The Deer Park boys basketball team, using a 8-3 run to close out the game, defeated the Chewelah Cougars 63-56 on Thursday in the season opener for both schools.
The Cougars, who trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half, trimmed the Deer Park lead to 55-53 on a basket by Brandon Smith with 2 minutes to play. The Stags responded with free throws by Reese Ferguson and Uconn Peone sandwich between a jumper by Zach Mohr to extend the margin to 60-53 with less than a minute to play.
Ben Johnstone’s three-pointer gave the Cougars a little hope, which was quickly extinguished by a free throw and basket by Peone to close out the game.
“I’m pleased how they came together in adversity,” said Deer Park head coach Kevin Ryan on his team’s ability to weather the Cougars’ late game rally.
At the game’s outset it did not look like the Stags would need any late-game heroics to win their opener. The Cougars, who trailed 19-1, did not get their first basket, a short jumper by Tyler Monasmith, with 1:19 left in the first quarter.
The Stags, however, ran into trouble when starting center Blake Starbuck picked up his third foul midway through the second quarter. The Cougars used the situation to exert control under the basket to trim the Stag lead to 27-24 by halftime.
Chewelah actually took a 36-33 lead on a three-pointer by Caleb Wiebe midway through the third quarter, only to have Deer Park respond with a 12-0 run over the next four minutes.
“We can go on those spurts,” Ryan said.
Peone led the Stags with 21 points while Ferguson, seeing extended minutes because of Starbuck’s foul trouble, chipped in a career high 15 points. Monasmith took led the Cougars with 19 points.