NHS Girls Tourney Game 3

SPOKANE - In one of the greatest reversals in Class "B" tournament history, the team which, a day earlier, broke a 14-year-old record for scoring the fewest points in a girls Class "B" tournament game, came from 17 points behind and won their game by 10 points a day later.

That team was the Naselle Comettes, as they defeated the King's West Warriors 65-55, to qualify for the final day trophy round. The win came in the third day's consolation games where the losers went home. It gave NHS a 24-2 record.

NHS came back from a game where they could only scored a low record 18 points to a game where they scored 65 points, which proved to be the third highest scoring game of this year's girls' tournament. They didn't do it the easy way in this game either, as they trailed the Warriors by 17 points, at 29-12, midway through the second quarter.

NHS was in deep trouble. As assistant coach Tim Wirkkala said, "We were still very tentative in the early part of this game. We had experienced offensive ineptitude against Lind-Ritzville and that is the way we started this game."

NHS fell behind early on and trailed 17-9 by the end of quarter one as they gave up three treys to the hot shooting Warriors. On the offensive end, the Comettes were struggling with their shooting as they trailed 12-6 after Nora Darcher scored the game's first points. They gradually fell further behind as Kings was the more aggressive team in their shooting as well as in their overall play.

The Warriors, with Taryn Hanley scoring eight points in a 12-2 run in the first four minutes of quarter two, led by 17 points with almost five minutes left in the first half. Coach Rob Dalton tried all sort of player combinations including benching starter Fritha Davern in favor of starting Dawn Herman. Katie Klinger replaced Lucy Rubio when she caught a stray elbow and got a bloody nose and Klinger scored early in the first quarter. Dalton also subbed Rubio and Davern early and followed with Kelli Revis, all in the first quarter.

No matter the combination of players, NHS was still losing ground in the scoring column. To make matters worse, Pauly picked up three quick fouls and Herman, Rubio, and Darcher each had two fouls by early in the second quarter. NHS appeared to not be getting any refereeing breaks in the foul department and their point deficit seemed to get worse each trip down the court.

The Comettes finally got things going with a 12-6 mini-run in the last half of quarter two. With Herman working hard at rebounding and getting a conventional three point play and Darcher scoring seven points, NHS crafted a second quarter where they were only outscored 18-15 and trailed 35-24 at the intermission.

However, all was still not in synch in the Comettes' world and it got more out of rhythm when Darcher picked up her third and fourth fouls in a quick 30 second cycle early in the third period. Dalton quickly got the hard working Herman back in the game. With both teams playing turnover ball, NHS still trailed by ten with five minutes left to play in the quarter.

The time was right for a change in the game climate and that came in the form of a Rubio Rainbow trey. Seconds later, Pauly picked up her fourth foul and Dalton replaced her with Revis. After Davern scored from a Herman assist, Rubio painted another rainbow. Davern hit a foul shot, Rubio stole the ball and scored. Two more steals, by Smith and Rubio, didn't produce any points, but the Warriors were starting to wobble in their game execution.

But just like that, after her last steal, Rubio turned an ankle and she hobbled off the court to be out for a tape job by the Arena's medical staff who diagnosed a mild sprain. NHS was now playing without three of their starters and they closed the gap to 44-41 with a 17-9 third quarter.

"We had talked to the girls again at the half and told them that they had to set their minds to attack offensively and defensively. We are at our best when we play that way," said Wirkkala.

NHS suddenly became aggressive after playing passively for much of the game and they were doing it with three non-starters on the floor. Davern opened the fourth quarter with a rebound and a hoop as the Comettes continued to take control of the backboards.

Naselle was to out rebound the Warriors 49-36, with 29 of those boards coming on the offensive glass. Herman led the board patrol with eight, Rubio, Davern, and Pauly each had six, and Smith five boards. Davern's hoop pulled NHS within one point of the Kings ladies.

The Warriors weren't quite at the panic state, yet. After a time-out, they scored four quick points for a five point lead in welcoming Darcher back to the Naselle lineup. It took Darcher a few seconds to get back in the swing of things as Revis picked up her second and third fouls in a five second span with over six minutes left to play. Rubio, with her ankle taped, reentered the game, and seconds later, Pauly came back in to give NHS all of their veterans on the floor again.

Darcher responded with a trey from a set inbound play. After a Kings free throw, Darcher popped another trey. Rubio stole the ball again and Pauly putback a rebound to give NHS its first lead, at 51-50, since the opening seconds of the game, with 4:11 left to play.

Davern stole the ball and Smith scored. Pauly was fouled and made one of her two tries to give Naselle a four point lead. The King's Hanley interrupted the Comettes' point barrage with a hoop. But Darcher scored again, followed by another Davern hoop, and another Pauly score, all in a little over a minute of play. Pauly fouled out seconds later, to be replaced by Herman.

The Warriors, who were having trouble getting the ball to their offensive end of the floor, responded to a time-out with three straight points and a five point Naselle lead with less than a minute to play. Those points were to be the Kings last points of the game.

NHS then closed out the scoring with Darcher making three-of-four free throws and Rubio's fast break hoop, off her fifth steal of the game, to give Naselle the 65-55 win.

NHS outscored the Warriors 24-11 in the fourth quarter, 41-20 in the second half, and 53-26 since they trailed by 17 points at the middle of the second period. Darcher led NHS scoring with 25 points, Rubio added 14, Davern 10, and Pauly nine. NHS shot 42 percent in the second half after only hitting on 32 percent of its first half shots.

The Naselle bench outscored the Warriors bench 12-5. The Comettes also had an 18-6 advantage on "second chance" points, largely due to their 29-13 offensive rebound advantage. Their defensive comeback forced 20 Warrior turnovers and NHS made eight steals, led by Rubio's five thefts.

With the Mossyrock girls 52-48 loss to Kittitas and the Pe Ell boys 65-41 loss to Sunnyside Christian, the Naselle Comettes became the lone survivor of the six Southwest District boys and girls teams to play on trophy day.

In post game activity, Fritha Davern received one of the WIAA Sportsmanship awards.

Naselle 9 15 17 24 -65

King's West 17 18 9 11 -55

Naselle (65) - Nora Darcher 25, Lucy Rubio 14, Fritha Davern 10, Tiffany Pauly 9, Dawn Herman 3, Abbie Smith 2, Katie Klinger 2, Kelli Revis 0, Toni Abbott DNP, Annie Herrold DNP, Jaimie Hines DNP, Nicole Matthews DNP; FG - 26/69 = .377, 3s - 4/21 = .190, FT - 9/22 = .409; Rebounds (49): Herman 8, Rubio 6, Davern 6, Pauly 6; Assists (8): Herman 2, Rubio 2, Smith 2; Steals (8): Rubio 5; Turnovers (13): Darcher 3, Rubio 3; Fouls (19): Pauly 5, Darcher 4, Rubio 3, Revis 3

King's West (55) - Taryn Hanley 21, Brigitta Rauen 13, Kristin Anderson 8, Susan Cooper 6, Katie O'Brien 4, Betsie Parker 2, Amanda Hart 1, Shannon O'Brien 0, Kaylee Ross 0, Mallory McAfee DNP, Aimee Tangeman DNP, Aly Tolles DNP; FG - 17/46 = .370, 3s - 4/14 = .286, FT - 17/24 = .708; Rebounds (36): Cooper 9, Hanley 6; Assists (8): Hanley 3, Anderson 2; Steals (8): Hanley 3, K. O'Brien 2; Turnovers (20): Rauen 8, Hanley 3; Fouls (19): Anderson 5, Hanley 3, K. O'Brien 3, Cooper 3

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