Turnovers are a common theme so far this season for the Coupeville High School boys basketball team, and the mistakes undercut strong efforts in three recent losses.
The Wolves lost 57-24 at University Prep in Seattle Tuesday, Dec. 4; 74-25 at La Conner Thursday, Dec. 6; and 69-39 at home to Cedarcrest Friday, Dec. 7.
In addition to losing the trio of games, the Wolves also lost leader Gavin O’Keefe to a broken foot in the University Prep contest. In that game, the teams played to a 10-10 tie after one quarter, then O’Keefe went down.
Coach Anthony Smith said, “Once Gavin went out we became undisciplined.”
Smith said the Wolves “couldn’t score and couldn’t stop them” and were crippled by turnovers in the second quarter as the Pumas outscored Coupeville 22-5 to pull away.
The Wolves managed only two points in the third quarter and trailed 41-17 after three periods.
Coupeville struggled from the field, hitting only 30 percent of its shots. Meanwhile, UP executed well; “I can’t imagine any other team will execute any better,” Smith said.
Nick Streubel led the Wolves in scoring with 10 points. O’Keefe and Aaron Trumbull had four each; and Caleb Valko, Morgan Payne and Aaron Curtin two apiece.
Coupeville pulled down 32 rebounds and committed 31 turnovers.
La Conner outscored Coupeville by double digits in each of the first three quarters to roll to its big win.
The win by the 2B Braves (3-0) was their third straight over a larger school.
Smith said the Braves switched up defenses, starting with a full-court press and later going to a half-court trap, and the pressure flustered the Wolves. Coupeville finished the game with 28 turnovers.
Smith said, “We don’t have a specific ball handler; we are still trying to figure it out.”
For the third consecutive game, Coupeville struggled to score, particularly in the second half. The Wolves run a motion offense, and Smith said his players weren’t consistently cutting to the hoop to take advantage of the Braves’ gambling defense.
Smith said Carson Risner topped the Coupeville scorers with six points. Drew Chan, Valko, Streubel and Trumbull had four each and Curtin one.
Cedarcrest’s press forced numerous turnovers early and the Red Wolves sprinted to 20-8 and 38-14 leads in the first two quarters, then led 60-27 after three in the Cascade Conference opener for both schools.
Smith said his kids played hard, but they “have to play together.”
Cedarcrest’s pressure wasn’t the only problem, Smith said. The press picked up the pace of the game and Coupeville didn’t handle the speed well: “They made us go fast and we made mistakes. It was just up and down with no structure.”
Offensively, the Red Wolves “live or die” by the three-point shot, according to Smith. “They don’t have much of an inside presence, so they like to shoot the three.”
Cedarcrest (1-0, 1-4) knocked down eight treys in the win.
Smith lauded the effort of Streubel, who picked up a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Rinser had six points, Josh Wilsey five, Chan four, Valko four, Trumbull two and Curtin two.
Smith said, “We’ll keep plugging away. That’s our motto, we will play hard.”
Coupeville (0-1, 0-4) played Lakewood (0-1, 1-3) Tuesday; it hosts South Whidbey (0-1, 1-4) at 7 p.m. tomorrow.