ILWACO - The Lady Fishermen scored the first basket of the game and then never led until the 4:04 mark of the final period, but their 12-4 finishing outburst was more than enough to ground Castle Rock 48-40 and take a share of the Trico League lead with the win at home Friday.

Ashley Tapio scored on a Carley Kitzman assist with 4:39 remaining to tie the contest at 38-38 and Aimee Banuet's nifty crossover move and left-handed layup 35 seconds later put the Lady Fishermen ahead for the first time since Vallori Crowston gave Ilwaco a 2-0 advantage off the opening tip.

Cameo Ulbricht later fed Alexa Wirkkala for a bucket and then Wirkkala assisted Kitzman for an up-and-under field goal, but the Lady Rockets answered with a coast-to-coast layin by Lacey Seidl and a put back by Chelsea Mitchell. With the score 42-40 Crowston passed to Marin McDonnell who hit a 15-foot shot from the left side at the 1:12 mark and then with 32 seconds left Crowston found Kenzi Wirkkala open in the paint for another basket. Wirkkala was fouled and converted the three-point play to give Ilwaco an insurmountable 47-40 lead. Crowston added a foul shot with 15 seconds to make the final score 48-40.

Ilwaco was down 14-10 at the end of one period and 23-18 at intermission. In the second half the Lady Fishermen switched to a 1-3-1 zone defense and Castle Rock's non-scorers began firing at will from both corners while all-league Seidl was content to occasionally pass the basketball out front. The result was a shooting accuracy of only 25 percent (15-60) by the Lady Rockets and Seidl, who is also an all-state volleyball and softball athlete, finished with only 11 points. The defense of Ulbricht, Banuet, Alexa Wirkkala and Crowston also kept her from penetrating for more points on the evening.

Tapio led Ilwaco with 10 points, all coming inside the key and Crowston added nine off mid-range jumpers and two driving layups. Balanced scoring was the ticket for the Lady Fishermen as Kenzi Wirkkala popped in eight points, Banuet finished with seven and Kitzman and McDonnell each had six, while Alexa Wirkkala added two points to the happy total.

Tapio led with 10 boards and a double-double, while Kenzi Wirkkala and Kitzman each pulled down eight caroms as the Lady Fishermen out-rebounded the visitors 42-40. Crowston dished out five assists and Banuet and Alexa Wirkkala doled out three each. Ilwaco did not turn the basketball over during the fourth period and ended with 16 miscues to 17 for Castle Rock.

Ilwaco was 21-55 from the floor for 38 percent and 6-12 from the line while the visitors were 9-17 from the charity stripe for 53 percent. The Lady Fishermen were whistled for 16 fouls to 15 for the Lady Rockets. Banuet and Crowston, who collided during Tuesday's game and went to the hospital that night both returned to action Friday. Banuet said, "Our team has gotten way better and we played with confidence tonight." Crowston added, "We wanted this game bad." Tapio related, "We didn't give up and fought back."

Coach Ned Bittner said, "This win was exciting, especially since I didn't know if Aimee or Vallori would be able to play until I saw how they felt during warm-ups tonight. We stayed close early, chipped away at their lead in the third and fourth quarters and then showed some patience and confidence during crunch time. It's games like this that make you want to coach."

The result of the win is the Lady Fishermen are now 3-0 in league play, riding a five-game winning streak and are 7-4 overall, while Castle Rock drops to 2-1 in the Trico and 6-3 for the year. The Lady Fishermen are tied with LaCenter, their opponent Jan. 23, at 3-0, the Lady Rockets are third at 2-1, White Salmon is 1-2 and Kalama and Stevenson are 0-3 in league play.

Ilwaco's junior varsity won handily 33-13 behind Kate Denton's 11 points for Coach Krystina Frazier's team that is now 8-3.

Castle Rock - Moore 4, Klingberg 5, Moore 8, Seidl 11, Bishop 5, Swanson 7

Ilwaco - Kitzman 6, Banuet 7, Crowston 9, Wirkkala 2, McDonnell 6, Wirkkala 8, Ashley Tapio 10

Lady Fishermen reel in Chinooks with team effortILWACO - The Lady Fishermen won every quarter as they reeled in Kalama 55-38 in a Trico League contest at Carl Aase Gymnasium Jan. 13. Carley Kitzman came off the Ilwaco bench to record a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Ashley Tapio and Alexa Wirkkala nearly turned in double-doubles as well. Tapio netted 15 points, all in the second half, while nabbing nine boards and Wirkkala scored 13 with eight caroms.

The game was marred with a mishap at the 2:26 mark of the second period, however. Ilwaco guards Vallori Crowston and Aimee Banuet collided head-first while going for a loose ball. Crowston suffered a laceration below her left eye and Banuet received a concussion. Both Lady Fishermen went to Ocean Beach Hospital where Crowston had multiple stitches to close the wound and Banuet was eventually released after observation.

The Lady Fishermen held a resounding rebounding edge 46-27, thanks to Kitzman, Tapio and the Wirkkala's each grabbing eight boards apiece.

Midway through the second period the Lady Chinooks pulled to within 21-18. The Lady Fishermen finished the period on a 6-0 run as Banuet scored on a layup and then fed Kenzi Wirkkala for a bucket 10 seconds before being injured. Alexa Wirkkala sank two foul shots to give Ilwaco a 27-18 lead at intermission.

After Kalama opened the third period with two foul shots the Lady Fishermen ran off seven straight points to fashion a 34-20 advantage and the contest was not in doubt after that. Two Tapio free tosses gave Ilwaco their biggest lead in the final frame at 51-29 and reserves closed out the fray.

Ilwaco was 18-43 from the field for 42 percent and made 18-35 foul shots for 51 percent, while the Lady Chinooks sank only 13-53 from the field for 25 percent and were 11-19 from the line for 58 percent.

Kalama - Shagool 5, Bellows 5, Saracco 4, Palmer 4, Denton 9, Paris 11

Ilwaco - Kitzman 14, Banuet 5, Wirkkala 13, Kelly 1, McDonnell 3, Wirkkala 4, Tapio 15

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