Coupeville High School picked a bad year to challenge its big neighbors to the north in boys basketball. Oak Harbor rolled past the Wolves 79-31 in the season opener Wednesday, Nov. 28, in Coupeville.
Nine years ago, the last time the two schools met, a talent-rich Coupeville club beat Oak Harbor 69-61.
Not this time. Oak Harbor, besides being a 3A school with more than 1,100 students, boasts a roster full of veteran players, including 11 seniors, three returning starters and seven lettermen.
1A Coupeville’s enrollment is about a quarter of Oak Harbor’s, and the Wolves have only one senior, no returning starters and just two players who logged extensive varsity minutes last year.
Also, one key Wolf, Gavin Knoblich, was injured and didn’t play, and starter Jered Brown was injured in the game and sat much of the second half.
All things considered, the Wildcats’ 48-point win should not elicit any “really!?” responses.
Oak Harbor coach John Weston said last week that his club’s lack of height would necessitate employing a high-pressure defense.
That strategy worked against the Wolves. A relentless Oak Harbor press harassed Coupeville into numerous mistakes as the Wildcats jumped to a 17-0 lead, with 9 points coming off turnovers. Dorian Hardin led the defense attack with five steals in the opening period.
The defensive assault continued throughout the game.
Oak Harbor led 20-6 after the first quarter, with Haven Brown tallying 9 points and Hardin 5. Brown dropped in a three-ball for the Wolves
The lead was 35-14 at halftime. Terrell drilled two from beyond the arc for Oak Harbor, and Ulrik Wells scored twice for the Wolves.
Oak Harbor exploded for 27 points in the third quarter, paced by Kevin Schuldt with 8 and Hardin with 6, pushing the lead to 62-26. Hawthorne Wolfe sank a pair of three-balls for Coupeville.
Crumpton added 11 points in the fourth quarter, including three from long range, as Oak Harbor outscored the Wolves 17-5.
All 10 Wildcats appeared in all four quarters and all scored.
Hardin and Crumpton finished with 17, Brown 13, Schuldt 8, Rielly Simmons 7, Austin Boesch 7, Andrew Baloy 4, Kyle Winfield 3, Evan Nadeau 2 and Matt Kelley 1.
Wolfe led Coupeville with 9 points, Sean Toomey-Stout had 7, Wells 6, Koa Davison 5, Brown 3 and Jacob Pilgrim 1.
Weston praised the defensive effort of his club, especially Hardin and Brown. He also liked the work of Kelley, who “battled inside and kept the ball alive.”
“It was a good first game,” he added. “I like how we finished (at the hoop) better in the second half.”
Coupeville coach Brad Sherman liked how his club handled the defeat.
“We didn’t hang our heads,” he said. “I never felt like we quit.”
“It looked like a first game with first-game mistakes against a good team,” Sherman added. “That is what non-league games are for. We have a large group of guys who never played together at this level before.”
Both teams play at home Saturday, Dec. 1.
Oak Harbor hosts Sedro-Woolley at 7:15 p.m., while Coupeville takes on Bush at 2:45 p.m.