Cougars Continue Bi-District Tournament at Omak

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Chewelah made merely nine baskets throughout the entire game on Friday afternoon as the Cougars lost a low-scoring game to the Chelan Goats, 31-24. However, the Cougars rebounded with a 55-47 victory over Riverside to stay in contention for a berth into the upcoming regional tournament.

After playing two rounds of the Bi-District Tournament at West Valley last weekend, the competition will continue this weekend at Omak. Chewelah advances to face Lakeside in a loser-out game on Friday.

Chewelah’s point total against the Goats was, by far, the lowest of the season for the Cougars. They scored only 44 points at Colville back in December, which was, up until Friday, their lowest point total of the season.

“I don’t think we’ve ever scored that few points since I’ve been here,” said Coach Rocky Verbeck. “It was a physical game and we were up against some long and lanky Chelan kids. They were 6’5″, 6’5″, and 6’9”. So, I think we hurried our shots a little before those big kids could close down on us.

“We shot only eight for 33 from the floor, and that’s about 25 percent from the floor. We made only one of 16 shots from behind the three-point line. And, we made only five of 12 shots from the line.

“Chelan also only made one of 16 three-point attempts. But, the big difference was that they were 12 for 13 from the line.”

On the other hand, the Cougars held the Goats to only 31 points. This was the lowest total allowed by the Chewelah defense this season. It was also Chelan’s lowest point total for the season. Previous to this game, their lowest score was 32 in a two-point win over Brewster.

“I was totally pleased with our defense,” said Verbeck. “Holding any team to only 31 points is a great accomplishment. Chelan made only two shots from the floor in the second half. All the rest of their points came from free throws.”

The Cougars held Chelan to a three-pointer and a two-pointer. But, the Goats made nine of 10 free throws after halftime to retain the lead.

The Cougars had a good start, outscoring the Goats 7-4 in the first period. Caleb Wiebe hit a driving layup, a jumper, and a put-back of a rebound for Chewelah’s only buckets of the period. Brandon Smith made one of two free throws for his lone point of the game.

Although the Cougars launched several shots in the opening period, most were rejected by the rim. Only Wiebe’s three shots dropped through the hoop. That pattern continued into the second period as few Chewelah attempts fell through the net.

Deylin Peone had all of Chewelah’s five points of the second period. Chelan started the period by making the first two baskets and taking a 9-7 lead. Peone’s jump-shot tied the score at 9-9. A minute later, he drained a three-pointer to give the Cougars their last lead of the game, 12-11.

Chelan scored the final six points of the second period and held a 17-12 lead at halftime. The Goats then opened the third period with a pair of free throws and a three-point shot to widen their lead to 22-12 with 5:12 remaining. Counting the last six points of the second period and the first five points of the third period, Chelan put together an 11-0 run.

Short-range shots by Peone and Derek Smith were Chewelah’s only two to drop through the cylinder in the third period. Smith added a free throw. So, at the end of that period, Chelan was still ahead, 23-17.

Chewelah cut the Chelan lead to three points, 25-22, midway through the fourth period on Peone’s put-back. Wiebe again made it a three-point game, 27-24, with another rebound basket. However, the Cougars could not extend their rally. The Goats went four for four from the free throw line in the final 30 seconds to notch the win.

Lars Berger made two free throws for Chewelah early in the period, and Derek Smith added another. The Cougars went an icy four for 12 from the line.

There was not one player who scored in double-digits for either team. Peone’s nine points led his team. He was also the game’s high scorer as no one on the Chelan team scored in double digits either.

This was the only game of the entire season where the Cougars did not have at least two players in double-figures.

Lakeside was the lone Northeast A League survivor of the first round of play on Friday. The Eagles defeated Cashmere 79-72 in overtime. Medical Lake lost to Brewster, and Riverside fell to Okanogan.

Chewelah 55, Riverside 47

Lars Berger scored 10 of his 17 points in the first period on Saturday afternoon as he jump-started the Chewelah Cougars to a 55-47 win over Riverside. The victory put the Cougars back into the hunt for a berth into the upcoming regional tournament.

The loss ended Riverside’s basketball season. Medical Lake’s loss to Cashmere on Saturday also put an end to its season. So, going into this week’s play at Omak, only Chewelah and Lakeside remain, and they play each other on Friday night in a loser-out game.

Chewelah did not pull away from Riverside until the second half. The game was tied four times before halftime, and the Cougars took only a 20-19 lead into the locker room at the intermission, thanks to a pair of three-pointers in the second period by Wiebe.

The third period belonged to Chewelah. The Cougars scored the first11 points of the period on their way to a 35-27 lead. Brandon Smith and Berger hit back to back three-pointers. Wiebe hit a floater, Derek Smith made a driving layup, and Brandon Smith added a free throw.

Later in the period, Tommy Norman made an inside shot and Deylin Peone hit a runner from the paint to widen the gap to 35-20, a 15-point Cougar lead.

Both teams scored 20 points in the final period of play. Berger, Peone, and Brandon Smith each hit a three-ball at crucial points in the period to hold back the persistent Rams. Riverside cut the Chewelah lead down to a two-point spread, 40-38, with 4:52 remaining in the game, but the Cougars never let the Rams take the lead.

This time, Chewelah made the free throws the Cougars needed to win. They went seven for eight from the line in the final three minutes to preserve the victory. In all, they made 16 of 19 free throws. Brandon Smith’s four free throws at the end of the game ended Riverside’s season.

Berger’s 17 points and 12 rebounds led the Cougars in both categories. Brandon Smith was also in double figures with 12 points, and he grabbed six rebounds.

So, now the tournament switches locations to Omak, where the Cougars play Lakeside in a loser-out game. The winner of that game will play either Chelan or Cashmere for the third berth into the state tournament.

“Right now, I don’t care which of those two teams we end up playing,” said Verbeck. “First, we have to beat Lakeside, and that is our top priority. I think we all would like to have another shot at Chelan. We line up better against Cashmere, but they are so explosive.

“Still, Lakeside beat Cashmere in double-overtime. So, we’re going to take it one game at a time and hope to play our best.”

Chelan 31, Chewelah 24

Cougars: 07 – 05 – 05 – 07 = 24

Goats: 04 – 13 – 06 – 08 = 31

Cougar scoring: Deylin Peone 9, Caleb Wiebe 8, Derek Smith 4, Lars Berger 2, Brandon Smith 1.

Chewelah 55, Riverside 47

Cougars: 14 – 06 – 15 – 20 = 55

Rams: 12 – 07 – 08 – 20 = 47

Cougar scoring: Lars Berger 17, Brandon Smith 12, Caleb Wiebe 8, Derek Smith 6, Deylin Peone 5, Ben Johnstone 5, Tommy Norman 2

Bi-District Tournament

Chelan 31, Chewelah 24

Okanogan 70, Riverside 42

Brewster 44, Medical Lake 36

Lakeside 79, Cashmere 72 (OT)

Chewelah 55, Riverside 47

(loser out)

Okanogan 71, Chelan 46

Brewster 48, Lakeside 35

Cashmere 74, Medical Lake 45

(loser out)

By Geno Ludwig, The Independent Staff

In This Photo: Sneaking in with the Rams unaware Tommy Norman #24 floats in a nice lay up for a much needed score! Kim Johnstone photo