MENLO — Darian Jacot’s hot shooting helped Naselle build a lead, and eight-grader Kaylin Shrives helped the Lady Comets withstand a late Toutle Lake charge in a 41-39 victory Friday, Dec. 28. The win gave Naselle a split of two games at the Jack Q. Pearson Holiday Tournament. Shrives, called into service for the short-handed Comets, scored six crunch-time points.

Jacot was deadly from 15 feet and out, knocking down four of her first five shots. By the 4:50 mark in the third quarter, she had nine points in an otherwise low-scoring game that the Comets led 19-16.

The Comets, hit hard recently by injuries, relied on contributions from eighth-graders from the junior varsity team; Shrive and Bella Colombo scored 10 of the Comets’ final 18 points. Colombo hit a pair of free throws after being fouled shooting a jumper near the end of the third quarter, then opened scoring in the fourth quarter by swishing another jumper for a 27-20 lead with 7:03 left.

The Ducks launched a comeback by forcing five turnovers in a minute and fifteen seconds around the midway point in the quarter. Molly Donald’s 17-foot bank shot capped Toutle’s 9-0 run, tying it at 33 with 2:24 to go.

But Naselle began finding Shrives near the basket. Shrives got a baseline shot to roll in with 2:10 left, then got open underneath for another bucket and a 37-33 lead.

Keeley Studebaker-Smith’s three-pointer cut it to one. But Taylor Gudmundsen preserved the Comets’ lead, stuffing a Jordyn Grabenhorst shot and hitting a pair of free throws to make it 39-36 with 24.3 to go. Madison Hald’s scored for Toutle to cut it back to one, but the Comets broke the Ducks’ press, finding Shrives open underneath again to restore the lead to three.

The Ducks still had one more chance when Naselle fouled Makinnley Byman with just two-tenths of a second left. She hit her first free throw and tried to set up an offensive rebound with her second, but a Toutle Lake lane violation ended the game.

Naselle improved to 5-6, while Toutle Lake fell to 1-9. Jacot and Gudmundsen finished with 11 points each. Studebaker led the ducks with 14.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or aaroncmead@gmail.com.

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