OAKVILLE — Taylor Gudmundsen scored four straight points late in the game to break a tie, and Naselle went on to beat Mary M. Knight 45-38 in district semifinals Wednesday, Feb. 13.

After the Knight Owls tied the game at 38, Gudmundsen drove, pulled up on the low block, got fouled shooting and hit one of two free throws with 2:12 left. On the next Naselle possession, on a sideline play, Gudmundsen ran a long route around a screen, took a skip pass from the perimeter and buried the open three for the four-point lead.

“It was a sideline-out-of-bounds play we had just adjusted the day before,” Gudmundsen said. As the play was initially designed, the Comets “tried to force it inside,” but the new variation employed screens and decoys to create an open three.

Eighth-grader Lauren Katyrniniuk also made clutch plays for Naselle. She hit three of four free throws in the final minute.

“Lauren was aggressive driving,” Gudmundsen said. “She wasn’t afraid to get in (traffic).”

“Lauren was looking to attack, and she drew fouls,” coach Rose Nisbett said.

Kenzie Glenn’s eight first-quarter points lifted Naselle to a 14-7 lead. By halftime, she had four three-pointers as the Comets led 27-22.

Kaylee Sowle scored 22 of Knight’s 38 points in the game. Sowle, a senior guard, has been a one-woman team for the Owls, and the Comets have had to deal with her since her eighth-grade year.

“We realized we were never going to stop her; we can put our best defender on her and she’s still going to get to the basket,” Gudmundsen said. “We knew if she has nobody to pass to, no one else can get a shot off.”

Gudmundsen guarded the Owls’ second-best offensive player, center Jadyn Davidson, before Davidson’s first-half injury. The Comets went with freshman Peyton Dalton, who is becoming a defensive specialist, to guard Sowle.

“We relied on help defense to stop her drives,” Nisbett said.

The Lady Comets had split two regular season games against Knight. The win put them in district finals against Taholah.

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

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