NASELLE — With star guard Allie Tyler back from injury, Columbia Adventist gave Naselle a closer game than it had the previous week. The Kodiaks were seeking to catch Naselle in the Columbia Valley League they had won the previous season. But Jackie Steenerson led a late run to clinch the 61-54 win for the Lady Comets, who had beaten Adventist by 25 the previous week.

Taylor Gudmundsen dominated the early minutes. She stole a pass, pulled up on a two-on-two break, and hit the shot, then turned a Kenzie Glenn steal into a pair of free throws, giving the Comets a 9-3 lead after about four minutes. Gudmundsen had seven points already.

Lilli Zimmerman repeatedly popped open for short-range jump shots and had 12 of her 19 points by halftime as Naselle led 29-21.

Adventist’s Leah Pearson, who hit a long jumper at the end of the first half, followed with a pair of threes early in the third quarter. After the second Pearson three, Tyler stole an inbounds pass, hit layup while being fouled, and made the free throw for a 30-29 lead.

Minutes later, Zimmerman fed and screened for eighth-grader Bella Colombo, who hit a confident early-in-the-shot-clock jumper. Zimmerman then scored on an up-and-under move in the post to make it 37-34 Naselle.

Late in the third quarter, Adventist, looking to tie it, saw a fast-break opportunity. But Kenzie Glenn back-pedaled and intercepted the outlet pass, colliding as she did so with teammate Jackie Steenerson. With both players struggling to get up, Naselle faced a three-on-five on offense. Gudmundsen got the ball in the corner, evaluated the situation, and saw she had to shoot. She hit the contested three. That sequence of events swung the game from a possible tie to a 43-38 Comet lead entering the fourth.

Steenerson sparked a 7-0 fourth-quarter run that turned a 45-43 lead into a nine-point edge. Zimmerman flipped a creative pass over her head to Steenerson for a bucket to start the run. After a Kodiak turnover, Gudmundsen dribbled through the middle of a press and found Steenerson for another bucket. Steenerson picked off a pass and scored to make it 52-43. She grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Glenn for a three to make it 55-46 inside three minutes.

Columbia Adventist scored eight points, including a pair of three-pointers, in a span of 48 seconds, but that left them down by six with under 10 seconds left. Fouled with 4.5 remaining, Colombo hit a free throw for the 61-54 final score.

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

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