The Coupeville High School girls basketball team played a good first half, but Sultan played an even better second half to escape with a 40-37 win over the visiting Wolves Tuesday, Jan. 7.
After holding the Turks to only eight first-half points and leading 20-8 after two quarters, Coupeville crumbled under Sultan's second half pressure. Sultan outscored the Wolves 14-4 in the third quarter, taking the lead for a moment before Coupeville recovered to go up 24-22 heading into the final period.
The fourth quarter was a see-saw battle with neither team leading by more than four.
The Wolves, trailing by three and with the ball, called timeout with 19 seconds left. Makana Stone kicked the ball out to Bree Messner, who missed a 12-footer but hustled to get the offense board and score on the put-back.
Coupeville was forced to foul and Sultan's Courtney Morris drilled both shots to put Sultan back up by three with 15 seconds left.
The Wolves were able to put up three three-point shots, but all were near misses and the Turks escaped with the comeback win.
The game started well for the Wolves. Coupeville held the Turks scoreless over the first five minutes and led 7-4 at the end of the opening period.
Amanda Fabrizi, who scored three points in the first quarter, added six in the second to help lift the Wolves to their 12-point lead at the break.
Coupeville coach David King was pleased with the first-half defense but said the offense failed to attack after breaking the Sultan press in the first quarter. He said his club did a better job against the press in the second period and taking advantage of the openings in the Turk defense.
Coupeville's ability to handle the press slipped away in the third quarter, allowing Sultan (2-2, 3-6) to speed up the game and play at a tempo it preferred.
King said, “Defensively, I couldn't be happier with our effort. They are coming out and playing hard and making things happen.
“Offensively, we need to take that next step and improve our ball handling against pressure. We have to get into an attack mode versus a press instead of settling just to break it.”
Another concern, which has been a problem all year, is free throws, according to King.
The Wolves shot only 40 percent (6-for-15) in the loss.
“This team has so much fight,” King said. “We feel like we can compete with anyone in our league. We need to take the next step and not be happy with competing but now expecting to win.”
Fabrizi tallied 11 points, six rebounds, and three steals; and Messner had six points, three steals and two assists.
Julia Myers and Hailey Hammer each had seven rebounds; Myers added three points and Hammer two points and three assists.
Makana Stone chipped in with six points, two assists and three blocks; Maddi Strasburg added nine points.
Kacie Kiel, back after missing two games with an injury, had two assists.
Coupeville (2-2, 5-3) hosts Archbishop Murphy (2-2, 3-5) at 6:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10.