NASELLE — Joe Nisbett dominated down the stretch in Ilwaco’s comeback 67-64 overtime victory over Naselle Tuesday, Dec. 3.
Nisbett scored six points in the last 83 seconds of regulation, then added seven more in overtime. Both teams had made big statements in their opening week, with Ilwaco beating Life Christian and crushing Chief Leschi and Naselle easily defeating Winlock, setting up the most intriguing Ilwaco-Naselle matchup in many years.
The Comets led 54-51 after Antonio Nolan attacked the basket, drew a foul and hit two free throws with 1:38 left; Alex Kaino controversially fouled out on the play even though Ilwaco maintained that he had only four fouls. Corey Gregory’s three-pointer expanded Naselle’s lead to 57-53 with just 1:07 to go.
But Ilwaco began pounding the ball inside to their 6’8” center on every possession. With 1:23 left, Nisbett scored in the post for his first bucket since the second quarter, then added baskets on two straight possessions in the final minute to tie it. Nolan missed a three-pointer at the end of regulation, sending the game into overtime.
Midway through overtime, Jacob Eaton caught a Nolan feed under the basket and scored to tie it at 61. Nolan retied it at 62 with 1:32 after being fouled on an offensive rebound.
On Ilwaco’s next possession, Nisbett battled Eaton for position, got fouled and sank both free throws to regain the lead.
Nolan attacked again, got fouled and hit two free throws to tie it back up.
Nisbett drew another foul as Vince Fauver sought to deny him position. Nisbett sank one of two free throws with 53 seconds left, which proved to be the game winner.
“Joe did a good job fighting for position and demanding the ball,” Ilwaco’s Tenyson Ramsey said. “Not many teams can guard six-foot-eight.”
“I just saw that it was time to step up,” Nisbett said.
Naselle missed three three-pointers in the final minute, and Jeb Sheldon hit a pair of free throws with 6.7 seconds remaining.
Ilwaco took an early 10-0 lead, including a pair of three-pointers by Kaino to open scoring.
Out of a timeout, Naselle broke an Ilwaco press, Ethan Lindstrom finding Nolan for the basket to spark a 7-0 run.
After another Kaino three stretched the lead to nine, Nolan got by Parker Kaech for a three-point play.
Nolan buried a step-back three-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer to cut the lead to 20-15.
Nisbett scored six straight points to start the second quarter, giving him 10 at that time and giving Ilwaco a 26-15 lead. Naselle then brought in Fauver to guard Nisbett. Fauver started keeping Nisbett out of the lane, and Ilwaco became more perimeter-oriented on offense until late in the game.
Eaton scored seven points during the Comets’ 13-1 third-quarter run. He tied it at 35 with a three-point play, then hit a shot from the baseline for the lead.
Ilwaco was back ahead 43-42 when Eaton got fouled and Ilwaco coach Tim Harrell got a technical for arguing the call. Eaton made all four free throws, Naselle retained possession, and Lindstrom it a three-pointer for a six-point lead with 5:22 remaining.
Naselle had a scoring drought before Lindstrom hit a driving layup that made it 52-49. Reese Tynkila answered for Ilwaco, scoring on a spin move in the post. Kaino’s disputed foul-out came on the next possession, but Nisbett carried the Fishermen the rest of the way.