Sports, like music, transcends all boundaries.
The Coupeville High School girls basketball team discovered that when it faced Flinders Christian Community College Saturday, Dec. 2, at South Whidbey High School.
Flinders, a team from Australia, is touring the Pacific Northwest during its off season.
Coupeville, coming off a 35-30 loss to visiting Mount Vernon Christian Friday, picked up its first win of the season after losing three straight.
The win, however, took a back seat to the experience the Wolves gained from meeting the players from Down Under.
“Yes, it was a basketball game — someone was going to win and someone lose,” Coupeville coach David King said. “But meeting others from the other side of the world and having both sides come out of it like they were long-lost friends was great to see.
“Our plan was to leave after our game. Some of the girls asked about staying and watching the boys game. Of course we couldn’t turn that down, so we stayed for the first half. (We) sat with the Flinders girls team, and I’m not sure how much actual game watching was going on, but the conversations never stopped.”
King added that it was an unforgettable experience and his players asked if they could “do something like this every year.”
Coupeville 42, Flinders 34
Both teams had a reason to be sluggish.
It was Coupeville’s fourth game in six days, including playing the previous evening and then starting this game at 11 a.m.
Flinders Christian arrived in the U.S. at 6 p.m. Friday night after an 18-hour flight.
The visitors shook off the jet lag and zipped to a 12-6 first-quarter lead.
The game turned in the second quarter. Lindsey Roberts scored 6 points and Ema Smith, in her first start, added four and the Wolves led 21-17 at the half. Kyla Briscoe helped ignite her club by beating the Flinders’ pressure defense for a layup.
Smith drilled a three-ball and four other Wolves scored in the third period as Coupeville went up 31-24 going into the fourth period.
The Wolves led by 10 at one point, Flinders sliced the gap to 2, then Coupeville finished strong for the win.
King suited up 11 players for the game and all saw ample minutes. Scout Smith, like Ema Smith, made her first start, and Nicole Laxton and Chelsea Prescott both saw their first varsity action.
Roberts finished with a career high 12 points and added seven rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.
Mikayla Elfrank scored 8 points, Sarah Wright 7, Ema Smith 7, Kalia Littlejohn 4 and Kyla Briscoe 4.
Littlejohn also had five steals, and she and Briscoe each had three assists. Elfrank grabbed five rebounds.
“Ema had a great game,” King said. “(She) knocked down three jumpers and had some well-placed passes (three assists).”
Wright snagged eight rebounds and made several nice offensive plays in the post, according to King, including beating a defender who had a four-inch height advantage with a savvy move.
Littlejohn softened the defense by attacking the rim for a bucket, according to King.
A good day at the foul line helped the Wolves. Hurt in the first three games by poor free-throw shooting, Coupeville hit eight of 13 in the win.
Mount Vernon Christian 35, Coupeville 30
The Hurricanes outscored Coupeville 14-6 in the fourth quarter to win a game that was close throughout.
The Wolves made only two of 12 foul shots in the fateful fourth period and just five of 19 for the game. MVC was 10-for-19.
Down 9-7 going into the second period, Coupeville began the quarter on an 8-0 run to go up 15-9. Wright scored four of the points, the second bucket coming off a pin-point pass from Elfrank.
Mount Vernon Christian closed the quarter with two three-pointers and trailed by one, 15-14, at the break.
Coupeville led 23-21 heading into the fourth period.
Elfrank guided the Wolves in the game with 9 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and two assists.
Littlejohn had 5 points, Briscoe 2 and both had three steals.
Roberts finished with 5 points, and Ema Smith and Wright had 4 each.
Coupeville (1-3) hosts Sequim (0-0) at 5:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8.