added eight points, Chad Brookhouse seven, Tyler King five, JD Wilcox four, Erik King two and Ben Hayes two.

King’s, a perennial state power, was tabbed by the Cascade Conference coaches as the preseason favorite to win the league title. The Knights entered the Coupeville game with a 3-0 league record, which included a 39-point win over Granite Falls, and a 6-2 season record. The two losses came in a four-game holiday tournament in California.

King’s and Coupeville traded leads throughout the first two quarters. Wilcox finished the half with two buckets to put the Wolves up 28-25 at the break. He started the second half with another hoop, and after teammate Ian Smith scored, the Wolves led 32-25 in what would be the biggest lead of the game by either team.

At that point, the Knights’ Ryan Hoff decided to join the party. The returning, first-team all-league guard, under the defense of Wilcox, rarely shot in the first half and was scoreless. In 50 seconds Hoff hit two 3’s and drove to the hoop for another bucket, and suddenly King’s was back in the lead 33-32 at the six-minute mark of the third quarter. No team led by more than three until the game’s final two minutes.

The two teams were last tied at 58 with 2:18 left. Hammer, who spent the night cleaning up the offensive glass after Coupeville misses, snared one of his seven offensive rebounds and muscled it back in to give the Wolves a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Moments later Wilcox stripped the ball from the Knights’ point guard and was fouled. He sank both free throws and it was 62-58.

Hoff answered with another 3 (he was six for eight from beyond the arc and finished with 21 second-half points) to make it 62-61 with 1:08 to go.

Thing got dicey when the Wolves turned the ball over, but the Knights kicked it right back with 38 seconds left. Bagby hit a floater in the lane with 20 seconds remaining, then was fouled after another Knight turnover and hit the second of two free throws. It was now 65-61 with 11.9 seconds left.

King’s wasn’t finished. Daniel Cheledinas, who finished with a game-high 24 points, drained a three, and the Knight’s fouled Bagby after the inbounds pass with 1.8 seconds left.

Both Bagby’s free throws missed the mark, but Huff’s desperation heave at the end flew over the backboard and the Wolves celebrated.

Wilcox, often driving into the teeth of the defense to score in the lane, led Coupeville with 19 points. Hammer finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Bagby tacked on 15 points, Smith seven, Walstad six, Brookhouse two and Erik King two.

In all, Coupeville hit 19 of 29 free throws, 12 out of 16 in the fourth quarter. Wilcox was seven of eight in the final period. King’s was 17-25 at the line.

Coach King said, “We obviously made some mistakes, but we made enough good plays to win the game.

“Offensively, we did a good job working together. The kids did a good job communicating to each other what was open.”

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