Chewelah splits openers

Chewelah boys basketball split their first two games of the sea­son this past week, losing a close game to Deer Park, but finishing the week with a strong performance in a win over Kettle Falls. Against Deer Park, the Cougars overcame a poor shooting first quarter and a 19-3 deficit, but ran out of gas late in the fourth quarter and lost 63-56. “We came out flat,” said head coach Rocky Verbeck. “We were down 19-1 at one point on 1-11 shooting, but the kids showed some resolve and we got it go­ing.” The Cougars turned the score around in the second quarter, outscoring the Stags 21-8 and closing the deficit to 27-24 at halftime. The teams played pretty evenly in the second half, but down the stretch, the Stags made just enough baskets to hold on. “We didn’t capitalize a couple of times towards the end and they hit a couple of shots that we couldn’t quite answer, but it was a good opener,” said Verbe­ck. Tyler Monasmith led the Cou­gars with 19 points, but accord­ing to coach Verbeck, his biggest contribution was on the defensive end of the court. “Tyler’s 19 provided a very nice spark, but I want to praise him for his defense,. It was the same the next night; he had 12 points, but did some good things on defense.”The Cougars were able to take the momentum from Deer Park into the next evening’s contest against the Kettle Falls Bull­dogs. Chewelah came out put­ting pressure on the ball on de­fense and hitting open shots, jumping out to a 20-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. Chewelah didn’t let up on the Bulldogs in the second quarter, holding them scoreless, while essentially putting the game away, with 27 points en route to a 47-5 halftime lead and a 67-16 win. “What I liked about the shots we were taking was that we were making the extra pass to make the shot that much easier,” said coach Verbeck. “We do encourage the kids that if they are open, shoot the ball. That extra pass sure does make the difference.” All the Chewelah players scored in the game--three scored in double figures, with Ben John­stone and Andrew Pugh both scoring 14 to lead all scorers.The Cougars are still learning to play together and plan to use the busy week ahead to fine-tune their offense. “It’s going to be a growth time for us to still tweak some things so we‘re more consistent,” said coach Verbeck. THIS WEEKThis week the Cougars (1-1) have three games. On Tuesday, Republic visited JHS and Medic­al Lake visits on Friday (7:30 start). On Saturday, the Cou­gars travel to Colbert to play de­fending 2B state champion Northwest Christian. The game starts at 6:30 p.m.Chew. 3 21 15 17--56DHS 19 8 18 18--63Chewelah--Smith 10, Withing­ton 3, Weibe 7, Monasmith 19, Smith 2, Johnstone 11, Pugh 4.Deer Park--Guske 0, Mead 7, Fletcher 0, Mohr 13, Peone 21, Ferguson 15, Starbuck 7, Nel­son 0.Kettle Falls 5 0 6 5--16Chewelah 20 27 14 6--67Kettle Falls--Owens 0, Cook 2, Beardslee 2, Thomas 0, McKern 6, Vining 0, Reppert 0, Disque 3, Johnson 2, McNeil 1.Chewelah--D. Smith 6, Withing­ton 7, Wiebe 8, Monasmith 12, B. Smith 5, Johnstone 14, Pugh 14, Long 1.