ILWACO and NASELLE — Ask any high school basketball coach and he or she will tell you that the season is divided into three parts: non-league games before New Year’s Day, the league season, and the district and hopefully state playoffs.

Because of the WIAA’s new state tournament format the season has been scrunched together so that every local boys’ and girls’ team from Ilwaco and Naselle has already played at least three league contests and several non-league match-ups.

And the local teams have done well as both schools’ teams have combined to win 11 games for Naselle and 13 for Ilwaco before the New Year. Not counting losses to each other, Naselle and Ilwaco squads have won 24 contests and lost only nine games to outside opponents.

Probably the most pleasant surprise has been the Comets girls’ team who boasts a sparkling 8-2 record. Naselle’s only losses are to Ilwaco and they are 4-0 and tied atop the Pacific 2B League with North Beach. The Comets are not surprisingly led by last season’s league MVP Carley Kitzman with a 17.7 points per game average (ppg.) and Nicole Tarabochia (8.6 ppg.) and the duo are team leaders in rebounds, as well.

The Fishermen at 6-2 were a steal away from beating Seaside and lost in the Christmas Tournament finals. Ilwaco is atop the Trico League with a 3-0 mark thanks to the dynamic duo of Karl Oman (18.1 ppg., assist leader, second in rebounds) and Kyle Breckinridge (12.1 ppg. and rebound leader). Bobby Byrd (8 ppg.) has performed well of late and Patrick Whealdon (8.9 ppg.) and Ryan Kukula (7.6 ppg.) are also steady contributors.

After dropping their first two contests, the Lady Fishermen have reeled off seven wins in a row, including three straight league victories as Ilwaco girls are also on top in the Trico League at 3-0. They won their Christmas Tournament going away for the second straight year. Alexa Wirkkala (18.7 ppg. and steals leader) and Kenzi Wirkkala (17.9 ppg. and rebound leader) have done the most damage on opponents for the Lady Fishermen.

The Naselle boys won a huge game at Raymond last week and their 2-1 mark puts them in the thick of the Pacific 2B race despite their 3-6 overall record. The Comets are led by Leonel Mendoza’s 19.2 points and 10 rebounds per contest and the senior also leads in steals and assists. 

All four local teams will be in league action beginning the first week of January. District play begins already the second week of February, so bring those seat cushions and be ready for some high-spirited, and successful local high school basketball the next five weeks.

And on the mats, the Ilwaco wrestling team has earned the most success of any squad in several years. Varsity wrestlers include Hunter Stockfleth, Corbin and Owen Sutherland, Isrrael Bautista, Josh Berteaux, Tom and Tayler Odneal, Peter Keller, Taylor Zinn, Elliot Marcus, Ryan Edwards, Dylan Short and Raven Rogers — all of which have won multiple matches.

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