Hawks run to Spirit Game win over Cards
Non-league contest snaps 10-game losing streak with Deer Park and Clarkston visiting this week
A solid second half performance last Saturday night against visiting Medical Lake helped the Cheney High boys' basketball team break their 10-game losing streak. The Blackhawks out scored the Cardinals 41-23 in the final 16 minutes en route to a 69-53 win in the annual Golden Feather spirit game.
Cheney's success came down to their ability to pull off a series of scoring runs down the stretch. Trailing by two at the break, the Blackhawks opened the third with a 14-2 run keyed by six points each from Brett Wyborney and Alex Berman – Berman's final three coming the old fashioned way on a basket and free throw with 3:12 to play in the quarter.
ML closed to within seven off 3s by Jordan Rohweder and Cory Wagner, but Cheney answered with baskets from Keenan Williams and Nick Hohrman and a 3 from Berman to close the quarter up 49-38.
An 8-2 run to open the fourth put the Blackhawks up 57-41, which ML closed again with a 5-0 to trail by 11 with about four minutes left. Led by six points from Hohrman and four by Williams, two at the charity stripe, Cheney closed the game with a 10-3 run for the win.
Berman led all scorers with 23 points, 14 in the second half, with Hohrman adding 12 and Wyborney and Williams 10 each.
The win capped a week that began with Great Northern League losses to Colville, 61-46, at home and West Valley, 67-46, on the road.
Cheney stayed close to the Eagles (10-2, 3-1) Tuesday evening in Millwood, trailing 14-11 after the first quarter. A cold shooting second quarter however enabled West Valley to open a 29-14 lead at intermission and they never looked back, despite a Cheney rally in the fourth.
Berman had 12, Wyborney 11 and Williams nine to lead the Blackhawks offense.
Cheney hung with visiting Colville (8-4, 3-2) for three quarters Friday night, trailing 31-28 at the half and 47-41 heading into the fourth. But led by 6-foot, 7-inch Matt Hubbard, who scored 21 of his game-high 31 points in the second half, the Indians pulled way by outscoring Cheney 14-5 for the win.
Berman and Wyborney led the Blackhawks with nine points each while Williams added eight as no Cheney player broke into double figure scoring.
The ML non-league win gives Cheney a 3-10 overall mark, but still leaves them searching for their first GNL win at 0-5. Two chances present themselves this week, both at home as Deer Park visits Tuesday and Clarkston Friday.
The Stags are 1-4 in league play, 5-8 overall but in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Their last win came Jan. 3 against Cheney, 51-47, as they capitalized on Blackhawks mistakes and missed free throws to rally for the win.
At 10-2, 2-2 in the GNL, Clarkston will be a tough opponent, having lodged a 30-point win over Colville and 39 over Deer Park while barely missing an upset of league-leader Pullman, 64-61, on the road last Friday.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.