By John McCallum

Lady Hawks rally comes up just short against Ellensburg

Cheney opens season with convincing 25-point win over visiting Lakeland Hawks


The Cheney girls’ basketball team opened the 2012-2013 season with a split of their first two games last week.

The Lady Hawks’ aggressive, up-tempo style of play was more than a visiting team from Lakeland High School in Rathdrum, Idaho could handle in Cheney’s 57-32 win in the opener Tuesday night. Saturday the Lady Hawks fell behind early on the road against an Ellensburg team that blew out Pullman the night before by 23 points, rallied and came within a shot or two of a win, losing 54-41.

Tuesday the Lady Hawks opened a double-digit halftime lead by outscoring Lakeland 18-9 in the second quarter, and kept up their aggressive play with a 21-6 third quarter performance en route to the win. Harmer said she was impressed with her team’s performance in their opener, particularly that of sophomore forward Coreen Labish and junior guard Chae Brown, who keyed off each other well to combine for 37 points.

“Although a lot of areas of improvement were exposed, I believe this is the best first showing we have had in years,” Harmer said of her team in an email.

Labish led all scorers with 19 points, going 3 for 4 from the free throw line while Brown added 18.

Saturday the Lady Hawks got off the bus after a long ride to Ellensburg and fell behind the home standing Bulldogs by seven at the half. Cheney eventually cut that margin to 34-32 late in the third quarter, and after a Bulldogs run, trimmed it to one at 48-47 in the middle of the fourth, thanks to an 11 for 14 effort at the line keyed by senior Darien Brophy’s play off the bench.

Ellensburg’s Alexa Orcutt hit a pair of free throws with 2:31 to go for a 50-47 advantage, and upped that to 54-49 with baskets by Lexie Bland and Gese Gruber, sandwiching a pair of free throws by Brophy. But with 7 seconds left, Bland fouled Brown on a Cheney 3-point attempt, and after the junior hit the first two shots, the third went out of bounds off an Ellensburg player. After the inbounds pass Labish took a last-second 3-point attempt that Orcutt got her hand on for the block, although Harmer didn’t quite see it that way.

“My girls executed in the final seconds of the game perfectly, drawing the fouls and getting off the 3s,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, the call, or lack thereof, didn’t go our way.”

Brown led Cheney with 10, Labish had 14, Brophy 8 and senior Sami Sheffels 7. Cheney committed 13 turnovers and hauled down 24 rebounds with Labish leading her team with 11 and Sheffels 7. Cone had 5 ofCheney’s 12 steals.

“They played their hearts out the entire 32 minutes,” Harmer wrote. “I am proud of how they responded to a 3-hour bus ride, in unknown territory, against a team that stomped Pullman the night before.”

Cheney returns to action with another pair of tough, back-to-back games this weekend. The Lady Hawks host Northeast A power Freeman (2-0) Friday, and hit the road again Saturday to face 1A Caribou Trail’s Cashmere (1-1).

Ellensburg Daily Record sports editor Josh Petrie contributed to this report.

John McCallum can be reached at


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