Call ‘em giant killers.
The Cheney girls basketball team (7-0, 0-0) won three times last week, including Friday night over Post Falls. Beating the Idaho school marked the fourth time this season - previous victims were North Central, Shadle Park and Ferris - in which the Blackhawk girls have defeated larger-school opponents.
“We’re getting there,” Coach Marty Jesset said with his usual guarded optimism. “We’re still looking for a little more consistency.”
Cheney’s Anna Getz, the Frontier League’s MVP last year, scored 24 points Saturday night against Chewelah, 15 against Post Falls on Friday and 19 points against Deer Park on Wednesday night.
But the Blackhawks are not a one-woman show.
“So far, if someone’s been off, we have had somebody who can step up,” Jesset said. “We feel like we are pretty deep.”
Against Post Falls, Kara Weitman scored 22. Ginger Ewing had 15, and Tiffany VanMatre added nine points.
In addition, Tara Pischel came off the bench in each of the three games to play solid defense, Jesset said.
“We’ve been getting some real quality minutes from her,” he said. “She’s real smart defensively, stealing the ball, deflecting passes, just disrupting the other team’s offense.”
Cheney plays Medical Lake on Saturday before beginning conference play Jan. 7 against East Valley.
Medical Lake edges East Valley
The Cardinal boys, the other undefeated basketball team on the West Plains, won another close game by beating the EV Knights 70-67. Brandon Moore, a soft-spoken rebounding demon, scored 22 points and crashed the boards for 15 rebounds to lead Medical Lake. Carlos Simmons scored 14, including a late bank shot, and Chad Hedlee came off the bench to score 10. Chris Campbell chipped in another eight.
Despite East Valley’s 0-4 record coming into the game, the Cardinals were challenged. A string of fastbreak baskets by EV at the end of the third quarter put the Cardinals behind by three.
Coach Dave Olzendam called timeout, made a few lineup changes - which included inserting Hedlee, Richard Brown and Josh Early - and Medical Lake eventually pulled back into the lead.
“You can’t play the same way every night,” Olzendam said. “Going in, not playing well, and still pulling out a win against a larger school - I’ve got to give the boys credit.”
Medical Lake faces Cheney (4-2, 0-0) Friday evening in a battle for West Plains bragging rights. In a 47-41 win over Post Falls on Friday night, August Parker and Paul Malisani each scored 16 for Cheney.
Despite the victory, Coach Denny Humphery lamented that the Blackhawks had just 30 rebounds, and only seven on the offensive boards.
The Cheney-Medical Lake game promises to be one of the most-competitive local holiday matchups. The smaller Cardinals like to fastbreak, while the Blackhawks seem more successful when scoring remains low.
“We’d like to get Medical Lake to play a half-court game,” said Olzendam, sizing up Medical Lake gunners like Simmons, Moore, and Andre Jackson. “If we can keep it in the 50s, we’ve got a chance.”
New faces in Liberty lineup
Five games into the season, the Liberty girls basketball team played what Coach Rod Fletcher says amounted to its first game of the season against Reardan.
It’s not as strange as it sounds. In the 68-37 loss to the Indians on Saturday night, one Lancer starter was out of town for Christmas break, and a pair of newcomers in the lineup, senior Shawna Polione and junior Gina Neihart, played for the first time this year.
It’s the first game of the season, Fletcher says, “with this group of girls.”
Polione, a starter last year, initially had decided to skip the basketball season in order to work. One week into the season, she decided she just couldn’t stay away. Neihart became eligible for practice two weeks ago.
“It’s going to help us depthwise,” Fletcher said.
Despite the lopsided loss, Fletcher said the game against Reardan, which shot 69 percent in the first half, had some positives.
The Lancer girls had fewer turnovers than in previous games and shot better from the free-throw line.
Jo Cory is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds a game, and Becky Bothman is becoming more consistent playing at point.
“It’s just a matter of putting all these things together in one game,” Fletcher said. Both the Liberty girls and boys play in the Freeman Invitational tournament on Friday and Saturday.
Ferris gymnasts defy the odds
Ferris coach Bill Christianson wasn’t overly optimistic about the Saxons’ chances against Central Valley or University prior to the start of the Greater Spokane League gymnastics season.
Both Valley schools returned several strong gymnasts from teams that had featured prominently at state last season.
“We would have to have our best meet of the year, and they (CV and U-Hi) would have to have their worst for us to have a chance to beat them,” Christianson said back in November.
Nevertheless, Ferris handily beat CV two weeks ago, and last week it fell just two-tenths of a point shy of knocking off league-leading U-Hi. The Saxons, now 8-1, have sole possession of second place in the GSL and currently are ranked sixth in the state.
Kacey Fredrickson won the floor exercise (9.5), the beam (9.3) and the all-around competition (36.25). Teammate Kim George won on the bars (8.7).