Hunter Smith earned first-team, all-league honors in 2016 for Coupeville. (Photo by John Fisken)

Hunter Smith earned first-team, all-league honors in 2016 for Coupeville. (Photo by John Fisken)

Winter prep preview / Coupeville boys basketball

The Coupeville High School boys basketball program hopes to find success with a recipe that mixes a new coach with a veteran team.

Brad Sherman, a 2003 Coupeville graduate, takes over at his alma mater and welcomes a squad that returns seven senior lettermen: Ariah Bepler, Hunter Downes, Joey Lippo, Kyle Rockwell, Ethan Spark, Hunter Smith and Cameron Toomey-Stout.

Smith, a guard, is a three-year letterman and returning first-team, all-conference player.

“He’s worked hard to become the player he is and impacts the game in a lot of different ways when he’s out there,” Sherman said.

Sherman lauded Spark’s dedication: “Ethan has been working really hard in the off-season – early mornings in the gym this fall were the norm for him, and he’s developed into a real threat from mid-range and beyond the arc.”

Sherman also likes Toomey-Stout’s effort: “Cameron just gives it everything each time he touches the court. His work ethic and hustle is unmatched, which will serve him well on the defensive side of the ball.”

A key newcomer, according to Sherman, is sophomore Jered Brown, who is a “strong ball handler and sees the court well.”

The team’s senior leadership is one of the Wolves’ strengths, Sherman said.

“Experience at the guard position is going to be big for us also,” he added. “Our intensity on defense has looked really strong this first week.”

The team’s biggest weakness is a “presence in the paint.”

“Our bigs are really working hard to develop in the post and focusing on playing tough around the rim,” Sherman said.

Other concerns, according to Sherman, are spacing and patience on offense.

As for goals for the season, Sherman said, “A continued growth mindset and a commitment to getting better every day we hit the court.

“Past that, in league play I think it goes without saying that the goal is to come out on top. For the guys, it really starts with them and the belief in what they can accomplish together.”

The first week of practice went well, Sherman said, and his team is working hard.

“Now it’s just keeping focused, executing our stuff and improving each day.”

Coupeville, which was 3-17 last year (3-6 and third place in the Olympic League), heads to Blaine (5-14) for the season opener at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29. The Wolves open at home against Mount Vernon Christian (12-12) at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1.

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