Cougars battle in the third, can’t come up with NEA League win
By Geno Ludwig/The Independent Staff
It traditionally takes three scorers in double-digits to win basketball games in the Northeast A League. The Chewelah Cougars have not found that amount of firepower on the floor yet this season.
They have not produced one consistent double-figure scorer, and it has led to three straight losses in league play.
Nils Berger scored 14 against Medical Lake, and then only three at Newport. Eli Hubert scored 18 at Lakeside, and then he had three at Newport and was scoreless against Medical Lake. Elan Krausz had 11 at Lakeside, and then he had eight and six against Medical Lake and Newport, respectively. There was no Chewelah player in double-digits at Newport, where the Cougars scored only 36 points.
The result, so far, is a 0-3 league start against three of the upper division teams. On a more hopeful note, Chewelah is scheduled to play Deer Park (1-2), Colville (1-2), and Riverside (0-3)—three lower division teams—when they return from Christmas break. The Cougars could be 3-3 in a couple of weeks. But, unless the Cougars can bore sight their shooting, they could find themselves locked in the league cellar.
Playing effective man-to-man defense from the tipoff to the final buzzer is difficult to master. When playing zone defense, each player goes to a specific spot on the floor and defends that area. Man defense is more demanding. It requires that the player finds the opponent he is assigned to defend and stays between him and the hoop, keeping him from scoring. It also entails stopping the ball while the defense is setting up.
The Cougars are in the process of improving their man-to- man coverage. They are getting better at it, but they are still giving up to many uncontested points, especially against fast tempo, fast-breaking, trapping teams like Medical Lake. These next three league games against the Stags, the Indians, and the Rams should exhibit how much progress has been made defensively. Against Medical Lake last Tuesday, Dec. 13, Chewelah got off to a slow start as they adjusted to the fast-paced tempo and full-court trapping press of the Cardinals. The press was especially effective early in the game. Not only did it lead to Cougar turnovers, but it also limited the time left on the clock after the ball made it over the 10-second line.
This resulted in hasty shooting. Chewelah scored only 12 points in the first half. Krausz scored through the back door and Jensen Holloway hit a three-pointer in the opening period.
Berger made two buckets in the second period. Owen Baldwin added a pair of free throws and Gavin Parrott made one. The Cougars were behind 28-12 at halftime.
Coach Tyler Goldman must have delivered an inspirational discourse during the intermission. The Cougars returned to the floor and outscored the Cardinals 16-6 in the third period.
Krausz hit a short jumper, and, a minute later, Chewelah went on an 11-point run. Krausz made a fast-break layup off a pass from Berger, Berger drained a three, Krausz lofted a short hook-shot coming across the key, Baldwin got a layup off a steal, and Ryder Robison hit a jumper from the side.
Later in that period, Berger canned an NBA three-pointer that narrowed the ML lead to a four-point spread, 32-28, 12 points less than the 16-point Cardinal lead at halftime.
Medical Lake protected its lead from the free throw stripe in the final period.
The Cards went to the line 10 times, making eight attempts. They also hit five shots from the floor.
Chewelah responded with three-point buckets from Baldwin and Holloway, plus a driving layup from Berger and a put-back by Baldwin. Berger was the only Cougar who got to shoot from the free-throw line, making three of five tries.
The final buzzer concluded scoring with ML ahead, 53-41. At Newport, the Cougars scored a mere 36 points, their lowest total of the season. Another slow start again proved fatal. The Grizzlies outscored Chewelah 18-7 in the first period. After that, the remainder of the game was a toss-up.
Newport maintained its first period lead to win its second league game of the season 45-36.
MEDICAL LAKE 53, CHEWELAH 41
Medical Lake (5-0, 2-0) 13 15 6 17-53
Chewelah (3-2, 0-2) 5 7 16 12-41
Medical Lake Scoring
Butler 7, Duran 2, Garza 12, Jasmer 11, Sherman 19
Baldwin 9, Berger 14, Holloway 6, Krausz 8, Parrott 1, Robinson 2
Cougars start NEA League slate 0-2
By Geno Ludwig/The Independent Staff
Maggie Cobb scored 15 points, along with 11 each from Kyrstan Miller and Krislyn Koler, as the Lady Cougars overcame a slow start to notch their first Northeast A League win of the season at Newport on Friday, Dec. 16.
After trailing 11-9 at the end of the first period, the Cougars came back to take a 22-18 lead into halftime. They led the Lady Grizzlies 35-28 by the end of the third period and then blitzed through the final eight minutes for a 55-33 win.
Friday night’s exciting victory followed a shocking and unexpected 71-54 loss to Medical Lake on Tuesday, Dec. 13, and an earlier loss at Lakeside.
The Cougars now enter the Christmas break with a 1-2 league record, 3-3 overall for the season. They leave their league schedule to compete in the Reardan Christmas Tournament on Dec. 29-30, and then return to host Deer Park on Jan. 3.
The win at Newport was Chewelah’s first in which the Cougars posted three players in double-digits, which is a requisite for winning in the league. It was also the first time in league play that the Lady Cougars found their groove and stayed in it both offensively and on defense.
Cobb’s 15 points earned her top gun honors for the game. She had 20 against Medical Lake.
For the past few years, Medical Lake has been the door mat of the Northeast A League when it came to girls’ basketball. This season, the Cardinals have started conference competition with three wins, with one of those being a surprising 71-54 victory over Chewelah’s Lady Cougars last Tuesday night. Every aspect of the Medical Lake skill set has vastly improved since the Cougars beat them twice a year ago.
The game was evenly played through the first half, with six tied scores and five lead changes. Jaelynn Skok made a driving layup, Kyrstan Miller hit an inside shot off the glass, and Maggie
Cobb put back a rebound to give Chewelah a 6-3 lead. Krislyn Koler drained a three-pointer from the corner and Miller scored again from the paint to keep the Cougars on top 12-10.
Aspen Katzer’s free throw tied the score at 13 points apiece at the end of the first period.
Turnovers and fouls plagued Chewelah in the second period. Medical Lake used a full-court trapping press to disrupt the Cougar offense, gleaning several steals that were turned into layups at the other end of the floor. The Cardinals also made it to the free throw line often and were shooting a double-bonus with 1:22 left to play.
The Cougars kept pace in spite of their intercepted passes and players being taken off the floor with two fouls. Cobb energized the offense, scoring 10 of her 20 points in this period. Bailey Smith turned a steal into a layup and made a pair of free throws. Kennedy Robison took the ball to the hoop late in the period to cut the Medical lake lead to 31-29, but the Cardinals canned a three-point shot at the buzzer to lead 34-29 at halftime.
The second half was littered with Chewelah turnovers caused by one bad pass after another. It was as if the Cougars were color blind, not being able to discern red uniforms from white ones. Medical Lake took advantage of the turnover points to build a 19-point lead near the end of the game. Chewelah continued to put points on the scoreboard, but not as often as the Cardinals.
Medical Lake used a 13-3 run in the third period to take a 47-32 lead. A free throw by Miller and a driving jumper by Cobb were the only Cougar responses. With that run, ML took control of the game and never gave it back.
Skok made a layup and a three-pointer, and Miller added two buckets on the inside. Those shots still left Chewelah down 54-41 at the end of the third period.
The Cougars continued to score through the remainder of the game, but not as often as the red-hot Cardinals.
Miller scored again on the inside, and Skok finished a fast-break with a layup, and the rest of Chewelah’s points for the period came at the free throw line. Cobb went six-for-six, Koler hit both ends of a double-bonus, and Katzer added one.
However, Chewelah did not dig into the Medical Lake lead. The Cardinals went on to take home a 71-55 win.
The Cougars put 54 points in the scorebook against Medical Lake, which, in most games, would have led to a win. The turnovers kept that from happening. Cobb was Chewelah’s top scorer with 20 points. Miller finished the game with 13.
MEDICAL LAKE 71, CHEWELAH 55
Medical Lake (3-2, 2-0) 13 21 20 17-71
Chewelah (1-3, 0-2) 13 16 12 14-55
Medical Lake Scoring
Bremer 5, Farmen 6, Geiger 22, Munson 12, Noble 5, Oliver 10, Peterson 4, Redell 7
Cobb 20, Katzer 2, Koler 5, Miller 13, Mitchell 2, Skok 9, Smith 4