When the Coupeville High School girls basketball team begins district tournament play Saturday, it will enter in an unaccustomed role — underdog.
The Wolves aren’t the only local team competing in the postseason this weekend. The Oak Harbor High School swim and dive team gets its first taste of the playoffs as it heads to the district meet in Snohomish, and the Wildcat wrestling team battles in the second round of its climb to the state finals when it rumbles in the regional meets at Edmonds-Woodway and Sedro-Woolley.
The past three seasons Coupeville entered the playoffs as the Olympic League champion and one of the tournament favorites.
This year the Wolves finished second in the conference and with an 8-13 record.
One of the losses was to Bellevue Christian, 51-29, Dec. 16 in a non-league game.
The two teams meet again in the play-in, loser-out round of the district tournament at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, in Coupeville.
The winner moves on to the four-team, double elimination portion of the tournament which begins Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Bremerton High School.
Beating Bellevue Christian (12-8) will be a tall order for the Wolves. Not only did Coupeville lose handily in the first meeting, but it will be challenging the Vikings without three players who started in that game. Leading scorer Mikayla Elfrank is out for the season with an injury, Sarah Wright has another commitment and a third player has since left the team. In addition, starter Lindsey Roberts has already missed two days of practice this week with an illness.
Going in as the underdog will motivate the Wolves, according to senior Kyla Briscoe.
“If anything, it will make us want it all the more,” she said. “It will make us rise to the occasion, especially for this group of girls who are super competitive.”
After watching the film of the first game with Bellevue Christian, Briscoe said Coupeville needs to cut down on its turnovers and do a better job in defensive rotation. She is confident those mistakes will be corrected this time around because the team has vastly improved in those areas as the season progressed.
Coach David King added that his club will need to improve its interior defense and shooting to flip the outcome Saturday.
Although Coupeville didn’t win the league title this year, King is happy with how his club battled through its personnel issues.
“I am very pleased with what we did with what we had,” he said. “This has been one of our better seasons.”
Fourteen Oak Harbor wrestlers advanced out of last weekend’s sub-regional tournament to compete in the regionals Friday and Saturday.
Thirteen boys will go to Edmonds-Woodway; action begins at
5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, and 10 a.m. Saturday.
The top four in each weight class earn a trip to the state tournament.
Oak Harbor will send one girl, Elizabeth Clairmont, to the regional tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at Sedro-Woolley High School. The first four in each weight head to state.
Swim and Dive
Oak Harbor goes to the Snohomish Aquatic Center for the district meet. The swimming preliminaries are 5:15 p.m. Friday, and the finals begin at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The top four in each event and those who earn qualifying times advance to the state meet.