Cheney downs Rogers in non-league action
Lady Blackhawks enter final week of season
Last updated 2/6/2020 at 11:56am
CHENEY – The Lady Blackhawks improved their overall record to 6-10 with a non-league win last Thursday at Greater Spokane League Rogers High School.
Cheney got 21 points from senior Maggie Smith as the Lady Blackhawks opened a 33-15 halftime lead on the host Pirates and never looked back in their 58-35 win. Head coach Roxie Smith said all of her players earned valuable minutes against a Rogers team that, while undermanned, plays “whistle to whistle” and is more competitive than past squads.
The Lady Blackhawks were able to work on different offensive and defensive sets, Smith added, important playing-time experience at this point in the season as they head into the final round of Great Northern League competition this week.
“The margin of error is so small in our league, with three ranked teams,” Smith said.
Cheney took care of the ball against the Pirates, committing nine turnovers to Rogers 24 and scoring 21 points off those miscues. Cheney had 16 steals to the Pirates three.
Earlier in the week, the Lady Blackhawks wrapped up the second round of league play with a 56-38 loss at Clarkston — an intimidating environment Smith said as the fans are loud and closer to the court than in Cheney. The game also tends to be a bit more physical in Spokane County than Asotin County, Smith added, and is called closer down south, something she said her players need to learn to adjust to.
Still, Cheney managed an 18-15 lead after the first eight minutes, but saw its offense disappear over the next 16, trailing 25-20 at the half and 38-25 after three quarters. Part of that collapse came from 21 Lady Blackhawks turnovers that led to 20 Bantams points. Cheney was also outscored in the paint 34-12.
“They’re a team we expect to compete against,” Smith said. “They competed, we didn’t.”
Senior Shelby Draper had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Smith and Emma Evans each added 11 points.
Cheney sits in fourth place in the GNL at 2-6, 3.5 games behind Clarkston (6-3, 13-4) with four games remaining — which includes a gauntlet of teams ranked in the top 15 in the 2A classification by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. That began Tuesday, Feb. 4, at home against eighth-ranked and GNL-leading West Valley (7-2, 13-3), with No. 16 Clarkston visiting Cheney Wednesday, Feb. 5, for a game postponed earlier this season due to weather.
The Lady Blackhawks travel to fifth-ranked East Valley (7-2, 14-3) Friday, Feb. 7, and wrap up the regular season at home Tuesday, Feb. 11, against last-place Pullman (0-9, 3-14).
Even with a couple wins, Smith said the Lady Blackhawks will likely face either Clarkston or Pullman on the road in the first round of the District 7 playoffs, Feb. 14-18 at University High School. It’s not necessarily an undesired matchup with either school.
“I think that’s better for us, they’re (Clarkston, East Valley) better matchups for us than West Valley’s fast guards,” Smith said. “If we compete, and our scorers score, we’ll be in any game.”
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.