Cards keep close to Cougars
Medical Lake’s 3-0 week sets up another showdown for first place in NEA Tuesday at Chewelah
That sound the Chewelah Cougars hear is the Medical Lake Cardinals’ close pursuit of them in the Northeast A League boys’ basketball standings.
Following a 3-0 week with wins 41-30 over Riverside, 64-45 Friday when they hosted Kettle Falls and their 54-37 conquest Saturday at Freeman, the Cards trail the Cougs by a game as the regular season winds to a conclusion.
The Cardinals have now won five of their last six games and sit 8-1 in the NEA standings, 11-5 in all games.
Medical Lake hosted Newport this past Tuesday and finishes NEA play on the road at Lakeside, Friday, Jan. 25 and is at Chewelah with first place on the line next Tuesday, Jan. 29.
Wedged in between is Saturday’s Spirit Game – the Golden Feather – a nonleague contest when Cheney comes to town for a girls’ game at 5:45 p.m. with a boys’ contest to follow at 7:30.
“Not a bad little stretch,” Medical Lake head coach Arnold Brown said. “We’re just trying to take care of one at a time.”
The week started off with Seth Hansen’s 11 points pacing the win over visiting Riverside (2-6, 4-11). The Cardinals led 19-11 at the half and won the second half battle 22-19 too for the final margin.
Friday night the Cards used a big 18-9 edge in the second quarter to put distance between them and Kettle Falls (1-8, 6-10). Adam Paulson scored 12 to lead Medical Lake with Austin Garza adding 10. Of special significance were the contributions of freshmen Jaelon Stith and Dom Harvey-Mithcell, plus sophomore Tellas Johnson, all of whom had eight points. The defensive play “ Allowed our offense to get caught up, and when that clicks it allows us to score some baskets,” Brown said.
“Anytime you can kind of get the score in your favor you get to experiment with the young guys a little more,” Brown said.
Medical Lake operated at a much faster pace than the Bulldogs were capable of matching. “Good rebounding allowed us to run the ball better,” Brown said.
A strong second half Saturday helped Medical Lake pull away from Freeman (2-6, 2-14), who trailed just 26-23 at the half. Solid offensive efforts from Garza with 15 points, and Johnson’s 11, however, helped dispatch of the Scotties with a 28-14 edge over the third and fourth quarters.
Freshman Jack Paukert scored 10 to lead Freeman.
“It was more get some stops and score baskets at the same time,” Brown said was a key to the 3-0 week.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.