Foul shots are a reward for an opponent's mistake, but the Coupeville High School girls basketball team failed to take advantage of those opportunities in a pair of home losses last weekend.
The Wolves lost 56-39 to Archbishop Murphy Friday, Jan. 10, and 38-36 in a nonleague game to Mount Vernon Christian Saturday, Jan. 11.
Struggles at the foul line played a role in both losses, particularly in the close loss to the Hurricanes.
Coupeville missed 16 free throws against Mount Vernon Christian, hitting only 16 of 32. The Wolves were 9 for 21 at the line against ATM.
The pair of losses ran the Wolves' losing streak to three. They hope to break the string at Granite Falls (0-4, 1-9) at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14.
Archbishop Murphy (3-2, 4-5) exploded in the third quarter to pull away from Coupeville in a battle for third place.
The Wildcats led 16-14 after one period and 25-22 at halftime.
"Down only three at halftime, we felt pretty good with our game plan," coach David King said. Then the third quarter started.
"We came out slow; the energy on the court wasn't there," King said.
Besides being outscored 18-6 in the quarter, the Wolves' lost point guard Bree Messner to a head injury. Messner returned late in the game but missed Saturday's game with MVC.
"Missing our floor leader for an extended time hurt us against the press and on offense," King said.
Play improved in the fourth period, King said, but the hole was too large to overcome.
Amanda Fabrizi led Coupeville with 10 points, Makana Stone had eight, Monica Vidoni six, Maddi Strasburg five, Messner five, Julia Myers four and Hailey Hammer one.
Mount Vernon Christian brought a glossy 10-1 record into Saturday's game, and the Wolves missed the chance for the upset when they missed free throws – and players.
Messner didn't play, and Hammer injured an ankle in the third quarter and sat the remainder of the game. The number of missing reached five when three other Wolves fouled out.
Fifty fouls were called in the game, but the one that wasn't ruined Coupeville's last chance to win the game.
Fabrizi stole the ball with two seconds left and appeared to be fouled as she shot. No whistle blew and game ended.
The Mount Vernon Christian coach told King after the game that Fabrizi was fouled.
Poor officiating did not "lose the game for us," King said. "It was poor free-throw shooting, fouls and turnovers."
The game, which was close throughout, got off to a sluggish start with the Hurricanes up 5-4 after one quarter. Coupeville led 12-10 at the break and 25-24 after the third period.
The Wolves sank only 1 of 10 free throws in the fourth period while MVC hit 6 of 12.
For the game, Stone was 4 for 5 at the line while the rest of team converted only 4 of 18.
Stone topped the Wolves with 16 points, Fabrizi had nine, all in the second half, and Hammer had five before being injured.
Strasburg added three, Wynter Thorne two and Myers one.
Kacie Kiel received the start in place of Messner, and freshman Carlie Rosenkrance made her varsity debut in the fourth quarter.
"Until we believe we can play tough against the press and until we start making free throws, we will struggle in close games," King said.