ILWACO — The Lady Fishermen poured in 40 second-half points to 17 for Naselle in winning the Ilwaco Holiday Tournament championship 65-38 Wednesday, Dec. 29. The Comets had gamely pulled to within 25-21 at intermission before Ilwaco went on their tear.

It was Alexa Wirkkala’s 21 points and six steals, Kenzi Wirkkala’s 17 points and 14 rebounds and Elleigh Kaino’s 10 points that were enough to lead Ilwaco to the tournament title for the second straight year. Naselle was led by the season-high 17 points of Taylor Wasmundt and Carley Kitzman’s 10 points, seven rebounds and five steals.

Rounding out scoring for Ilwaco was Kady Kirby with six points, five for Sydney Ward, four for Logan Manecke, and two for Cindy Pacheco. Ward dished out three assists and Kenzi Wirkkala, Kirby and Kaino each had two assists. Also scoring for the Comets were Nicole Tarabochia with seven and six rebounds, and Vicky Corona and Haleigh See with two each. See dished out four assists.

Ilwaco had built a 19-10 lead early in the second period, when the Comets’ Corona dumped in a basket, Wasmundt scored three points, and Kitzman made three free tosses. See added a layup and Tarabochia a foul shot in the waning minutes to close the gap to four points at 25-21 at intermission.

Alexa Wirkkala knocked down one of her three “three’s” and made a nifty crossover move for a left-handed layup to balloon the advantage to nine points a minute into the second half. Kirby nailed a pair of treys and Kenzi Wirkkala scored two buckets in the paint to help put the Lady Fishermen up 43-29 entering the final quarter.

Wasmundt hit a pair of field goals and a charity shot and Kitzman scored four points in the final frame for Naselle, but Ilwaco shot a blistering 10-13 in the period to steadily pull away. The Lady Fishermen rolled in the final 13 points of the contest.

“Our game has been flowing this season and things seem to be clicking,” Kenzi Wirkkala said after being named tourney MVP. “As a team we are playing even better than we expected and personally I think I have improved since last season.”

Naselle was 12-35 from the field for 34 percent and they connected on 14-24 foul shots for 58 percent, while the Lady Fishermen were 26-55 from the floor for a hot 47 percent and they sank 7-8 from the foul line for 83 percent. Ilwaco won the war on the boards 32-25 and turned the basketball over 22 times to 25 for the Comets. Fouls were 18-13 in favor of Naselle.

“Naselle gave us a very competitive game the first half as they have gotten a lot better,” coach Ned Bittner praised. “Kady, Sydney, and Alexa helped open up the middle by hitting six three-pointers. Elleigh has come into her own as a point guard and she is finding the open player and playing well defensively. Alexa is tough to stop in the open court and is finding her rhythm on her outside shot. Kenzi is our rock inside. For 5-foot-6, she plays with a lot of heart and soul and emotion.”

The Lady Fishermen are now 7-2 on the year, while Naselle drops to 8-2. The Comets won seven straight after falling to Ilwaco 67-23 on Dec. 6. Morton-White Pass defeated Winlock in the game for third place.


Ilwaco “brings it” as they fly past Lady Cardinals 66-20

ILWACO — The Lady Fishermen exploded to a 31-4 lead mid-way through the second period and coasted to a lopsided 66-20 win over winless Winlock in the opening round of the Ilwaco Holiday Tournament Tuesday, Dec. 28. Kenzi Wirkkala had a double-double less than 10 minutes into the game and finished with a season-high 28 points and 14 rebounds.

“Our girls could have worked for open shots, but they were unselfish and gave Kenzi open looks inside for easy baskets. Our second five girls all played hard and contributed tonight. We saw a glimpse of what Logan Manecke can do,” Coach Ned Bittner praised. Elleigh Kaino had five assists and 12 points and Manecke came off the bench to pour in a season-high 13 points. Alexa Wirkkala had seven points, seven rebounds and seven steals, and Kady Kirby, Kaylie Granlund, and Grace McPhail each added a pair of points.

Kaino, the Lady Fishermen point guard, related, “In the past when we have played a weaker opponent we have come out slow. Tonight Coach Bittner reminded us to ‘bring it’ right from the start. We did that. The team and me personally, we are gaining confidence with each game.” And “bring it” they did as Ilwaco opened the first frame with a 19-3 blast, the second period with a 12-0 run, the third frame with a 10-0 outburst, and they started the final period on an 8-0 tear.

Further evidence that the Lady Fishermen were ‘bringing it” is that they turned the ball over a season-low three times to a whopping 32 miscues for the Lady Cardinals. Fouls were nine for Ilwaco and 10 for Winlock, another season-low and the Lady Fishermen won the battle of the boards 44-33. Ilwaco was 28-76 from the field for 37 percent and 9-14 from the free throw line for 64 percent, while the Lady Cardinals were 7-32 for 22 percent and 5-9 from the line for 56 percent.


Winlock   5     8     3     4   — 20

Ilwaco    21   15   18   12   — 66


Winlock — Allison Wolf 2, Megan Merrill 2, MacKenzie Hodnot 6, Reesa Henenway 1, Sierra Fisher 2, Kayla Rakes 6, Jazmine Lopez 1

Ilwaco — Elleigh Kaino 12, Alexa Wirkkala 7, Kady Kirby 2, Logan Manecke 13, Kaylie Granlund 2, Kenzi Wirkkala 28, Grace McPhail 2

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