Cheney Free Press -


Blackhawks earn split in first week of cage action

Cheney boys rebound from Lakeland defeat to edge Ellensburg in home opener


New Cheney High School boys basketball head coach Chris Dunn learned a lot about his team in their opening games last week, but one quality in particular stood out. That is the quality of resiliency.

Dunn said the Blackhawks kept playing hard and with enthusiasm despite getting blown out in the fourth quarter of a 60-38 loss at Idaho 4A school Lakeland Tuesday night. That hard work and energy carried over to Saturday’s non-league home opener with Ellensburg as the Blackhawks rallied in the fourth to down the Bulldogs 60-56.

“Very resilient, very tough kids,” Dunn said Monday.

Cheney only trailed by 10 points heading into the fourth at Lakeland, but committed consecutive turnovers on a couple of occasions that allowed transition baskets. That led to scoring runs for the Eagles, who outscored Cheney 20-8 in the quarter en route to the win.

Dunn said the Blackhawks probably shot less than 40 percent from the field, settling for jump shots against Lakeland’s zone. They also committed 19 turnovers, which with the poor shooting was a losing recipe.

“You can’t not shoot well and waste your possessions and expect to win,” he said.

Alex Berman led Cheney in scoring with 20 points, 15 coming from beyond the 3-point arc, while Brett Wyborney added 11 and led the team in rebounding.

Dunn said the loss to Lakeland was probably good for his team as the Blackhawks played with intensity for all 32 minutes against Ellensburg. The Bulldogs had three players who could “shoot lights out,” and were led by the 27 points of 6-foot-5-inch guard Coleman Starling.

Down by six entering the fourth, Cheney rallied behind the play of Berman and Keenan Williams. Dunn said Berman had several consecutive baskets, and Williams helped out with a steal at the top of the key he turned into a dunk at the opposite end that obviously added to the team’s energy. It also helped that the Blackhawks allowed Ellensburg no offensive rebounds.

“We limited them to one shot per possession, which is great,” Dunn said.

Berman again led the Blackhawks with 20 points with Wyborney adding 12, Ty Graham nine and Williams eight.

Cheney’s game Friday at Freeman was rescheduled for Dec. 20 due to the Scotties appearance in the 1A state football title game Saturday in Tacoma. Cheney continues non-league play this week, traveling to Reardan to face the 2B Indians and then hosting 1A Cashmere Saturday.

John McCallum can be reached at

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