The third-quarter blues have haunted the Coupeville High School boys basketball team all season; the latest verse came in a 79-52 loss to visiting Granite Falls Tuesday, Jan. 14.
The Tigers (2-3, 5-6) outscored Coupeville 26-15 in the tide-turning third period and 43-21 in the second half to roll to the easy win after a tight first half.
The Wolves hung around early, matching each Granite Falls push with a run of their own. The Tigers went up 7-0, then the Wolves answered to go up 8-7. Granite Falls then led 13-8 and Coupeville tied it at 15.
Next, the Tigers moved ahead 26-20, and the Wolves evened the score midway through the second period.
From that point, Coupeville failed to respond. Granite Falls led 36-31 at halftime, then scored the first nine points of the third quarter and was never threatened.
The Tigers' Evan West scored 10 points and KC Spencer seven in the third period to guide the breakaway. Spencer added eight in the fourth on the way to a game-high 23 points, one more than West.
Turnovers plagued Coupeville throughout, even when the Wolves were in the game in the first half. Ten of the Tigers first-half points came on lay-ins after Coupeville turnovers.
Coupeville coach Anthony Smith said, "Give Granite credit, they took us out of our game."
The Tigers used a full-court press and ball-hawking half court man-to-man to harass the Wolves.
"The press bothered us, but I don't know why," Smith said. "Everybody has to get in the same page."
"We played well in the first half," Smith said. "The second half, for some reason, has been our nemesis."
Anthony Bergeron led Coupeville with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Morgan Payne came off the bench and provided some offensive punch with 11 points.
Nick Streubel added eight points and six rebounds. Gavin O'Keefe scored seven points, Joel Walstad four and Wiley Hesselgrave two.
The loss was a blow to Coupeville's playoff hopes. The Wolves considered the Tigers as one of the teams they could beat, especially at home. Coupeville remains two games behind South Whidbey (2-4, 2-9) for the final 1A playoff spot.
Coupeville (0-6, 2-9) plays at King's (4-1, 9-2) at 6:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17.