The Chewelah boysâ€™ basketball team remained undefeated in Northeast A League play with wins against Riverside and Lakeside before Christmas
Jenkins High head coach Rocky Verbeck credits strong bench play from Tommy Norman, Cordell Bean, Deylin Peone and Lars Berger for the Cougars ability to grind out wins.
â€śI think that is going to be our theme this year--we ground out those wins,â€ť said Verbeck. â€śThey donâ€™t score often, but our bench is making the most of their minutes and that is always big for us on the defensive side of things.â€ť
Coach Verbeck added that â€śCaleb Wiebe doesnâ€™t always score a lot for us, but he is playing really well defensively.â€ť
In a win over visiting Riverside, Chewelah started out quickly, jumping out to a 10-0 lead before the Rams were able to get on the scoreboard with a free throw. After the end of the first quarter, the Cougars had raced to a 17-7 lead. In the second quarter, the Cougars and Rams traded baskets on almost every possession.
Ice cold start
Chewelah held a bit of an edge in the second as well, and extended their lead to 40-27 by halftime. In the third quarter, the Cougars came out of the halftime ice cold, held scoreless for the first five minutes of the quarter. But the Rams were almost as cold and were only able to score five points themselves before Chewelah could score their first basket of the second half. By the end of the quarter, the Cougars still led 46-37 margin.
In the fourth quarter, the Cougars put the game out of reach, going on another 10-0 run on the way to a 63-46 win. Four Cougars scored in double figures:, Derek Smith led with 15; Brandon Smith scored 14; Ben Johnstone added 12 and Caleb Wiebe chipped in with 10.
Riversideâ€™s John Axtell led all scorers with 21 points.
On Friday, the Cougars traveled to Nine Mile Falls to play the Lakeside Eagles (2-6, 1-1). Lakeside came out firing and kept Chewelah off balance. By the end of the first quarter, the Eagles had built a 14-7 lead.
Chewelah found its shooting touch and tightened up on defense in the second quarter, managing to cut into the Lakeside lead. The Cougars trailed 25-21 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Chewelah clamped down on the Eagles, outscoring them 12-5 in the third quarter to take their first lead of the game heading into the fourth quarter. From there, the Cougars took care of the ball and pulled away from Lakeside, winning a hard fought game 51-42.
Coach Verbeck felt the Cougars played well for most of the game, but the turning point came in the second half.
Cougs make a run
â€śThe third quarter was a good one,â€ť Verbeck said. â€śWe came out down four and they struggled a little bit, but so did Lakeside. We were able to make a run and provide a little separation, and from there, we ground it out. We got some defensive stops and hit some free throws at crunch time.
â€śIt wasnâ€™t just one person--each one found themselves doing something positive and it was a total team effort.â€ť
All nine Cougars got on the scoreboard this game, led by Peoneâ€™s 12 points off the bench and Derek Smithâ€™s added 11 points;
Lakesideâ€™s Conner Moffatt led all scorers with 15 points.
The Cougars (4-3, 3-0) got back into action last Thursday and Friday at the Reardan Christmas Tournament.
Chewelah 63, Riverside 46
Riv. 7 20 10 19-- 46
Che. 17 23 6 17-- 63
Riverside--Shuler 9, Zanoni 1, Taylor 2, Rux 0, Anselm 0, Kramer 9, Axtell 21, Joy 0, Bacon 2, Reed 0, Huggins 2.
Chewelah--Smith 15, Wiebe 10, Berger 7, Smith 14, Peone 5, Johnstone 12, Flanagan 0, Bean 0, Norman 0.
Chewelah 51, Lakeside 42
Chew 7 14 12 18--51
Lake 14 11 5 12--42
Chewelah--Smith 8, Wiebe 2, Berger 4, Smith 11, Peone 12, Johnstone 8, Flanagan 2, Bean 2, Norman 2.
Lakeside--Moffatt 15, Moffatt 0, Reynolds 0, Watson 9, Perkins 6, Jones 0, Collins 2, Campasino 0, Quigley 10, Eli Say 0.