Cheney upends Council Grove in State opener

The Cheney Cardinals get ready to play Council Grove in Wednesday night's first-round State game. Travis Mounts/The Times-Sentinel

By Travis Mounts

The Cheney girls basketball team is heading to the next round of State after Wednesday’s 44-29 victory over Council Grove. The sixth-seeded Cardinals (20-4) handed No. 3 Council Grove (21-3) just its third loss of the season.

Cheney’s defense kept the Braves’ reserves from scoring, as the Cardinals’ bench outscored Council Grove 18-0. Madison Freund scored 12 coming off the bench, and starting center Haley Albers scored a game-high 13. The senior duo combined to score nearly as many points as the entire Council Grove team.

Cheney opened the game on a 4-0 run, but the Braves came back to take an 8-6 lead. That would be the last time Council grove was head.

The Cardinals went on a 9-0 run at the end of the first quarter and into the second quarter for a 15-8 lead.

Cheney’s Madison Freund points to teammate Haley Albers after Freund scored 2 points on an assist from Albers.

Council Grove quickly scored twice early in the second quarter to pull to within 3 points, 15-12, scoring the second basket after stealing a Cheney inbounds pass.

An 8-1 Cheney run in the second half helped the Cardinals to a 12-point lead. At halftime, the Cardinals led 10, 28-18. Albers scored all of her points before halftime, and Freund had scored 8 of her 12 before the break.

Council Grove scored twice to open the second half, cutting Cheney’s lead to 28-22.

The Cardinals responded with a three-point basket by Kristen Wewe and a pair of free throws by Emily Monson to take an 11-point lead, 33-22 at the end of the third quarter.

The first few minutes of the fourth quarter were rough, as both teams made mistakes with the ball and struggled to score.

Leading by 12 with just under three minutes to play, the Cardinals began running off the clock, forcing Council Grove to foul Cheney made was 3-for-5 shooting free throws down the stretch to clinch the win.

Cheney got 7 points from Campbell and 6 from Monson, and 3 points each from Wewe and Miranda Ortiz.

The Cardinals will play in the semifinal round at 6:30 p.m. against No. 2 Thomas More Prep (23-1). TMP destroyed Independent 61-29 Wednesday.

In the other half of the bracket, top seed beat Riley County 44-24, and No. 5 Nemaha Central defeated No. 4 Humboldt 47-37. Hugoton and Nemaha Central play at 3 p.m. Friday.