Chewelah boys continue to roll

Cougars face Riverside, Colville this weekThe Chewelah boy’s basket­ball team opened Northeast A League play with a pair of wins last week in three games. The wins earned the hot Cou­gars a spot atop what promises to be a wild league race. Back on Jan. 3, the Cougars opened up NEA play at Freeman (7-6, 2-1). Chewelah came out a bit flat and dropped a 62-46 de­cision.Chewelah was unable unable to get much go­ing in the first half against an aggressive, physical Scotties’ team. “Right from the get-go, they were pressing and we did­n’t re­spond too well,” said head coach Rocky Verbeck. “Then they had that big second quarter and we didn’t get back into it.” Trail­ing 38-18 at half, the Cougars came out in the second half and played a little better, but never threatened. “The kids battled,” said coach Verbeck, “but it’s hard to come back after be­ing down 20 at half.” Cody Un­fred scored 22 points for the Scotties, while Ben John­stone dumped in 22 for the Cougars.On Friday, Chewelah traveled to Nine Mile Falls to play Lakeside and came away with a hard fought 56-54 victory. The Cou­gars worked hard for an early lead and held a 28-22 lead at half. Chewelah managed to ex­tend their lead to eight points by the end of the third quarter, and they would need every point to hold on for the victory. Lakeside outscored the Cougars 16-10 in the fourth quarter and had the game tied at 50 when John­stone gave the Cougars a 53-50 lead with a three-pointer in the final minute. “We got away with one there,” said coach Verbeck. “We did everything we could to give it away...with turnovers and missed free throws (1/9 in the fourth quarter). We were very fortunate to get the win.” Johnstone again led the Cou­gars with 15 points, while Con­ner Moffatt scored 13 for Lakeside.Saturday brought the Newport Grizzlies (8-4, 2-1) to JHS and the Cougars treated the home crowd to an exciting game and sent them home happy with a 64-59 victory. Chewelah held Newport star Jake Wiley to only eight first half points, but the rest of the Grizzlies chipped in to cut an early eight-point Cou­gars lead to four by halftime. In the second half, Newport wasted no time erasing the defi­cit and even pushed out to a seven-point lead before the Cou­gars responded and cut the de­ficit to 47-46 after three quar­ters. Chewe­lah got going in the fourth quarter behind John­stone. He hit three three-point­ers from the corners and scored nine of his team high 20 points in the fourth. The Cougars outscored New­port 18-12 to earn the five- point win. “We are fortunate to be where we are,” said coach Verbeck. “Newport is really good and I think they just ran out of time on their comeback.” Wiley scored 17 second half points for a game high 25, while Derek Smith added 18 more for the Cougars. Another contribut­ing factor in the last two victor­ies has been the bench play. “Our bench has been really key,” Verbeck said. “They give our starters a rest and we have had enough legs in the fourth quarter to respond.” THIS WEEKThis week the Cougars (10-3, 2-1) traveled to Riverside (4-9, 0-3) on Tuesday and on Friday Colville travels to JHS to wrap up the first half of NEA play. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.Chew. 5 13 9 19--46Free. 15 23 11 13--62Chewelah--D. Smith 9, Whith­ington 1, Wiebe 0, Monasmith 0, B. Smith 9, Johnstone 22, Pugh 3, Long 2.Freeman--Dresback 0, MacPh­erson 0, Miller 19, Fish 0, Rice 0, C. Un­fred 22, Ayers 2, Prim­mer 0, Harter 7, Casto 1, Vander Linden 9, B. Unfred 2.Chew. 16 12 18 10--56Lake. 14 8 16 16--54Chewelah--D. Smith 11, With­ington 4, Wiebe 3, Monasmith 6, B. Smith 7, Johnstone 15, Pugh 10, Long 0.Lakeside--Moffatt 13, Powell 5, Watkins 9, Perkins 0, Broderius 0, De.Wat­son 12, Wood 8, Wid­man 7, Schimke 0.New. 15 15 17 12--59Chew. 19 15 12 18--64Newport--Konkright 10, Rapp 3, Bereiter 9, Schultz 2, Martin 5, Wiley 25, Douglas 7.Chewelah--D. Smith 18, Whithington 0, Wiebe 0, Monas­mith 7, B. Smith 8, Johnstone 20, Pugh 7, Long 4.