ILWACO — The Ilwaco Fishermen (6-3, 5-2) took the top team in the Central League to the brink on Dec. 21, forcing Toledo (8-1, 2-0) to an overtime, after ending regulation tied 65-65.

But Toledo would go on to outscore the Fishermen 16-10 in the OT to win it 81-75.

Joe and the free throws

For stretches of the game, the two teams struggled to score, especially in the first half, which went to halftime with IHS up 30-29. Of those first half points, 13 came by way of free throws. The Fishermen offense got a boost from post Joe Nesbitt, who came in halfway through the first and scored 10 points in the half.

The two teams both got off to a fast-paced start, with both teams racing down court, trying for transition baskets, including a handful of breakaway baskets by Parker Kaech. The period ended tied 12-12.

At the 7-minute mark in the second, Nesbitt put IHS up 16-14 on free throws, and then expanded the lead on a lay up after receiving a nice inside feed from Kaech to go up 20-16 halfway through the period. That lead evaporated on the following play, a deep three from Toledo’s Andreas Malunat, who finished with 22 points in the game.

Picking up the pace

The second half saw both teams finding more of an offensive groove. After scoring only three points in the first half, senior Reese Tynkila (who led the IHS scoring with 22 points) poured in 19 in the second half and overtime periods.

Tied 36-36 halfway through the third, Malunat hit on a deep transition three to put Toledo up 41-36. Nesbitt reentered the game not long after and blocked a THS shot before hitting a transition lay up to tie the game 42-42. Tynkila scored on a breakaway and then grabbed an offensive rebound and scored again, putting IHS up 46-42 with 20 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Early in the fourth, another Toledo three-pointer cut the lead to 48-45 before free throws and a lay in off of a steal put THS up 51-48. Alex Kaino cut the lead to 50-51. At the five minute mark in the fourth, Nesbitt put back an offensive rebound to make it 52-53. Following another THS three (Toledo connected in eight three-pointers in the game), Nesbitt scored to make it 54-56. However, with just over three minutes remaining in regulation, Nesbitt, who had been the Fishermen’s most effective scorer to that point, fouled out with IHS behind 56-57.

Tynkila, who started getting hot in the third, scored nine points in the forth quarter, including a breakaway lay in with 40 seconds left to make it 63-64. Tenyson Ramsey scored on a drive inside to tie the game 65-65 with 12.5 seconds remaining. A missed Toledo shot at the buzzer sent it to overtime.

Tynkila scored off of the tip off, but IHS lost that brief lead on the following play. Kaino tied it back up at 68 with a free throw. But the Fishermen went cold from the line in the OT, making only 3 of 8 attempts, while Toledo connected on 7 of 8 from the line.

Kaech added 12 points for IHS, Kaino had 10 and Ramsey scored 13.

The Fishermen play at Ocosta (5-4, 5-3) on Wednesday, Jan 2.

Lady Fishermen pick up first loss of season

ILWACO — The Ilwaco Lady Fishermen (9-1, 8-0) got a little pre-Christmas coal in the stocking on Dec. 21, as visiting Toledo gave IHS their first loss of the season, 52-41.

Toledo (6-3, 1-0) held the high scoring Lady Fishermen (averaging 63 points per game going in to the match up) to their lowest point total of the season. Toledo’s 52 was also the most points IHS has given up in a game this season — Ilwaco opponents have averaged just 24 points per game.

After a close first period ended 11-15, Toledo outscored Ilwaco 16-6 in the second, to take a 31-17 halftime lead. The Lady Fishermen bounced back in the third, outscoring Toledo 15-10. But their comeback was short-lived, as Toledo outscored IHS 11-9 in the fourth.

Erika Glenn led Ilwaco with 14 points, nine steals and four rebounds. Sunny Kemmer added nine points and five rebounds, while Ebby McMullen had nine points and four rebounds. Estella Sheldon had nine steals.

The Lady Fishermen, currently on top of the Pacific League standings, will face second place Ocosta (7-1, 7-0) at home on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

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