LACEY - Everyone wants a second chance and for Naselle 16 offensive rebounds gave them plenty of second tries and they made the most of them, knocking off Northwest Christian in league play 61-52 Saturday in Lacey. Drew Macy scored a career-high 14 points and yanked down five rebounds in helping Naselle to stay tied for the top spot in the Pacific 2B League with a 7-1 record. The Comets are now 12-3 on the season.
Conor Smith posted a double-double against the Navigators tall front line that ranges from 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-6 as he rattled in 11 points and snared 10 rebounds. Austin Burkhalter and Nate Sultemeier were among the Comets who whiffed on all 11 of their three point tries, but Burkhalter scored a game-high 16 points with his arsenal of nifty moves in the paint and Sultemeier drove the Northwest Christians to distraction with his drives to the basket as he contributed 15 points. Burkhalter pulled down six boards and Sultemeier five.
Assistant Coach Tim Wirkkala stated, "Any win at Northwest Christian is a good win because that's a tough place to play. Having 16 offensive rebounds as a team, that's a lot of second-chance opportunities." Alan Erickson helped clean the glass for the Comets as he captured five rebounds and scored one point and Nick Hines added four tallies for the winners.
Coach Brian Macy was also pleased with his team's effort. "Northwest Christian is about the tallest team in our league and it was nice to out-rebound them and to be able to score inside on them. We are little by little getting better with our offensive execution and defensively we held them to 52 points."
Another bright spot for the Comets was only turning the basketball over seven times. Naselle was 20-35 from the foul line for 57 percent in the tightly-officiated contest, one area where Coach Macy would like to see some improvement.
The Navigators, who were among the pre-season favorites to win the Pacific 2B League are now 4-5 and the Comets are tied with North Beach at 7-1. South Bend is third with a 4-4 record, Valley is 4-5 and Ocosta and Raymond are 2-7 in loop play. The top five teams qualify for district beginning Feb. 16 and the top two teams receive a valuable first-round bye.
Naselle 18 16 14 13 --61
NWC 11 13 14 14 --52
Naselle-Ollie Baker, Nate Sultemeier 15, Nick Hines 4, Drew Macy 14, Gabe See, Austin Burkhalter 16, Alan Erickson 1, Conor Smith 11, Randy Hamm , Manuel Lopez
NWC-Darin Motz 5, Brian Chase 7, Joe Chase, Drew Minton, Airick Owens 3, Steven Dunn 10, Peter Morgan 7, Robbie Groeschell 12, David Sowers 8