Geoff Courchaine has had his share of bad luck during a three-year athletic career at Central Valley High School.
Last Friday he experienced the toughest luck of all. In the first quarter against Rogers, Courchaine broke his foot and is out for the season.
“He jumped up in the air to catch a ball, something he has done a thousand times, and came down wrong,” said his coach, Terry Irwin.
Courchaine, at 6-feet-7, is one of the tallest and most physical players in the Greater Spokane League.
It wasn’t until recently that the third-year varsity player and CV’s third-leading scorer at 11.6 points per game had truly asserted himself.
“He had been dominant in stretches of games offensively, very dominant,” said Irwin. “We haven’t had a go-to guy inside like that. His loss is devastating.”
During a three-overtime loss to Lewis and Clark, Courchaine time and again provided clutch scores in extra minutes. He followed that with 20 points and 15 rebounds despite a two-overtime loss to league champion Mead.
In last Tuesday’s playoff-securing win against Ferris he had 16 points and hit three of four free throws at the end to preserve a lead.
“He was absolutely the key,” said Irwin. “We went to him time and again and he buried the shot, not just the free throws.”
Losing him early in the Rogers game may have had a bearing on CV’s four-point loss which prevented the Bears from remaining in contention for second place in the GSL.
A cousin of CV’s all-time scoring leader, Jason Hull, Courchaine followed Hull from the Ponderosa area, which feeds University High School, to CV.
A year ago he was expelled from school for a quarter for brandishing a BB gun in the parking lot at Central Valley.
Courchaine considered it a turning point in helping establish his athletic priorities.
“I was messing around with a couple of friends after football practice and pulled out the gun,” said Courchaine. “It wasn’t even loaded. Someone saw. It turned out to be the best thing that happened to me.”
Although he missed the football season while attending the contract-based alternative school, Courchaine worked on his basketball game and was back in time to help the Bears win their first Greater Spokane League championship.
He was the only non-senior starter, joining four third-year players.
The team inexplicably failed to earn a repeat state berth, a fact that still has Courchaine shaking his head trying to explain why.
This year he started on defense for the football team that had a chance to make the state playoffs, but lost to winless North Central.
And now this.
Still, his athletic career was not without its rewards.
“My sophomore year I got to go to state. Not many do that,” Courchaine said. “Last year I thought I did pretty good for being the only junior. Starting and playing with the `fab four’ was fun.”
Courchaine joins teammate Jeff Allen, who broke his ankle earlier this year, on the sidelines. It is the first time in Irwin’s coaching career that he has lost two starters in one season to broken bones.
“Without Geoff, I’m not sure what we’ll do,” said Irwin. “We’re certainly depleted in numbers and depth, and have to emphasize different things. He was a real force.”