March 16, 1997 in Sports

O’Dea Ends Cheney’s Run

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The team everyone expected to win finally wore down the team nobody expected to win.

Battling until near the end, Cheney fell to top-ranked O’Dea 59-46 Saturday in a halfway unexpected title game of the boys State AA basketball tournament.

Tournament most valuable player Douglas Wrenn, for one, was impressed by upstart Cheney (19-9) following the night’s activity at the Tacoma Dome.

“I like their style,” Wrenn said after his game-high 18 points and seven rebounds wrapped up a perfect season for the Irish (29-0). “Looking at their record, you wouldn’t know that these guys are so good.”

O’Dea became the third team in the tourney’s 29-year history to finish unbeaten.

“I don’t know what the Triple-As are like, but they could play with them,” said Cheney coach Denny Humphrey, denied his 479th victory and first title. “You have to battle with Wrenn inside and still have the speed on the perimeter to keep up with them.”

Cheney also lost the 1980 title, to Timberline. No other Frontier League team has played for the crown.

“It’s tough to go out with a loss, but you have to remember that you played in the last game of the year,” Humphrey said. “A week ago at this time (the District 7-A Tournament), we were just fighting to get here.”

Cheney never led after Pat Stiffler’s layup midway through the first quarter made the score 6-4. The first of four Tucker Urdahl 3-pointers, 3 minutes into the second quarter, cut O’Dea’s edge to 17-15, but 16 of the next 19 points belonged to the Irish.

“All we asked them to do at halftime was to show (O’Dea) why we were here,” Humphrey said.

The lead grew to 15 points before the pesky Blackhawks used long-range shots and their inside game to twice come within six. The Irish were able to hang on by forcing turnovers and reaching the free-throw line three times as often as Cheney.

Urdahl finished the tourney with 15 3-pointers, one shy of the record set in 1992 by Joel Schillinger of West Valley (Spokane). Urdahl scored 58 at the tourney.

August Parker, the Frontier’s lone all-tourney selection, finished the four days with 59 points and 42 rebounds. Blackhawks junior Paul Malasani had 50 points and 46 rebounds.

The Irish, also champs in ‘93, won their 13th state trophy. Cheney has five.

O’Dea 59, Cheney 46

Cheney 12 5 21 8 - 46 O’Dea 13 14 19 13 - 59

CHENEY - Stiffler 2 3-4 7, Eggart 0 0-0 0, Waller 1 0-1 2, Urdahl 5 0-0 14, Goetz 0 0-0 0, Donnelly 0 0-0 0, Ervin 0 0-0 0, Reser 0 0-0 0, Parker 5 0-0 10, Malasani 5 0-1 12, Stoddard 0 0-0 0, Sobotta 0 1-2 1. Totals: 18 4-8 46.

O’DEA - Brown 1 0-0 3, Billones 1 2-2 4, McHenry 0 0-0 0, Taffera 0 0-0 0, Burleson 3 2-2 9, McDonnell 4 2-2 10, Reese 1 0-4 2, Makanani 3 2-4 9, Del Fierro 0 0-0 0, Wrenn 6 6-9 18, Woodard 2 0-0 4, Roth 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 14-23 59.

3-pointers - Urdahl 4, Malasani 2, Brown, Burleson, Makanani. Total fouls - Cheney 17, O’Dea 12. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. , DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


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