Cheney Free Press -

By JOHN McCALLUM
Managing Editor 

Blackhawks end season against Pullman

 

Last updated 2/20/2020 at 1pm



CHENEY – The Blackhawks boys ended their season — both regular and post — against the same opponent last week: the Pullman Greyhounds. Cheney ended its season in the first round of District 7 play against the Greyhounds, losing 79-53 on Feb. 14, and finished the regular season with a 66-61 home loss to Pullman last Tuesday, Feb. 11

Cheney played well, interim head coach James Whiteley said, but couldn’t make the big shots when it needed to in the regular-season finale. The Blackhawks started hot, but a cold-shooting second quarter put them behind against a good Pullman team, trailing 31-25 at intermission.

Cheney rallied in the final eight minutes, missing a 3-point chance with 12 seconds remaining that would have pulled them within two points and a timeout to set up a defense and hopefully get a chance at the tying shot, Whiteley said.

Senior Quinsie Goodloe led the Blackhawks in scoring with 13 points, with fellow senior Peyton McPherson adding 12 and Trinidad Richardson and Josh Whiteley each chipping in 10.

“The effort in that game was fantastic,” Whiteley said. “Shots going in makes a big difference.”

Friday in district play at University High School it was second and third quarter that proved to be the difference for Cheney against Pullman. The Blackhawks battled to a 16-all tie through the first eight minutes, but missed some early shots in the second period that Pullman countered with made buckets to open a 37-25 halftime lead.

“It was a long hill to climb at that point,” Whiteley said.

Things continued to go south for the Blackhawks, being outscored 20-6 in the third before generating more offense in the final period. The highlight for Whiteley was in the final minute, when having put all of his seniors into the game, senior Kolby Holt hit a 3-pointer to ensure that all of the players on varsity had scored from beyond the arc this season.

Josh Whiteley had a season and career-high 22 points to lead Cheney in scoring, the only Blackhawk in double figures.

Cheney ended what proved to be a long and tumultuous season, finishing 3-18 overall and 2-10 in Great Northern League play — their last as the school moves up into the 3A classification in 2020-2021 and into the Greater Spokane League. The Blackhawks suffered some key injuries late in the season, and were without their first-year head coach Frankie Keplinger and varsity assistant Chad Smith, who were both placed on administrative leave on Jan. 21.

Whiteley stepped up from junior varsity to take over the head coaching duties, hoping to generate some wins but more importantly provide a little salve for the Blackhawks troubles through a positive experience for the players.

“The last couple of weeks I wanted to have some fun and make some memories, and we did that,” Whiteley said.

As of press time school district officials had not elaborated further on the future of Keplinger and Smith with the program. Friday’s game was the last for seniors Goodloe, McPherson, leading-scorer Kaiden Custer — out with an injury — Luke Hemenway, Alex Long and Holt.

Cheney stands to return four juniors and a pair of sophomores to varsity next season.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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