Sports

For Wolverine girls, it ain’t over till it’s over | Playoff Preview

Freshman Liz Taylor looks for room to penetrate against Sarah Daigneault of Shoreline Christian in a Feb. 7 league match up in Turnbull Gym; Taylor poured in a career-high 19 points against the Crusaders.  - Scott Rasmussen
Freshman Liz Taylor looks for room to penetrate against Sarah Daigneault of Shoreline Christian in a Feb. 7 league match up in Turnbull Gym; Taylor poured in a career-high 19 points against the Crusaders.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

To advance in post-season play, the Friday Harbor girls basketball team had to do what no other Wolverines squad has done in three years.

Beat Coupeville.

On Tuesday, the two inter-island rivals square off at Coupeville in the opening round of post-season play. The winner moved on; the loser was done for the year.

But despite an earlier loss to the Wolves and a season of frustration, the stars are aligned in way that could help the Wolverines lift the curse. Wins have been equally hard to come by this season for both teams.

And Coupeville (0-13 league, 3-16 overall) is more vulnerable this season than anytime in recent memory.

The Wolves are led by junior Megan Smith, a standout performer on the offensive end who averaged 15 points a game in the rough-and-tumble Cascade Conference. Smith lit up the Wolverines for 21 points to propel Coupeville to a 38-23 victory in Friday Harbor in early January.

But the Wolverines have shown significant improvement since then, even if victories have been few. Their earlier effort against Coupeville, which marks the teams’ second-lowest scoring output of the season, was substandard, Head Coach Eric Jangard said.

“We had a real poor game against Coupeville,” Jangard noted.

Furthermore, the Wolves have no one who can match up in the low post with Friday Harbor sophomore Kelsey Barnes. The 6-foot sophomore has been on a tear of late, scoring in double-digits and dominating the glass the past three weeks. The emergence of freshman Liz Taylor as a scoring threat bumps up the odds of an upset. The Wolverines also have averaged nearly 45 points a game in their last four outings.

A victory at Coupeville would ensure the Wolverines two more post-season games. However, Lynden Christian, the defending state 1A champ, awaits the winner in the second round of the District 1 playoffs; tipoff for that Thursday contest is 7 p.m. on the Lyncs’ home court.

The loser of the match up at Lynden Christian still can clinch a slot in the tri-district playoffs with a victory in a consolation game Saturday at Mount Vernon High School.

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