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February 12, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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February 12, 2015

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Thursday, February 12, 2015 Free Press Section 2 Page 1 File photo Vernon Adams hopes to wear the uniform of the Oregon Ducks in 2015, his former team's opening game opponent. EWU's record-setting quarterback will try to make Ducks' squad that faces Eagles Sept. 5 By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter For three years Vernon Adams has been off limits from being tackled by his Eastern Washington Univer- sity football teammates in practice and scrimmages. All that changed Monday, Feb. 9 when the All-American Eagles" quar- terback announced his transfer to the University of Oregon. He hopes to as- sume the job that was held by Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Marietta who decided to forego his senior season and entry April's NFL draft. EWU and Oregon meet in Eugene to open their respective 2015 football seasons on Sept. 5. "It's going to be crazy," Adams said. "The defense can finally tackle me." Adams, who had been a sought after commodity at quarterback by not only Oregon, but also UCLA and Texas, each seeking experience at the position, Tweeted his decision as follows: "Oregon it is! I want to thank God for this amazing opportunity. I want to thank all of Eagle Nation for all the love and support. Want to thank every single one of my teammates for pushing me to be a better man/athlete everyday these past four years," his statement read in part. Adams, twice runner-up for the Walter Payton Award given to the top Football Championship Subdivision See Adams page 4 Defense helps deliver rare Montana sweep By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter Defense is a word that has hardly found its way into the lexicon of the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team this year. But when your offense is saddled by the loss of the nation's leading scorer, desperate measures need to be considered. And it worked as the Eagles swept both Montana and Montana State in Big Sky Conference men's bas- ketball play for the first time in over a decade. The trip started with a 75-69 win over the Montana Grizzlies. With the victory, the Eagles ended a 12-game losing streak in Missoula at Dahlberg Arena, dating back to a 71-52 win Feb. 7, 2004. Then, despite a season-low field goal shooting percentage of just 35 percent, Eastern rallied late to earn a 61-51 win at Worthington Arena in Bozeman over the Bobcats. Eastern is now 9-1 in Big Sky play, 18-5 overall. The Eagles are ranked 12th again in this week's Col- mid-major poll. The sweep sets up a big showdown tonight (Feb. 12) with current conference leader, Sacramento State (10-1, 16-6) at 6:05 p.m. at Reese Court. Eastern com- plete's its h0me-stand with a 2:05 p.m. tipoff ~igainst Portland State,(5,6, 11-10), Saturday, Feb. 14. "We got our school's first road sweep in a long time, and we did it both nights with defense," EWU head coach Jim Hayford said. The effort started in a traditional house of horrors for the Eagles, Missoula, where, despite having top scorer Tyler Harvey not even make the road trip as his thigh contusion heals, others picked up the slack on both ends of the court. Senior point guard Drew Brandon equaled a career- high 27 points. Junior Venky Jois, hobbled recently with an ankle sprain, finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and equaled his career highs with seven assists and four steals. Substituting for Harvey, Felix Von Hofe scored 12. Eastern held Montana's two leading scorers - Martin Breunig and Jordan Gregory - to a combined 21 points on 6 of 24 shooting after both entered the game averaging more than 17 per game. Eastern held Montana scoreless for a 3 minute, 50 second stretch with the game clock under 10 minutes, breaking a 52-52 tie, outscoring the Grizzlies 10-2 to take a 63-54 lead with 6:42 to play. "It is a great win and I'm really happy for our team," Hayford said. "There were some Eastern fans who made the drive over to Missoula and it is great See EWU men page 4 Contributed photo by Todd Goodrich~University of Montana Eastern Washingt0n's Bogdan Bliznyuk defends against Montana's Fabijan Krslovic in last Thursday's 75-69 Eagle win in Missoula, the first for the team 'n Dahlberg Arena since 2004. Eastern women topple Montana schools, too By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter One was a nail-biter and the other a virtual breeze by comparison. And earning a Big Sky Conference women's bas- ketball home court sweep over Montana with a 65-64 victory over the league-leading Grizzlies, plus a 72-58 win Saturday afternoon against Montana State did a number of things for Eastern Washington's womens' basketball team. First the wins ended a four-game Eagles' losing streak. Next, it got them back in the hunt for the confer- ence championship. And finally - coupled with the men's road wins - helped Eastern earn a school-first weekend sweep of the Montana schools. The banner homestand concluded with the Eagles exploding for 45 second-half points versus Montana State and improve their Big Sky record to 64, 13-8 overall. That was in direct contrast to Thursday when Montana erased nearly all of an eight-point EWU lead in the final 50 seconds, but the Eagles were able to hang on. Against Montana, Hayley Hodgins led the Eagles with 14 points, while Jade Redmon added 13. Delaney had 10 points, "seven in the decisive Secoii~i "We only turned the ball over seven times, so I thought we played smart and with a lot of energy," EWU head coach Wendy Schuller said. The win was just the Eagles' 12th victory over Montana in 74 meet- ings. Eastern shot 40 percent from the field for the game. They were at 46.9 percent in the second half and outscored the Grizzlies 37-36. Montana was the Big Sky's best defensive team and Eastern became the first team Montana (9-2, 16-6) allowed to shoot at least 40 percent. In a back-and-forth game that was tied at the half 28-28, it was EWU that went on a game-changing run midway through the second half. With the score tied 4141 and 12 minutes, 5 seconds to play, a Delaney Hodgins' basket helped jumpstart a 12-2 run for Eastern. Redmon led four Eagles in double figures with a team-high 22 points, going 7-of-9 from the field while making both of her three-point tries against Montana State, which led 28-27 at the half. The Eagles scored on their first possession of the second half on a jumper from senior Melissa Williams. That ignited a game-changing 16-5 run over the next four minutes that saw the Eagles take a 43-32 lead. See EWU women page 4 Seven Cheney wrestlers advance to 2A regionals By AL STOVER Waterman, who Staff Reporter finished second at last This year's Great year's districts, received Northern League wres- a bye into the semifinals Photo by Al Stover tling districts Feb. 7 at where he pinned East Cheney's Cameron Wiseman breaks down East East Valley was a differ- Valley's Bryan West- Valley's Mac Romney during their match in the semi- ent landscape with the wood halfway through finals of the 138.pound division. Wiseman went on to absences of Colville andthe first period. In the win his first District 7 title. Deer Park, who moved to finals he pinned West the Northeast A League Valley's Quintin Stans- chances of winning their The semifinals were in the fall that only al- berry in the middle of the brackets, despite endur- tough for Cheney. Nguy- lowed for the top three third period to earn his ing some hardships dur- en, Ferguson and Ran- finishers in each weight third-consecutive trip to ing the regular season, dolph lost via close deci- to would move on to regionals. "The chips continued to signs while Pederson and the Class 2A Region IV After a first-roundbe stacked against them Smith were pinned by tournament Feb. 13-14in bye, Wiseman scored and they battled back," their opponents. Ellensburg. pins over Pullman's. Rasmussen said. "It's"After our big guys Yet history repeatedHunter Muraszawski great to see them get a lost, you could see our itself fortheCheneyHigh and East Valley's Mactaste of success." morale go down," Ras- wrestling team as seven Romney. He pinned EV's Taylor Nguyen (113), mussen said. "We had Blackhawks advanced to Nathan Chapman late in Justin Randolph (170), a team pep talk and our regionals, the secondperiodtowinKodi Smith (195), Mi-guys rallied back in the Cameron Wiseman his first district title, chael Ferguson (220) and next two rounds." (138pounds) and Devon Head coach Brad Garrett Pederson (285) Billy Bakke (138), Water~an (182) captured Rasmussen said he earned places at region- BradenWirth(120),Fran- District 7 titles in their knew both Waterman als after they all finished weight divisions, and Wiseman had good third in their brackets. See CHS wrestling page 2 Ore,gon move is bi leap for 'Big Play V.A.' By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter A gray day in Cheney turned a little bit blue Mon- day. Vernon Adams made his much anticipated de- cision to transfer to the University of Oregon for his semor season of football eligibility in 2015. Despite him "ducking" out of town earlier than we all would have wished, Adams has so many people wishing him the best of luck. In having this immense privilege to tell stories such as those I have been able to do in chronicling Adams" amazing exploits over the past three years at Eastern, I cannot think of many "kids" who were as endearing. Even after passing for six touchdowns and a gazil- lion yards, following such a game he was the first to al- ways credit his teammates. And hopefully they, too, will re- member that first -- and then his departure a year early -- when they think of V.A. As the rumors of his possible transfer first began to eek out, the questions came seeking insight on just what might be his de- cision. I put on the parent's hat, the one worn when trying to have good heart-to-heart chats over the years with daughters over things such as schools, cars, jobs and apartments. They rarely listened at the time, but years later would often confide, "Why didn't we listen to you and Mom?" It didn't happen often, but when it did it was nice to know we might have been smarter than we appeared at the t~ne, See Crunch Time page 4