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February 3, 2011     Cheney Free Press
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February 3, 2011
 

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Page 4 Section 3 Free Press , Thursday, February 3, 2011 Cardinals hope to get shot at play,00ns with Deer Park on Saturday By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter As the Great Northern League girls' basketball season entered its final full week of play the battles continued at both the top and bottom of the standings for post-season play. This week's games sort everything out. The top of the heap features a true four-way fight between Clarkston, Pull- man, West and East Valley to see who'll earn byes and who has to play next Tuesday. Cheney (4-6, 8-9) is locked into fifth• That leaves Medical Lake (1-10 GNL, 5-14 overall) and Deer Park (1-9, 5-13) to break the tie for sixth place this Satur- day in a play-in game for the playoffs at Cheney at 4:15 p.m. The only way that game would not be played is if the Lady Stags stage an upset at either current league-leader, Clarkston (8-2, 13-5) this past Tuesday, or grab victory Thursday at Cheney. Medical Lake's fortunes might have been in their own control had the Cardi- nals not experienced early breakdowns that extended their GNL losing streak to 10. The Cards fell 59-39 to Clarkston last Tuesday, lost at East Valley 5842 setback Friday and 56-44 at Cheney Saturday. Against their neighborhood rival, Cheney, the Cards got off to a fast start thanks to Amelia Cook's hot shooting and led 15-6 after a quarter. "We jumped out Photo by Paul Delaney Medical Lake's Nicole Petersen(15) toes the line as she tries to keep an errant pass from going out of bounds last Friday at East Valley as the referee keeps a close eye on her foot. EV's Alex Rankin (14) applies pressure. quickly, Amelia (Cook) is hitting right off the bat," Medical Lake head coach Adam Inman said. But after that solid start it was all Cheney as the Lady Hawks' defense held the Cards to just two second quarter points to lead 20-17 at the break• A 24- 14 Lady Hawks' advantage in the third quarter decided it. While Cook's 24 was tops amongst all scorers in the game, Allie Brown's 19 points and Destinee Lake's 15 helped key Cheney. "(Allie) Brown, it was tough to really have an answer for her, she's a heck of a player," Inman said Inman also• thinks there were other factors that played into Saturday's loss• "What this was all about is they're (the Cardinals) just gassed, they're tired," In- man said. They. were three tough games, he insisted. "Our effort was 100 percent, some- times they shake out for you and some- times they don't," Inman said• "Some- times you get the shots to fall and some- times you don't." It was ironic, Inman pointed out, that both the girls" and boys' games ended in the same 56-44 score. Friday's game against the Knights turned on a short stretch that closed the first half. "In two minutes I think we had six turnovers and everyone resulted in a point for them," Inman said. "It was tight going into the second half and we had 120 to 150 seconds (where everything fell apart) and I wasn't going to use another time out," Inman said. "I ended up spending it though, you have to stop the bleeding." • After trailing 14-8 through the first quarter and by 15 at 36-21 midway through the second, the Cards used a 7- 0 run to close the gap to 36-28 with 4:20 remaining• East Valley (7-3, 11-7) countered, fir- ing up their press - multiple versions no less - that sent the Cards into their brief, but fatal freefall. The Knights spun off the next 12 straight points to close out the half, part of a 14-0 run that spanned the halves and decided this one early• "(Their press is) better than anyone in our league, East Valley presses, they press very well and they have several different presses," Inman said. "We were very prepared for one of them and the other one I hadn't seen this year." A press is not designed to cause turnovers, it's used to make a team play at a speed that they are not comfortable with, Inman explained. "Inherently you'll turn the ball over. You'll make poor decisions and you'll make rush judgments because you're uncomfort- able and you lose composure." "For 2 1/2 minutes we were very uncomfortable and we were not com- posed," Inman said. "We were just mak- ing mistakes that you can't make." Cook led all scorers in the game with 16 points• Natalie Pendell added an- other 12. East Valley got 11 from Alicia Christensen. Last Tuesday, the Cardinals stayed with the league-leading Bantams through the first half and trailed just 26-20. That was due in large part to the efforts of Becky Troutt, who her coach said, "did a phenomenal job," holding the GNL's leading scorer in check with jus three points. "In the second half she just started launching three's - not just a 3-pointer but five or six feet beyond the arc," Inman said. "You can't ask a kid to guard her, that's not realistic," he said. "We shut down (K.C.) McConnell (10 points) but Weisner scored 20 points in the second half•" Cook had 18 and Pendell 13 for ML. Medical Lake closed out the regular season hosting West Valley this past Tuesday and then waits for the rest of the league to finish to see if their season extends to at least one more game on Saturday• Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com. The little things are still hard to come by for Medical Lake's boys By PAUL DELANEY StaffReporter Focusing on doing the lit- tle things right continues to haunt the Medical Lake boys' basketball team. And not getting the easy baskets, converting free throws and turning the ball over led to a winless week in the Great Northern League for the Cardinals last week. Last Tuesday Medical Lake (2-9 GNL, 8-11 overall) dropped a 57-33 game to Clarkston, a 67-32 pasting at East Valley Friday and Saturday falling 56-44 at Cheney. Photo by Paul Delaney Medical Lake's Mike Tripp (3) applies some pressure to East Valley's Nick Stevens (20) during last Friday's Great Northern League basket- ball game played at East Valley. Medical Lake finished the regular season hosting West Val- ley (9-1, 16-2) this past Tuesday and will use the rest of the week preparing for a road playoff game next Tuesday, Feb. 8. That will come against the GNUs third- place team. "I don't even think it's a drought anymore," Cardinals' head coach Arnold Brown said. "We're missing a lot of easy stuff." And it's coming back to haunt his team in every game. Lay ups, free throws, turnovers, "We couldn't convert them," Brown said. At Cheney (5-5,11-7), Medical Lake jumped to an early lead, 14-7 after one period and 23-21 at the half. "We had the Blackhawks on the ropes in the first quarter," Brown said. "It could easily have been a bigger lead, had it not been for the misses on the easy stuff. And that changes a lot." "It changes your attitude a little bit, it changes your view on the game, it changes your effort a little bit," Brown said. "Scoring more points give the defense more energy." C.J. Skillingstad's 16 points led all scorers in the game and Kevin Fisher led the Cardinals with 15 while Adam Paulson added nine in a game where the Blackhawks outscored the Cardinals 35-22 in the second half. Those seemingly small mis- cues that are committed early eventually catch up at one point or another. "You don't really notice it sometimes in the beginning," Brown said. "We as coaches know those things are what catches us at the end, especially when it's a nip-tuck game." The same scenario played out Friday at East Valley (4-6, 11-7). "They made their shots and we missed our easy ones," Brown said. The Knights led 20-10 after the first quarter with possessions equal. "We already had missed five lay ups in the first quarter. Now instead of be- ing 20-10 it might be 20-16." Even though the post-season doesn't officially begin until next week, Brown said it's already play- off time as teams jockey for position in the standings in hopes of earning an all-important first-round home game. "It was a big game for East Valley because it allowed them to stay in the middle of the pack in the GNL," he said. Devon Prince's nine were tops for the Cardinals anemic offense while Fisher pitched in with an un- characteristic seven. Alex Haynes and Paulson each had six. East Valley got 14 from Ronnie Jarvis and 12 from Jake Reynolds. Tuesday against Clarkston (8-2, 15-3), Medical Lake's offense - outside of Fisher's 16 points - never got unpacked, trailing 12- 8 after the first quarter and 28-15 a t the half. Brady Am0n e le d the Bantams with 13 points• Medical Lake, Brown said, has been in most every game they've played at one point or another• "There's something there." So he will continue to push at trying to get his players to make the easy baskets• "Once we get that we'll get over that 30 or 40 mark," he said• "I think we're getting enough hard-earned points, it's just the easy ones." Brown hopes that when the sixth-seeded Cardswill come back for the first round of post- season next Tuesday, people will be seeing a different team and ask, "who's this team, they're making that stuff. Is that the same team t saw.7" That's the danger of playoffs he said. "If you can put it all together one night anything can happen." Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@chenefreepress.com. Cardinals' wrestlers look toward districts By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter Medical Lake's wrestlers will take being healthy as their big- gest victory heading into district competition this Friday and Saturday at West Valley High School. The Cardinals finished their Great Northern League season with losses 57-13 last week at home to defending 2A state champ Deer Park and then on the road Thursday at Cheney 45-20. "The good news is that we are healthy and with a good week of practice should be prepared for districts this weekend," head coach Sam Petersen said. "We are taking 22 wrestlers and hope to push five to eight through to regionals the following week in Ellensburg." • Despite the two losses, Pe- tersen said "I thought we wres- tled very hard'against Deer Park and lost several close matches." It took eight rounds of matches before Medical Lake was able to earn its first win, that coming at 189 where Aaron held on to score a 6-5 win over Jared Swiger. That made it a 39-3 score• Zeb Klemke followed with a pin in 1:59 against Shawn Kon- zal at 103 and Dylan Usselman scored a 12-2 major decision over Jaren Burton at 119. "I thought we wrestled very hard against Deer Park and lost several close matches," Petersen said. Among them were Anton King falling 3-1 to Cody Dehn at 125 poundsl Dean Petersen dropped a 3-1 decision at 152 to Billy Rhodes, second in state last year and a state champion two years ago. Tim Haynes lost a tough match 1-0 toDylan Miller, third in state last year. At Cheney, "We did not wres- tle very aggressive or tough," Petersen said. "Even the wres- tlers who won for us seemed to struggle with their intensity." Anton King scored a 12-1 major decision over Eric Barrio at 125 and Klemke pinned Ian Shirey in 5:03 at 103. In 160 Petersen earned a pin and Haynes closed out with a 10-2 major decision over D.J. Empert at 171. "I don't know if it was Deer Park the night before or Cheney just beat us up," Petersen said. Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com. VISIT US ON-LINE AT WWW.ItAR VES TFOODSNW. 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