Comets beat NWC, fall to Raymond

<I>DAMIAN MULINIX photo</I><BR>Naselle's Emily Green saves a ball from out of bounds late in the fourth quarter of Saturday's win over NWC.

NASELLE - The Naselle Comets girls' basketball team got back on the winning track with an easy 49-35 win over the Northwest Christian Navigators of Lacey on Saturday, Jan. 20, in Naselle's Lyle Patterson Gym. The Comets owned the boards with 52 rebounds, divided evenly between offensive and defensive rebounds. That board control gave the Comets control of the game. Coach Bob Torppa said, "When we get three players in double figures and 52 rebounds, we are hard to beat."

The Comets did have three players in double figures, led by Ashley Ahlstrom with 13 points and 12 rebounds, earned in only two and a half quarters of play. Erin Saari topped the Naselle scorers with 15 points, plus six rebounds and four steals for her 60th steal of the season, and Brandi Keightley had 10 points, along with eight rebounds and five steals. Kellyn Pakenen had four assists to lead the Comets in that department.

The Comets took control of the game from the opening tip, leading 14-8 after one period and 27-17 at the half. The Comets maintained their edge after the break with an 11-6 third period before closing out the game with an 11-12 fourth period for their 14-point win.

The win raised the Comets league record to 4-3 and 7-6 overall. The Navigators' league record dropped to 3-4. The Comets have seven games remaining in their league season, beginning with Ocosta at Naselle on Monday, Jan. 22. A busy eight days of games has them going to Ocosta for a rematch on Thursday, Jan. 25, entertaining Willapa Valley on Saturday, Jan. 30, and traveling to South Bend on Tuesday, Jan 30. The results of that hectic week of basketball will go a long way toward determining where, and if, the Comets post-season hopes lie.

NORTHWEST CHRISTIAN (35) - Wagner 14, Bodine 7, Post 6, Edwards 4, Isoz 2, Minton 2, Crasley, Collins

NASELLE (49) - Erin Saari 15, Ashley Ahlstrom 13, Brandi Keightley 10, Pakenen 4, Steppe 4, Landis 2, Klinger 1, Fletcher, Beaulaurier, Green; FG - (2's) 19 of 49 for 39 percent, (3's) 1 of 3, FT - 8 of 15; Rebounds (52): Ahlstrom 12, Keightley 8, Landis 8 Steppe 6, Saari 6, Pakenen 5, Fletcher 4; Assists (10): Pakenen 4; Steals (14): Keightley 5, Saari 4; Turnovers (20)

Comets girls lose in fourth quarter to GullsRAYMOND - The Naselle Comets stayed right with the Pacific League-leading Raymond Seagulls for three quarters of a girls' basketball game played in Raymond Tuesday, Jan. 16. However, the Gulls used a 21-8 fourth quarter to pull away from the Comets for a 46-30 win. The Comets record dropped to 3-3 in league and 6-6 overall. League leading Raymond improved to 6-1 in league and 9-4 overall.

The Comets, with Ashley Ahlstrom (11 points) and Cheryl Steppe (nine points) leading the way, kept pace with the Gulls through most of the early game. Naselle trailed 13-7 after one, but used a 9-6 second period to only trail 19-16 at the half. A 6-6 standoff in the third period brought the two teams into the crucial fourth quarter with Raymond holding a three-point lead.

That was when the Gulls were able to take advantage of their margin of free throw attempts (26-17) to pull away from the Comets. Tammy McGough made eight of nine free throws in the quarter to give her a game-high 13 points. The Gulls made 20 of 26 free throws in the game. Teammate Lisa Kongbouakhay added 10 to the Raymond point production.

The Comets are now entering a crucial series of games which may very well determine their post season playoff hopes. Naselle is currently in fourth place in the league (as of Jan. 15) with upcoming games against Northwest Christian, (which has a nearly identical record as the Comets' record), two games against Ocosta, (which has yet to win a league game), and a return match-up with South Bend, (which lost to the Comets the first time around). A winning record in those four games would do much to set up the Comets for their stretch drive when they close the league season against three of the stronger league teams.

NASELLE (30) - Ashley Ahlstrom 11, Cheryl Steppe 9, Keightley 4, Saari 2, Beaulaurier 2, Landis 1, Klinger 1, Pakenen, Fletcher, Green; FG -11-39 (.282). FT - 8-17.

RAYMOND (46) - Tammy McGough 13, Lisa Kongbouakhay 10, Rutherford 7, Webber 4, Khammala 4, Miller 4, Montgomery 2, Stepp 2, Buck, Settlemyre: FG - 13-51 (.255). FT -20-26.

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