CHELAN — The Chelan girls basketball team shot 27 percent from the field and committed 26 turnovers Thursday against Cashmere.
The Goats won 36-31.
Frank Phelps simply chuckled when asked if he thought his team’s victory was an ugly one.
“Maybe it was,” the Chelan coach said. “But in this league, really, there is no such thing. We’ll take it any way we can get it. Sometimes, good defense will make it look like you’re not executing offensively.”
During the past couple of seasons, Chelan has racked up several of these types of wins, though; the Goats won Thursday because they seemed to be more comfortable playing the type of game that the contest turned out to be.
As usual, the Goats’ victory came as a result of their stellar rebounding (Chelan had a 41-30 advantage on the boards, with junior post Abby Phelps grabbing 22 caroms) and tenacious defense (they held the Bulldogs to 23 percent shooting).
“My dad told us that this was going to be a dogfight,” said Abby Phelps, who led all scorers with 15 points. “We knew that we’d have to be ready, because it’d be an all-out battle. We just told ourselves, ‘Don’t be outworked.’ That was our mentality. We knew we had to match their work ethic, and we did a good job of that.”
The game was close throughout, but Chelan (9-0, 4-0 Caribou Trail League) sealed its victory thanks to four free throws — two from Abby Phelps and two from Courtney Dietrich — in the last 20 seconds. Cashmere (5-6, 3-2) prefers to play an up-tempo style on both ends of the court, but in some ways, that style hurt the Bulldogs against Chelan, a team that can match the Bulldogs in terms of sheer athleticism.
“We hurried a little too much,” said Cashmere coach Chris Cloakey. “We want to play fast, but we don’t want to be in a hurry. We rushed some shots, and as a result didn’t shoot well. You think that when you hold a team to 36 points that you would win, but we never hit that one big shot to spark our offense. We talk a lot about getting easy shots, and tonight Chelan got more of the easier shots.”
Chelan, which advanced to the 1A state quarterfinals last season, entered Thursday’s contest ranked sixth in the Tacoma News Tribune’s state poll, and will face a pair of state-ranked teams in the next week — Brewster and Okanogan, the top two teams in the CTL.
But the Goats will assuredly be able to take some confidence away from the fact that they beat a team that they hadn’t defeated at their home gym in several years.
“Two teams played extremely hard tonight,” Frank Phelps said. “It was a shame that one team had to lose, but I’m not disappointed that (the losing team) wasn’t us.”