AMANDA PARK - Freshman Evan Hendrickson had a break out game by scoring 17 points and making four steals against Lake Quinault in the teams' final league game of the season Saturday, Feb. 8. However, those points and (soon to be named the league's MVP) Sean Houghton's 18 points, plus six assists, weren't enough and the Comets lost 50-46.
The Comets' league record dropped to 9-7, 10-10 overall and put them into a tie for fifth with South Bend in the final league standings. The fifth place tie was resolved with a coin flip with the Comets getting the sixth place draw.
Naselle will face off with the Central League's third-seeded team this Friday, Feb. 14, for their first district tournament game at 7 p.m. That first game could be at Mossyrock, Pe Ell, or even Cathlamet depending upon the remaining games in the Central League.
Poor shooting, in contrast to their previous game, cost the Comets. They only shot 27 percent for the game and they were even colder in the first half when they fell steadily behind. Hendrickson, alone, had his shots falling in the early going.
The Naselle team made a valiant effort to catch the Elk after falling far behind in the first three quarters. Trailing 43-29 going into the fourth quarter, the Comets outscored the Elk 16-7 in the final eight minutes and came within a three-point shot of tying the game.
However, the Elk dropped in their only successful foul shot of the game with two seconds left to claim the 50-46 win. By winning, the Elk earned a home court advantage for their first tournament game. The Comets' loss cost them the home court advantage for their first tournament game.
Before their final surge, the Comets had trailed 13-5 after one quarter, 25-16 at the half and 43-29 after three periods. Most of the Naselle scoring had fallen on the shoulders of Houghton and Hendrickson.
The Comets only got a total of 10 points from their next three highest scorers, in contrast to the 45 points that trio had scored against South Bend in their previous game. Robin Andrea and Jordan Petrovich each pulled down six rebounds to lead the Comets' board patrol against the rangy Elk.
Coach Ryan Bjornsgard said, "We didn't give up, but we didn't shoot very well and they rebounded much better than we did (34-23). We are going to have to improve those figures in our tournament games."
By losing the Elks game, the Comets dropped into a bracket where they play the third place Central League team (Pe Ell, Mossyrock, or even Cathlamet) in their first tourney game.
A win in their first game will put them up against the Pacific Leagues number two-seeded team in their second game. A loss in their first game will put them into a "loser out" game in their second game. Either way, it is not an easy road that the Comets are taking.
The Naselle JVs won their game with the young Elk.
Naselle 5 11 13 16 - 46
Quinault 13 12 18 7 - 50
Naselle (46) - Sean Houghton 18, Evan Hendrickson 17 andrea 4, Gradt 3, Petrovich 3, Queral 1, Badger, White, Queener; FG - 14/51 = 27 percent, 3s - 6/21, FT - 10/16; Rebounds (23): Andrea 6, Petrovich 6; Assists: Houghton 5; Steals: Hendrickson 4
Lake Quinault (50) - Curtis Richards 17, J.D. Nebel 14, C. Tweed 8, R. Tweed 4, Winningham 3, Kalama 2, Camus 2, Blake, Morrison; FG - 23/51 = 45 percent, 3s - 3/13, FT - 1/5; Rebounds (34)