NASELLE - The Naselle Comets girls won their third in a row - all league games - as they thumped South Bend 44-21 in a Pacific League game played in Naselle's Lyle Patterson Gym Friday, Jan. 5. The Comets balanced team scoring effort saw nine of their 11 players get in the scoring column. The Comets' league record improved to 3-1, their overall record to 6-4. South Bend fell to 1-3 in league, 1-7 overall.

The Comets took control from the opening tip and scored in double figures in three of the four quarters while holding South Bend to single digit scoring or less in all four periods. Naselle held South Bend scoreless in the second period when they were only able to get off three shots. The Comets led 15-9, 23-9 and 34-16 at the close of each of the first three quarters.

Brandi Keightley and Haley Landis led the balanced Naselle scoring with nine points each. Cheryl Steppe and Ashley Ahlstrom led the rebounders with 10 and nine boards respectively, while Colette Beaulaurier added four boards and three steals. Erin Saari led the Naselle defense with six steals.

Naselle's pressure defense was able to force South Bend into 34 turnovers, many of which led directly to Comets' points. That was especially evident in South Bend's scoreless second quarter.

Coach Bob Torppa said, "The girls got after it pretty good defensively in the second quarter. South Bend was only able to get three shots in the whole period."

The Comets entertain Ocosta this Thursday, Jan 11 and they travel to North Beach on Saturday, Jan. 13, and to Raymond on Tuesday, Jan. 16. All three games are Pacific League games.

NASELLE (44) - Brandi Keightley 9, Haley Landis 9, Ahlstrom 7, Steppe 6, Beaulaurier 4, Klinger 3, Green 3, Pakenen 2, Saari 2; Shooting: FG - 18-53 (.340), FT - 4-14; Rebounds: Steppe 10, Ahlstrom 9; Steals: Saari 6, Beaulaurier 3

SOUTH BEND (21) - Deborah Nhotsoubanh 6, Heffernan 5, Anderson 4, Nisbet 4, Bisbee 2; Shooting: FG - 10-24 (.417). FT - 0-4; Rebounds: Anderson 6; Turnovers: (34)

Saari soars in win over VikingsMENLO - Happy New Year, Naselle girls' basketball fans! The Naselle Comets opened the New Year with a win in one of the most difficult game venues in the league. Naselle did what is very hard for any visiting team - win a basketball game in Willapa Valley's Ed "Bull" Tenoski gym. But the Comets did just that behind the double-double of Erin Saari with a come-from-behind 50-46 Pacific League girls' win in a game played Wednesday, Jan. 3.

While Saari led the way with 22 points and 11 rebounds, she was the leading point of the Comets team efforts. Brandi Keightley returned, after missing several games since mid-December with a hand injury, with a 12-point game. Cheryl Steppe added seven points and Ashley Ahlstrom six points and they led a 49-rebound team performance with 13 and 15 boards respectively.

The Comets opened the game on a high note, leading 8-4 after the first eight minutes. But the Vikings took control in the second stanza with a 17-9 quarter and they led 21-17 at the intermission. The Comets superiority on the boards really began to take effect in the second half as they outscored the Vikings 33-25 in the last two periods. Naselle used an 18-14 third quarter to tie the Vikings at 35-all, going into the final eight minutes. The Comets were then able to again outscore the Vikings by four points, 15-11, to earn their key league win.

The Vikings got within a point at 46-47 with a little over a minute to play, but the Comets were able to make the last three points for their win. Coach Bob Torppa said, "They fouled Erin (Saari) with 53 ticks left and she made two free throws. We did a great job of stopping them and getting the ball back. Then with little time left, they fouled Kellyn (Pakenen) and she made one-of-two to give us a four point win."

The Comets third period comeback was keyed by a switch from a zone defense to a man defense. That change and the Comets' board control proved to be decisive factors in the decision. Torppa said, "Kellyn did a great job on (Chelsi) Friese defensively. Ashley (Ahlstrom) played one of her best games, with six points and 15 rebounds. Ashley and Cheryl's (Steppe) timely screens helped battle Valley's full court press. Ashley has been known to take out two players out with one screen.

"We switched to a man to man defense at mid third quarter. We did a very good job defending a smaller quicker team and we were able to get more pressure on their shooters with our man defense. It was the best game of the season for Erin. For Brandi (Keightley) to come back after a month with only one practice and get 12 points was big for us," Torppa said.

NASELLE (50) - Erin Saari 22, Brandi Keightley 12, Steppe 7,

Ahlstrom 6, Pakenen 3, Fletcher, Klinger; Shooting: FG - 13 of 41 for 32 percent, 3's - 3 of 5, FT - 15 of 30; Rebounds (49) Ahlstrom 15,

Steppe 13, Saari 11; Steals (17): Saari 5, Ahlstrom 4; Blocks (7):

Steppe 3; Turnovers (29)

WILLAPA VALLEY (46) - Chelsi Freese 15, Larissa Rohr 15, Teylor Dickey 10, Crose 4, Millican 2: Shooting: FG -18-59. (.305). FT - 6-15

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