The few Cheney High School boys basketball fans that made it to the home gym Monday night saw a good battle between two pretty evenly matched teams: Cheney and visiting Colville.
In the end it was too much for the Blackhawks – too much as in too much Tevyn Holling. The Indians’ junior hit back to back 3-pointers in the last minute of the first half, including one at the buzzer for a 33-31 Colville lead, and went on to score 13 of his game-high 20 points in the final 16 minutes to lead the fifth-place Indians over fourth-place Cheney in Great Northern League opening round playoff action. The loss ended Cheney’s season at 10-11 overall.
For a while it looked like the Blackhawks might gain a firm upper hand in the fast-paced first half, overcoming an early 5-0 deficit en route to a 19-16 lead after one quarter. Austin Harding’s 3 with 6:40 to play in the second gave Cheney its largest lead at 24-17, and after Colville cut it to three at 28-23, Theo Petropoulos sank another one from beyond the arc for a 31-25 margin. But Holling’s 3s keyed the Indians’ 8-0 run to end the half, and Colville opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run for a 41-33 margin.
Calvin Berstler’s left-handed mini-hook brought Cheney to within two at 43-41 with 1:45 left in the third, but it was as close as they would get. Holling’s layin with 4:32 to play gave Colville a 55-44 lead, which Cheney eventually trimmed to four at 61-57 on Alex Berman’s 3 with 15.8 seconds left, with a pair of Holling’s free throws icing it a couple seconds later.
H.D. Wyborney led Cheney with 17 points, with Eric Igbinoba adding 11 and Tanner Gamby nine.
The Blackhawks ended their regular season schedule with a 60-41 home loss last Thursday to GNL second-seed Clarkston (8-4, 14-6). Despite playing with the emotional fuel of Senior Night, Cheney was never really in the game as the Bantams came out with a hot shooting hand, hitting three 3s for an early 10-1 lead, eventually running it to 15-2.
Cheney battled, cutting it to 10 at 37-27 on Wyborney’s short jumper with 4:20 to play in the third, but could get no closer.
Wyborney led Cheney with 13 points while Igbinoba added nine.
Monday’s loss was the fourth straight time the Blackhawks have bowed out of the playoffs in the opening round and the third straight time as a higher, No. 4 seed. It was the final game for seven seniors: Petropoulos, Harding, Najib Rehman, Berstler, Igbinoba, Gamby and Wyborney.
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.