ILWACO and NASELLE Basketball for the Comets and Fishermen and Lady Fishermen has been a success and now all four teams are preparing for district tournament competition, with each of the four teams finishing third or better in league play. Ilwaco teams were a combined 22-6 in the Trico and Naselles boys and girls were 17-7 in the Pacific League.
The Naselle girls won the Pacific 2B League outright by sweeping North Beach. Their reward is a first-round bye at district and they will play the winner of Valley and Adna, coached by Jeff Beasley, Saturday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. in Montesano. A win would possibly pit them against Toutle Lake, who was ranked number one most of the season. The Ducks split with Napavine in Central League play and lost the coin flip. The winner-to-state game would be Feb. 17 in Rochester if the Comets defeat Adna or Valley.
The Ilwaco girls also tied for first place, but the Trico League uses a coin flip to decide seeding. The Lady Fishermen lost the toss to LaCenter and will open district play Friday, Feb. 11 with time and place not set until Tuesday, Feb. 8. They will play the winner of Elma and White Salmon. Ilwaco swept White Salmon during the regular season. Elma finished tied with Onalaska for second in the Evergreen League, but a series of tie-breaker situations gave Ony the second seed.
The Comets boys were in second place for one day and were in fourth place with 26 seconds to go in South Bends final game. A North Beach upset of the Indians and a win of a coin flip gave Naselle the third seed. In the super-tough Central League last years state champion PeEll finished in a sixth-place tie with Wahkiakum and last years state MVP Hank Robinson led the Trojans to victory in that playoff game.
The Comets reward for winning the toss is an 8 p.m. game Thursday, Feb. 10 in Montesano. Should they upset PeEll their next foe would be Adna, the Central League runner-up, on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m. in Rochester. The Comets and both girls teams are already in double-elimination competition.
The 1A district tournament has the third place teams playing the sixth place finishers from the opposite league in loser-out games. The Fishermen tied Ridgefield for second after leading the Trico for much of the season. Ilwaco lost the playoff game and will host Montesano, who tied for fifth in the Evergreen League. A win in the pigtail game Tuesday, Feb. 8 will get them into the double-elimination portion of the tournament. Tuesdays contest is the first ever district game held in Carl Aase Gymnasium.
A Fishermen win in the pigtail game will earn them the right to play Evergreens number two team Hoquiam Thursday, Feb. 10 at W.F. West in Chehalis at a time to be announced. Hoquiam was ranked fourth in the state with one week to go in the season.
Both the 1A and 2B classifications will send four teams to the state regional boys and girls tournaments. The loser of each of the four District IV championship games will head north to play, with the 2B teams going to Mt. Vernon and the 1A squads playing at Glacier Peak in Snohomish. The first, third and fourth place 1A teams will play state regional games at W.F. West and the 2B teams will play state games at Mark Morris.
The way the regional tournaments are set up at least one District IV team will advance, but it is impossible for all four to advance to the state finals in either classification.