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Blackhawks turnovers lead to opening loss to Rogers


December 6, 2018

Cheney commits 17 miscues in 64-54 non-league setback

Fueled by the 3-point shooting of senior forward Gavyn Betholf, the visiting Rogers Pirates used a 16-8 second quarter run to open a 36-21 halftime margin en route to sending Cheney High School to a 64-54 defeat in the Blackhawks season opener last Wednesday.

For Blackhawks third-year head coach Gregg Smith, the tale of the tape wasn’t in shooting, but in ball control. Specifically, 17 Cheney turnovers that came at inopportune times, although a stat one might expect in a first game.

Down 15 at the half, Smith said the Blackhawks showed some of the mettle one might expect with a team of five seniors posting several years of varsity experience each. Cheney battled back, outscoring Rogers 16-11 in the third quarter and cutting the Pirate lead to four late in the game before allowing a offensive rebound put-back basket off a free throw that gave Rogers renewed momentum for the win.

“It’s an indication that we have the confidence to play with anybody,” Smith said of Cheney’s rally.

Senior Jake Berman led all scorers with 17 points, with brother Nick adding 14 and junior Kaiden Custer 10. Smith said the Blackhawks also were not quite into their defensive rotations against Rogers — a team that shoots the ball well.

Even having to battle back most of the game, Smith said what he found pleasing was that his team always felt it could win, whereas in the past other squads might have settled for moral victories by making the score close.

“Their sense was ‘This is up to us. We can do this,’ and I like the feel of that,” he added.

After a break of eight days, the Blackhawks resume their schedule with a flurry of competition, beginning Wednesday (Dec. 5) by hosting Freeman and then turning around to host Clarkston in the Great Northern League opener for both schools.

Cheney follows that with a trip to Post Falls, Idaho on Dec. 11 and another three days later to GNL rival West Valley.

John McCallum can be reached at


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