Coupeville boys cold + Nooksack Valley hot = Wolves done

Each time the ball would dance a little jig on the rim and then jump off, Coupeville could see its basketball season slowly sinking away.

The cold-shooting Coupeville boys year came to a torturous end when visiting Nooksack Valley defeated the Wolves 70-47 Tuesday in the loser-out first round of the district tournament.

Time-after-frustrating-time Coupeville would have a good shot roll out. The frustration was compounded when Nooksack Valley seeming couldn’t miss. Each trip up-and-back on the floor was another reenactment of the Wolves’ tragedy.

It was a sad ending to an outstanding season. The 1A Wolves ended the year with a 16-5 record and finished second in the Cascade Conference, ahead of six 2A schools.

Nooksack Valley upped its season record to 11-10 and will go to Meridian Thursday to continue district play.

The Pioneers hit seven of their first nine shots and connected on both its free throws. Meanwhile Coupeville sank only one of its first 10 from the field and added two foul shots. With just under two minutes left in the first period the Wolves were already behind by 12, 16-4.

With three minutes left in the half, Nooksack upped its lead to 33-16 and it appeared it was on the cusp of blowing the Wolves away. Coupeville, however, had its one run of the game and finished the second period by scoring the last seven points of the quarter. Hunter Hammer started the string with a free throw, J.D. Wilcox drained a jumper, Tyler King dropped in two free throws, then Wilcox struck again at the buzzer.

Coupeville went in the locker room down 10, 33-23, but it also had the momentum.

It didn’t last long. The Pioneers started the third quarter on a 10-2 run and snuffed out any Coupeville hopes.

By the end of the period Nooksack led 52-33 and won going away.

The Wolves were 0-7 from three-point range in the first half and 7-26 on 2s, for a dismal 7-33 and 21 percent.

Coach Randy King said, “I thought we rushed some shots early. I would have liked to see us be more patient.”

The Pioneers hit 14-27 in the first half, 52 percent.

Thing didn’t improve much in the second half. Coupeville connected on two of 13 on treys and 7-24 from within the arc for 9-37 and 24 percent. That added up to 16-70 for the game, 23 percent.

Nooksack finished 26-48 for the game, 54 percent.

In a statistical oddity, Coupeville lost by 23 points in a game they took 22 more shots than the winner. The Wolves earned those extra shots by grabbing 12 offensive rebounds and committing only six turnovers. Five of the turnovers came in the frantic fourth period when the Wolves were rushing to get back in the game.

One impressive element of Coupeville’s game that didn’t show up on the stat sheet was its desire. Regardless of the score, the Wolves hustled and harassed, and as the shots continued to rim out, they worked that much harder to get more opportunities.

Hammer was the leading scorer for Coupeville with 14 points. Jason Bagby netted 12, and Tim Walstad, whose work inside during the rough third period helped keep the Wolves from being chased out of the gym, finished with 10.

Wilcox scored five points, and Smith, Tyler King and Ben Hayes had two each.

Kyle Impero scored 26 points and had a half-dozen assists for Nooksack Valley.

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