Lady Hawks' offense struggles late in two league losses
Chris Cowbaugh/Colville Statesman
Cheney's Shyann Morton tries to keep the ball away from Colville's Sadie Learn.
While defense and rebounding are key ingredients to winning basketball games, ultimately it all comes down to one thing – you've got to score more than your opponent.
Offensive troubles spelled defeat twice last week for the Cheney High girls' basketball team. The Lady Hawks shot about the same as visiting Great Northern League leader East Valley on Tuesday, but gave them 13 more chances through offensive rebounds in the 64-41 loss. Thursday at third-place Colville the Lady Hawks only took 28 shots, making 35 percent of them in losing 41-24.
Head coach Shannon Root feels Cheney has a comparable team to Colville (14-4 overall, 8-3 GNL), despite the Indians experience with seven seniors on varsity. The Lady Hawks did play pretty good defense, holding Colville to just 41 points, their third lowest offensive output of the season.
"But you can't win games scoring five points in one quarter and four in another," Root said of Cheney's nine-point second half last Thursday.
Megan McDowell led the Lady Hawks in scoring with eight points while Kayla Lemelin added six as no Cheney player broke into double figures. The Lady Hawks committed 24 turnovers to Colville's 12.
Tuesday in the home finale against East Valley (16-3, 9-2) the Lady Hawks stayed within sight of the Knights for the first three quarters, going into halftime down eight and trailing by 11 at the end of the third quarter. But Root said the Knights are a fast and quick team, and trying to keep up with them in the third, where Cheney was outscored 21-18, may have taken a physical toll.
Cheney was outscored 18-6 in the final frame in the loss.
"They'll run any team into the ground," Root said. "They kept their momentum (in the fourth) and ours really dropped off."
Cheney shot 38 percent from the field compared to East Valley's 40 percent. But the Knights out-rebounded Cheney offensively 20-7, leading to longer possessions, while the Lady Hawks committed 25 turnovers to EV's 14, meaning fewer possessions for Cheney.
McDowell led Cheney with 16 points, a season high, while Kendyl Cone added 10
"She's (McDowell) got a beautiful shot, but she's been afraid to shoot," Root said. "She really opened up in that game and did a great job."
Cheney, 3-8 GNL and 5-13 overall, wraps up the regular season tonight (Thursday) at second-place Clarkston, 8-2, 10-8, and will have to focus on closing out defensively on Bantams players that like to shoot the 3 if they hope for an upset. While that, and a Pullman (3-8, 7-12) loss at East Valley would pull Cheney even with the Greyhounds, the tiebreaker would still keep the Lady Hawks as the sixth seed in the playoffs.
Root said that's really their focus right now, preparing to face an opening, loser-out round game Monday, Feb. 17, at either Colville or back in Clarkston.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.