YAKIMA — Kolby Glenn put on a point guard clinic in the second half, bringing Naselle a win against one of Eastern Washington’s elite teams heading into next week’s State tournament. Glenn’s playmaking brilliance brought the Comets back from a big deficit, and his incandescent shooting streak turned the game into a Comet blowout.
The Comets buried fourth-ranked Riverside with a 38-11 run and won 65-48 Saturday, Feb. 29 in the Regional round of the playoffs, earning a first-round bye at State and possibly forcing some to reevaluate just how high their ceiling is.
Riverside (20-2), with a big size edge, dominated with inside play in the early going, using offensive rebounds and short-range bank shots to take a 23-8 lead.
Caleb Haataia hit a pair of put-backs and Naselle (18-6) began to chip away, but still trailed 30-18 at halftime.
But Riverside was beginning to settle for three-point shots, losing their edge on offense. Meanwhile Naselle went on the attack in the second half, heedless of the big defenders protecting the basket. Jimmy Strange opened the third quarter with a headlong drive to the basket that led to an Ethan Lindstrom put-back.
With his team newly emboldened, Glenn expertly orchestrated the attack. Off a Crusader turnover, Glenn got the ball on the baseline in semi-transition, then made a spectacular move under the leaping shot-blocker, gliding through the air for the layup that cut it to 32-22 with 6:17 in the third quarter. Pushing the pace off a missed three, Glenn made a long pass to Chase Haataia, then got the ball back wide open at the top of the key and hit a three that cut it to 32-27.
Glenn continued making sharp reads to poke holes in the Crusader defense. The Comets cut the lead to 39-38 on Jack Ruch’s layup on Glenn’s pass on a five-on-four break.
From that point on, Glenn, already with two second-half threes, got supernova-hot. Trailing the play as the Comets broke a press, he came wide open at the top of the key, taking a pass from Ruch and nailing the shot for the 41-39 lead with 47 seconds in the third quarter. Caleb Haataia ran down a steal, took off on the break, and zipped a pass to Glenn open in the corner for another three and a five-point lead heading into the fourth.
Glenn opened the fourth period with a step-back three and then, two possessions later, hit a crazy off-the-dribble contested three. After Lindstrom made a stop the other way, Glenn caught his pass 25 feet from the basket, hoisted it up, and hit to make it 53-39 with 5:50 to go. That gave Glenn five threes in a three-minute span.
In the final minute, Glenn punctuated the win with an arcing, full-court pass to Strange, who fed Ruch for the layup and a 64-46 lead.
For the fifth-seeded Comets, the win was a major statement, coming as it did against a powerhouse from the eastern side of the state, which has dominated 1B basketball in recent years. Glenn finished with 33 points, 27 in the second half, including seven straight makes from three-point range.
The win gives them a first-round bye and sets them up in a quarterfinal contest against either no. 6 Muckleshoot Tribal (19-7) or 11-seed Garfield-Palouse (16-7) Thursday, March 5.