Girls Improve at Tournament

sports_basketball_girls429Heads or tails? Chewelah’s Lady Cougars got a chance to view both sides of the coin at the Reardan Christmas Tournament last Thursday and Friday. In their first game of the tournament, the Lady Cougars were ahead of Columbia through the entire game on their way to a 59-33 win. On Friday night against Reardan, on the other hand, they finished on the tail end of a 67-36 score.

“The Reardan tournament was great for us,” said Coach Tom Skok. “No, we didn’t win both games, but we got the opportunity to work on specific skills. Our goal going into the tournament was to improve, and I think we accomplished that in several areas of the game.”

Reardan 67, Chewelah 36

For the first dozen minutes, it appeared that Friday night’s game against the homestanding Reardan was going to be a close battle from start to finish. The Lady Cougars matched the Lady Indians shot for shot and the score was tied at 17-all with 4:19 left to play in the first half.

Finally coming out of her scoring shell, sophomore center Kaitlin Krouse poured in all of Chewelah’s six points of the first period on her way to a team-high 13-point performance. She hit a put-back off a rebound, a short jumper from the side, and an inside bucket off the glass.

A three-pointer off the fingertips of Brittney Wuesthoff and a free throw by Katelyn Garner opened the second period and tied the score at 10-10. Garner finished a Cougar fast-break with a layup and Amanda Pugh netted five of six free throws to again tie the game at 17-17.

After that, nearly everything Reardan threw at the basket dropped through the net and everything Chewelah shot at the hoop was rejected by the rim. An inside bucket by Sydnie Katzer provided the only points the Lady Cougars scored in the final four minutes of the period. That left Chewelah on the short end of a 34-19 score at halftime.

“We knew going into this game that Reardan was a very good basketball team,” said Skok. “They made us play better for as long as we could. We stayed with them until the middle of the second period. Then, they increased their intensity and we were not able to play at that level. But, the experience was good for us.”

Krouse scored all of Chewelah’s seven points in the third period. She scored on an old school three-point play, hitting an inside bucket and then the free throw resulting from the foul on the shot. She made two more shots from the paint midway through the period, but no one else wearing a Cougar uniform could draw a bead on the basket. Thus, Chewelah trailed by 20 points, 46-26, at the beginning of the final period.

Once Reardan got into its groove, the Lady Cougars had no solution on how to stop them. Chewelah got two baskets apiece by Mikaela Hopkins and Katzer, and another by Pugh, but the Lady Indians continued to widen the gap until they notched the 67-36 win.

Chewelah 59, Hunters 33

The Cougar gals opened the tournament with a 59-33 win over Hunters.

“We took better care of the ball against Hunters and we did a better job of rebounding, said Skok. “We had only 14 turnovers in the entire game, which was a vast improvement for us. Sydnie (Katzer) had 12 rebounds in the first half and finished the game with 15. Kaitlin (Krouse) had 12 rebounds.

“Last year, if you remember, Hunters beat us by 40 points. This year, we beat them by 30, and we held their best player to fewer points than she averages.”

The Cougars had their best shooting night of the season, making 21 of 62 shots from the floor.

Brittney Wuesthoff was Chewelah’s leading scorer with 17 points. Katelyn Garner and Katzer each had 12 points.

With the two-game split, the Lady Cougars currently have a 4-5 season record. They resume league play this Saturday at 6:00 against undefeated Freeman, which has now won nine straight games. On Tuesday, they travel to Medical Lake (5-5) to play the Cardinals.

Chewelah 59, Hunters 33

Cougars: 16 – 18 – 11 – 16 = 59

Lions: 08 – 08 – 10 – 07 = 33

Lady Cougar scoring: Brittney Wuesthoff 17, Sydnie Katzer 12, Katelyn Garner 12, Mikaela Hopkins 7, Amanda Pugh 5, Kaitlin Krouse 4, Ryann Richmond 2.

Reardan 67, Chewelah 36

Cougars: 06 – 13 – 07 – 10 = 36

Indians: 10 – 24 – 12 – 21 = 67

Lady Cougar scoring: Kaitlin Krouse 13, Amanda Pugh 7, Sydnie Katzer 6, Mikaela Hopkins 4, Brittney Wuesthoff 3, Katelyn Garner 3.

By Geno Ludwig, The Independent Staff

In This Photo: Kara Frederick #23 takes the ball around the defense against Reardan.