While the offense had a tendency to come and go, the defense never wavered.
In fact, the Wolverines pitched a fourth-quarter shutout, holding Coupeville (3-5) without a single point in the final period and tossing in 10 of their own to claim their second win of the season, a 34-23 victory at home, Dec. 20, in Turnbull Gym. The Wolves proved their own worst enemy in the final quarter, however, repeatedly missing the front-end of a one-plus-the-penalty free-throw attempt and going 0-for-6 from the charity stripe in the last eight minutes of regulation.
Still, the Wolverines knocked down four consecutive free-throws, two by senior Jean Melborne and two more by freshman Allie Galt, to widen their lead down the stretch.
“It’s been our defense that’s been keeping us in the games,” Coach Eric Jangard said. “If we can keep it up on the defensive end it’ll give our offense some time to come along.”
With the win, the Wolverines improved to 2-6 overall on the season and notched their first victory against a Division 1A team. Galt and Melborne led Friday Harbor on the offensive end, scoring nine and eight, respectively, and junior low-post player Tabatha Keane added six.
Falling at home two days earlier to Mount Baker, Friday Harbor bounced back from that 59-37 loss to deliver its best and most complete performance of the season against Coupeville. The Wolverines played the Mountaineers (4-3) to a standstill in the opening half, 22-22, but ran off course after the break, and faced an uphill battle against a defensively tight and experienced Mount Baker squad after being outscored 18-7 in the third period.
“We had balanced scoring and made better adjustments on defensive end in the game,” Jangard said. “I think what we’ve gotten better at is being able to adjust during the flow of the game.”
Friday Harbor was home Saturday, Dec. 22, to host Nooksack Valley (6-1) (results were unavailable prior to the Journal Dec. 21 holiday deadline; see www.sanjuanjournal for results). The Wolverines are home Jan. 3 to face Northwest 1A/2B League rival Mount Vernon Christian, 5:30 p.m., and travel to Darrington (8-1), Jan. 5.