Showing the mettle of a champion, the Coupeville High School girls basketball team overcame several hurdles to defeat Klahowya 29-23 Saturday, Jan. 6, in Silverdale.
The Wolves came into the weekend averaging only 34 points per game and without leading scorer Mikayla Elfrank and her 11-point average. Elfrank is out, possibly for the year, with an ankle injury.
Without Elfrank, Coupeville struggled on offense and lost 39-17 at North Mason in a non-league game Friday.
After returning late that evening, the Wolves had to jump back onto the ferry for the long trip to Silverdale the following afternoon.
Coupeville shook off the loss, Elfrank’s absence and the bus ride to win its first Olympic League game of the season, evening its conference record at 1-1 in its quest for its fourth consecutive championship.
The Wolves (1-1, 3-10) host Port Townsend (3-1, 5-6) at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9.
Coupeville 29, Klahowya 23
Coach David King called the Klahowya contest a “gut check game,” and his troops displayed their toughness.
It was, however, rugged early and the Wolves were hurt by turnovers, trailing 8-4 after the first quarter. Getting 5 points from Ema Smith, Coupeville took the lead, 13-12, at halftime.
“Somehow, someway we found a way to stay close through the first quarter and slowly chipped away to take the lead late in the second quarter,” King said.
His team’s resolve, he added, was displayed by Sarah Wright. The junior post muscled the ball away from three opponents for a “monster rebound” in the second period, according to King, igniting the Wolves.
The game remained close through the third quarter, and the Eagles led 18-17 heading into the fourth.
Then, “something clicked for us,” King said. “We came out with more fire, a confidence one could say. Our energy was at its highest throughout the fourth.
“We threw on a press and created havoc, got some turnovers and got them to speed up.”
Lindsey Roberts converted two free throws to give the Wolves a 21-20 lead. After a steal, a nice screen by Wright allowed Kyla Briscoe to attack the hoop and then dish to Roberts for a three-ball that let the “air out of Klahowya,” according to King.
Moments later, Wright screened again to open up Briscoe for a jumper to put the game away.
“Everyone had better games than last night,” King said. “It was a game to see what we were made of, and we found a way. It was a well-deserved win by and for the players. They battled the whole night.”
One of the keys to the win was being aggressive on offense and getting to the foul line, King said. The Wolves earned 25 free throws, hitting 12. The Eagles were 6-for-8 at the line.
King noted that Smith help keep them in the game with three makes in the second period, then Chelsea Prescott and Roberts combined to go 6-for-8 in the fourth period to help cement the win.
King praised the defensive work of Allison Wenzel: “Allison is a hard-nosed defender and at times we matched her up with Amber (Bumbalough), who can shoot the deep three and get to the basket.” The Klahowya sharp-shooter tallied with only 5 points.
Roberts finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. Briscoe, Smith and Wright all scored 5 points, and Prescott 3.
Wright grabbed seven rebounds, while Briscoe and Smith had five each; Briscoe added three steals.
Scout Smith did not score but “had energy and brought heart to the court,” King said.
North Mason 39, Coupeville 17
“Not pretty,” King said. “We didn’t compete on the offensive end. Just not seeing open teammates, and our passing led to a very high number of turnovers.”
The Bulldogs led 10-4, 20-12 and 37-16 at the quarters, and neither team did much in the fourth when North Mason outscored Coupeville 2-1.
“Defensively in the first half I was pleased,” King said. “Despite our offensive woes, our defense kept us within striking distance” in the first two quarters.
Overall, “Kyla did a great job getting deflections and getting some steals, Sarah had a strong game on offense for us and Chelsea played well on both ends of the court.”
Only three Wolves scored: Wright, 8; Prescott, 7; and Roberts, 2. Roberts added six rebounds, and Briscoe collected four steals.