LACENTER - Ilwaco used a huge 16-6 final quarter to run past LaCenter 50-43 there Friday and take sole possession of first place in the Trico League with a perfect 4-0 mark, while the Lady Wildcats fall to 3-1. Vallori Crowston at point guard was the dynamic force that did in the Lady Wildcats as she poured in 14 points, stole the basketball eight times, snared six rebounds and dished out five assists.

Carley Kitzman added seven points and 10 rebounds and Kenzi Wirkkala contributed five points and eight boards. "We were able to hang around and stay close enough to LaCenter and then made a run in the fourth period to win the game, pretty much the same way we did against Castle Rock," Coach Ned Bittner explained.

The Lady Fishermen were ahead 24-22 at intermission as the two teams traded leads throughout the first half, but Ilwaco fell behind 37-34 going into the final period. It was then that Crowston and her mates began creating turnovers and making crucial hoops and in the end Bittner said, "We made just enough free throws down the stretch to pull out the win."

Ilwaco was a dismal 12-29 from the charity stripe (34 percent), but made 18 field goals including a pair of three-pointers to 15 field goals for the Lady Wildcats, who put down three treys. LaCenter was 10-24 from the line for 42 percent, as both teams found foul shooting a mystery in the battle for first place.

Crowston turned her ankle in the first period and did not return until midway through the second stanza and did "an excellent job of getting everyone involved in our offense and in creating steals on defense" according to Bittner. "Another key to our win over LaCenter was the defensive job Aimee Banuet and Cameo Ulbricht did on Lauren Baker and the defense of Alexa Wirkkala and Marin McDonnell on Hannah Trigg. Baker and Trigg had been each averaging close to 20 points a game, but we played them physically tough and held them to four and five points."

With the win Ilwaco improved to 9-5 overall, and atop the Trico with a 4-0 league record. The streaking Lady Fishermen have won seven of eight games. Castle Rock and LaCenter are both 3-1, White Salmon is 2-2 and Kalama and Stevenson are 0-4 in league play. The Lady Wildcats are 9-4 for the year. Ilwaco won the JV contest 50-33.

Ilwaco - Kitzman 7, Banuet 5, Ulbricht 4, Crowston 14, Wirkkala 6, Kelly, McDonnell 1, Wirkkala 5, Tapio 8

LaCenter - Sydney Wise 6, Katrina Chamberlain 12, Trigg 5, Moore 13, Baker 4, Monson 3

Seaside snaps Ilwaco's six-game win streak 47-42 ILWACO - The Lady Fishermen trailed by three points at the end of the first and second periods and were within three in the third period, but couldn't catch Seaside as the Lady Gulls held on for a 47-42 non-league victory in Ilwaco Jan. 20. The loss snapped a six-game win streak for Ilwaco.

"I thought we competed very well against a good team," coach Ned Bittner said. "We need to be stronger in loose ball situations against more aggressive teams like Seaside, but overall I was very pleased with our effort."

Alexa Wirkkala came off the bench to score a season-high 18 points for Ilwaco and Vallori Crowston added 11 points and dished out six assists while snagging five steals. Kitzman had seven points and seven rebounds. Kenzi Wirkkala also pulled down seven rebounds.

Ilwaco made 16 of 44 field goal tries (36 percent) and was 8-13 from the foul line (62 percent), while the Lady Gulls found the hoop for 30 percent of their shots from the floor (20-66) and were a sub-par 7-17 from the charity stripe (40 percent). Seaside won the battle of the boards 48-36 and forced 36 turnovers to 22 of their own.

Seaside - Tadei 8, Mayfield 15, Lent 8, Toyas 5, Potter 9, Richardson 2

Ilwaco - Kitzman 7, Banuet 2, Ulbricht 2, Crowston 11, Wirkkala 18, Wirkkala 2

Lady Fishermen sink Comets with clutch foul shooting 45-34NASELLE - The Lady Fishermen sank eight of nine foul shots in the final 3:15 to notch a 45-34 win over Naselle in non-league play at Lyle Patterson Gymnasium. The Comets coach Bobby Torppa said, "We played probably our best game since the first of the season, we rebounded well, took care of the basketball, and defended well, but we just didn't put the ball in the basket."

The Comets had lost 64-37 to Ilwaco five weeks ago. Nicole Tarabochia scored seven of her game-high 14 points in the initial stanza.

With 3:15 left in the contest Wirkkala hit on two of three tries after being fouled attempting a trey and Naselle would get no closer than 37-32. The Lady Fishermen only scored one field goal in the final period, but converted 10 of 13 foul shots to pull out the 45-34 win. Ilwaco made but three field goals in the fourth frame and none in the final four minutes, despite having several close-in attempts fall tantalizingly off the rim.

Ilwaco Coach Ned Bittner said, "Naselle has improved a lot since the first time we played them. They did a good job against our presses. We made good on our foul shots down the stretch."

Naselle was held to 11-50 from the field for 22 percent by a combination of Ilwaco's defense and "missing about 20 layups or point-blank shots" according to Torppa. Meanwhile Ilwaco connected on 15-46 from the floor for 32 percent. Rebounding was even at 40-40 and the Comets committed 21 turnovers to 23 for Ilwaco. The Lady Fishermen sank 15-23 from the foul line for 65 percent, while the home team was only 12-25 for 48 percent. Naselle was whistled for 19 fouls to 20 for Ilwaco.

Alexa Wirkkala led the Lady Fishermen with a dozen points and Ashley Tapio added 10. Kitzman knocked down seven points, Marin McDonnell six.

Ilwaco - Kitzman 7, Banuet 4, Crowston 2, Wirkkala 12, Kelly 2, McDonnell 6, Wirkkala 2, Tapio 10

Naselle - Laney 10, Leeland 8, Tarabochia 14, Wasmundt 2

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