NASELLE - An unbelievable night at the free throw line, where they made 31 of 36 tree throws, helped to key the Naselle Comets' 71-58 win over the South Bend Indians Thursday, Feb. 6. The win improved the Comets' league record to 9-6, 10-9 overall and kept them in a tie for fourth-place with Lake Quinault with the two teams set to play each other in their final league game.
The Indians are probably the quickest team NHS has faced this season and they average close to 20 steals a game. In this game, it was a case of "speed kills," but in this case, the speed killed the Indians chances as they were called for 26 fouls in their attempts to steal the ball. Naselle was only called for 16 fouls but it was only 14-12 on the foul call through the third quarter.
Oh, they stole the ball all right, making NHS turn the rock over 23 times, but they also picked up all of those fouls and the Comets hit their foul shots. And hit them. And hit some more - making 19 straight before they finally missed one and 17 of 21 in the fourth period.
Sean Houghton had all five free throw misses for Naselle, but they came late in the game after he had run himself ragged. He scored 32 points on 5-for-11 shooting from the field and 22-for-27 from the line, going 10 for 14 in the fourth quarter when the Indians really stepped up their defensive pressure and he added 10 rebounds and six assists.
Other Comets also stepped up with scoring and rebounding. Jordan Petrovich had 14 points, Tom Gradt had 12 points and 7 rebounds and Robin Andrea 9 points and 13 boards.
NHS never trailed in the game as they led 19-8 after one quarter. The Indians, led by Ryan Dokter's eight points went on an eight point run in the second period to earn a 16-12 quarter's advantage. NHS led 31-24 at the half.
Naselle then held off every Indian charge, especially by making their free throws and NHS tacked on second half quarters of 12-10 and 28-24, to get their 71-58 win.
Naselle coach Ryan Bjornsgard said, "South Bend is the quickest team that we will play this year. They keyed on Sean and Jordan but both of them came through. Sean had a great game in all areas, but especially at the foul line. Tom and Robin really stepped up and provided us with some important points and rebounds. Our rebounding advantage (38-22) was a huge factor."
The game was designated as senior night for the Comets when senior cheer leaders Randi Magnuson and Sheriann Wirkkala and senior basketball players Robin Andrea II, Zach Badger, Tom Gradt, Sean Houghton and Matt Queral and their parents, were given recognition for their careers at NHS.
The Naselle JVS lost a half-time lead and lost to the young Indians 44-38.
The Naselle and South Bend basketball fans in attendance donated $232 to the Cassie Van Dusen Fund during the game. That fund is to provide support for Cassie and the Jeff and Julie Van Dusen family after Cassie had been stricken with meningitis and flown by Life Fight to a Portland hospital.
South Bend 8 16 10 24 - 58
Naselle 19 12 12 28 - 71
South Bend (58) - Jesse Eang 23, Jon Allison 19, Dokter 8, Mounkhoune 3, Rogers 2, Morris 2, Yi; FG - 22/65 = 34 percent, 3s - 6/28, FT - 8/17; Rebounds (22); Turnovers (14); Fouls (26)
Naselle (71) - Sean Houghton 32, Jordan Petrovich 14, Tom Gradt 12, Robin Andrea 9, Evan Hendrickson 4, Zach Badger, Matt Queral; FG - 19/40 = 48 percent, 3s - 2/13, FT - 31/36; Rebounds (38): Andrea 13, Houghton 10, Gradt 7; Assists: Houghton 6; Turnovers (23); Fouls (16)