Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Cardinals turn tables on Stags for 60-58 victory

Medical Lake gets big offensive games from Johnson, James for road win over Deer Park


Tom Costigan

Medical Lake's Dylan Rushfeldt tries to drive against a Deer Park defender in last Saturday's 60-58 Cardinal basketball victory in a non-league game.

Medical Lake's strong start was just enough to allow them to hold off Deer Park 60-58 in a nonleague basketball game last Saturday in Deer Park.

It was a stark turnaround for the Cardinals who, on Dec. 6, were hammered at home 75-56 by the 2A Stags from the Great Northern League and showed Medical Lake head coach Arnold Brown that things might be slowly falling in place as league play shifts into high gear.

"We're doing a lot better job of playing through stuff," Brown said. "When you make some shots it obviously makes you feel better."

The Cardinals were led by the 19 points from junior Tellas Johnson, plus got a big boost from newcomer Cooper James and his 14 and Jordan Rohweder with 10.

"Cooper James had a nice little shooting night," Brown said of the 5-foot, 6-inch sophomore. "It was kind of a situation where we were lacking on our shooting and he's one of our better shooters so it was time to bring him up," Brown said of the former junior varsity player.

Medical Lake (1-1 Northeast A, 3-6 overall) jumped off to a 25-11 first quarter lead against the Stags (5-4 overall) who had won three of their previous four games. From there it was hold on as Deer Park closed the gap at the half to 36-30 and 45-43 through three quarters.

Their finish was just good enough, Brown said. "When things go bad we're learning to deal with it better," he said. In the team's earlier meeting, after battling through a close first quarter, Medical Lake let the contest get away in the second half. "It was a great way to start the month," Brown said.

Avery Miller, who led the Stags with 18 points saw his 3-point try miss in the final seconds.

After starting NEA play prior to the Christmas break, the Cardinals now launch into the meat of the schedule with nine league games between now and the end of the month. Medical Lake also travels to Cheney in the annual Spirit Game, Saturday, Jan. 18.

"We need to see the "W" as much as we can," Brown said. "Now we're to the real part. This is a big month for us," Brown said. "For us the whole season is this month."

It will be an evolving attitude that Brown thinks will hopefully carry his team back to the postseason for a third straight year.

"For us it is more our guys growing up quicker that way," Brown said. "Having a short memory, we've been working on that a lot."

Medical Lake visited Freeman (1-0, 2-5) this past Tuesday and is home Friday at 5:45 p.m. versus Newport (1-1, 5-4) and on the road Saturday, 4:15 p.m. versus Lakeside (1-0, 6-3).

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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