GRANGER, Wash. — White Swan always knows who to turn to when it needs a basket to stop a run or create some momentum.
Jessica Cheney showed why she plays that role as the Cougars held off Lake Roosevelt 59-53 in a Class 2B girls district semifinal Saturday night in Granger. The senior scored a game-high 19 points with two 3-pointers and added seven rebounds to extend White Swan’s winning streak to 12.
“She’s a gamebreaker,” coach Don Jones said. “We always try and go to her towards the end of the game just because she’s got a good shot, she hits most of her layups, most of her free throws.”
She even added a game-clinching layup on a long pass just before the buzzer off a set play for a fitting end to a night largely controlled by White Swan. It never trailed after Kiana Castilleja scored to tie the game at 2 and the Cougars led by 14 after she scored again to cap an 11-0 run to end the third quarter.
But Lake Roosevelt answered with a 10-0 run to open the fourth before Shiala Wolfsberger found the perfect time to hit her only 3-pointer of the game. She scored 14 and Castilleja added 15.
The 5-foot-1 point guard also managed to grab six rebounds, mostly by outhustling taller opponents. Jones said Castilleja clearly listened when the staff emphasized in practice the importance of always following shots with the clock running down, as she scored twice in the final seconds of a quarter.
“She’s really small and tiny so people lose track of her,” Jones said. “She kills me, man, because I don’t think she’s running fast but she really glides down the floor.”
It took a team effort to beat some strong fullcourt pressure in the second half, and Jones said his players looked a little tired. But they persevered as he went deep into his bench to try to keep them fresh.
Jones said he also kept in mind the importance of saving some energy for Saturday’s championship, when White Swan (17-5) will meet rival Mabton for a third time at 4 p.m. in Granger’s new gym. The Cougars went on the road to win the last meeting 54-53, avenging a 66-63 loss at home in early January.
“We’re used to playing those Friday and Saturday night games and it’s going to be a battle between Mabton and us,” Jones said. “It always is. Mabton and us are similar. We’re not real tall. We like to dribble-drive, we like to pass or cut.”
WHITE SWAN — Jessica Cheney 19, Kian Castilleja 15, Shiala Wolfsberger 14, Anderson 5, Bass 3, Zagelow 2, Zintzun 1, Pineda 0, Carey 0, Ike-Andrews 0. Totals 19-61, 18-35 59.
LAKE ROOSEVELT — Kayla St. Pierre 12, Olbricht 9, Ludwig 7, Reyes 4, Clark 2, Pakootas 9, Priest 4, Edmo 3, Wapato 3, Hansen. Totals 20-52,13-27, 53.
White Swan 11 18 15 15 — 59
Lake Roosevelt 10 10 12 21 — 53
3-point goals—White Swan 3-15 (Cheney 2-7, Wolfsberger 1-4), Lake Roosevelt 0-9. Rebounds—White Swan 40 (Cheney 7, Anderson 7, Castilleja 6), Lake Roosevelt 41 (Olbricht 8, Ludwig 7). Steals—White Swan 9, Lake Roosevelt 2. Turnovers—White Swan 9, Lake Roosevelt 11. Fouls—White Swan 9, Lake Roosevelt 11. Fouled Out—Pakootas.