Chewelah remained undefeated in league play last Saturday with a 63-45 win over Freeman as the Cougars won their fourth straight conference encounter.
The Chewelah win set up a battle of unbeaten Northeast A League teams this week when the Cougars travel to Medical Lake to square-off against the also undefeated Cardinals. Medical Lake took the league lead last week with wins over Lakeside, 40-36, and Newport, 62-36, to string five straight wins.
Derek Smith scored a game-high 22 points and Ben Johnstone was also in double-digits with 14 points to lead the Cougars in their victory over Freeman.
Smith scored on fast breaks, out of bounds plays, drives through the paint, short shots off the glass, and free throws. He once took the ball from one end of the floor to the other for a layup. He also pulled down nine rebounds and pilfered five steals.
Johnstone scored most of his points in the first half as the Cougars built a 35-21 lead, but he also went four for four from the free throw line after halftime.
The Cougars played without point guard Brandon Smith, who sat out the game with the flu.
Chewelah led from start to finish and continued to build its lead over the visiting Scotties. The Cougars took a 19-9 first period lead. By the end of the third period, their lead was 47-35. They then went on a 12-point run near the end of the game for a 63-45 pull-away win.
In the third period, Brady Flanagan completed an old school three-point play. He scored a layup on a pass from Smith and made the resulting free throw from the foul on the play. Also in that time period, Smith grabbed a steal at one end of the floor, dribbled the length of the court, and laid the ball up off the glass. Toward the end of the period, Johnstone made four of four shots from the free throw line.
So, going into the fourth period, Chewelah held a 47-35 lead over the Scotties.
In the first three minutes of the final period, Freeman chopped the Chewelah lead to nine points, 51-42. However, the Cougars finished strong, scoring 12 unanswered points.
Flanagan made a put-back, Mason Miller canned a three-pointer, and Caleb Wiebe took the ball to the hoop on a fast-break. With those six points, the Cougar lead widened to 58-42 with 3:44 left on the clock.
Smith made a short jumper and three free throws over the last three minutes to widen the gap even further at 63-42.
Freeman hit one more bucket in the final seconds to achieve the final score of 63-45.
Chewelah 52, Springdale 25
After a somewhat sloppy start, the Cougars minimized their turnovers and sighted in their shots in the second half to pull away from Springdale for a 52-25 non-league win on Wednesday night.
Chewelah scored only 18 points in the first half, but still held an 18-11 lead over the host Chargers in what started out as a low scoring game for both teams.
As the second half began, however, the Cougars returned to the floor with a renewed vigor. They continued to play their aggressive defense that kept Springdale in single digits for the first two periods. In addition, they did a better job of protecting the ball and shot the ball a lot better.
Two three-point shots by Smith and a coast to coast layup by Lars Berger highlighted a strong third period for Chewelah. Smith also made a layup off a steal and Deylin Peone went two for two from the line to give the Cougars a 31-15 lead at the conclusion of that period.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the floor, the Cougars limited Springdale to a three-pointer and a free throw. They had outscored Springdale, 13-4.
Chewelah finished the game with a 21-point fourth period. Johnstone made a three-point play, making a fast-break bucket and the free throw, and then hit a three-pointer. Wiebe hit a jumper from the side and a driving floater, back to back. Flanagan hit a short shot from the paint and scored on a put-back. Tommy Norman and Cordell Bean also scored on rebound baskets late in the period. Smith added a driving layup and a free throw to garner top gun honors with 22 points.
The Cougars return home to Pein-Lynch Gym on Friday at 5:15 to host the Newport Grizzlies. Then, the Kettle Falls Bulldogs are here on the following Tuesday at 7:30 to begin the second round of league play.
Chewelah 63, Freeman 45
Cougars: 19 – 16 – 12 – 16 = 63
Scotties: 09 – 12 – 14 – 10 = 45
Cougar scoring: Derek Smith 20, Ben Johnstone 14, Caleb Wiebe 7, Lars Berger 6, Brady Flanagan 5, Tommy Norman 4, Mason Miller 4, Deylin Peone 3.
Chewelah 52, Springdale 25
Cougars: 11 – 07 – 13 – 21 = 52
Chargers: 06 – 05 – 04 – 10 = 25
Cougar scoring: Derek Smith 22, Caleb Wiebe 9, Lars Berger 7, Ben Johnstone 5, Brady Flanagan 5, Cordell Bean 2, Tommy Norman 2.
Northeast A League
Medical Lake 5 – 0
Chewelah 4 – 0
Lakeside 2 – 2
Newport 2 – 3
Freeman 1 – 3
Kettle Falls 1 – 3
Riverside 0 – 4
Last Week’s Games
Newport 53, Riverside 40
Chewelah 63, Freeman 45
Medical Lake 40, Lakeside 36
Kettle Falls 55, Freeman 49
Medical Lake 62, Newport 36
Lakeside 69, Riverside 45
By Geno Ludwig, The Independent Staff
In This Photo: Lars Berger #12 gets up for a basket despite intense contact from the aggressive Freeman Scotties! Kim Johnstone photo Kim Johnstone photo