Lady Hawks come up short in upset bid of Pullman
Cheney's Katie McGourin battles Pullman's Maddi Cillay for a rebound Saturday night.
The Cheney girls basketball team lost their first Great Northern League games of the 2014 season, 56-35 Friday night at East Valley and a close 51-41 setback Saturday against Pullman in the league-season home opener. For head coach Shannon Root, the second game was the most disappointing.
"I felt like it was a game we should've won, but not quite," she said.
Cheney led twice in the opening moments against the Greyhounds, 4-2 and 6-4, but a 7-0 Pullman run helped them establish a lead the Lady Hawks couldn't quite overcome. Katie McGourin's offensive put-back pulled Cheney within two at 11-9 with 1 minute, 15 seconds left in the first quarter before Pullman (5-5, 1-1) answered with another 7-0 run to cap the first eight minutes.
Shyann Morton hit back-to-back 3s to keep Cheney close in the second quarter, the second cutting Pullman's lead to 20-18. Kendyl Cone's 3-pointer to open the third quarter pulled Cheney to within 30-27 and her steal and layup early in the fourth trimmed Pullman's margin to 43-39, but Cheney got no closer as both teams went cold shooting wise in the final minutes.
Kayla Lemelin's 11 points led the Lady Hawks scoring, with McGourin adding 10 and Cone seven. Lemelin had six rebounds, and Cheney committed 19 turnovers.
Those turnovers proved to be the Lady Hawks downfall Friday night in East Valley (9-2, 2-1) as Root said they were well into the upper 20s. Despite this, Cheney was in striking distance entering the third quarter down by nine before being forced to foul late in the game, helping the Knights outscore the Lady Hawks 24-12 to seal the win.
Cone led Cheney with 19 points, seven rebounds three blocks and four steals.
Cheney falls to 2-7 overall, 1-2 in GNL play, and has three games this week that could help them make up ground in the win column. The Lady Hawks travel to West Valley (8-2, 2-0) to face the second-place Eagles, and then return home to host pre-season league title favorite Colville (6-3, 0-2) Friday and Northeast A and cross I-90 rival Medical Lake (4-7) in the annual Golden Feather Spirit Game Saturday.
West Valley returns six players from last year's sixth-place 2A state team, and Colville features a roster consisting of seven seniors. Root said the Cardinals are also much improved from last year and didn't lose too much talent to graduation.
The Lady Hawks are continuing to show improvement each week, she added, maintaining good levels of trust and respect for each other during a difficult transition period in the program.
"We're getting there," Root said.
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.