NASELLE — In Naselle’s January game against Columbia Adventist, the Lady Kodiaks came back from a 28-15 halftime deficit to win. In their Tuesday, Feb. 4 rematch, Naselle led 26-14 at half, and the Kodiaks again rallied in the third. But this time, Naselle turned back the rally and won 55-28. The split of these two matchups resulted in a tie atop the Columbia Valley League standings.

“The game up there — we really should’ve had that. We were trying some new stuff,” Peyton Dalton said, outlining the variety of defenses the young team has added over the course of the year. “The first time we played them we didn’t have things all figured out. This time we knew it better.”

Jackie Steenerson hit some contested bank shots in the post as the Lady Comets built their halftime lead. Naselle led 28-14 early in the second quarter, but Maddie Dietrich hit three three-pointers during an 11-0 run that cut the lead to three.

The Lady Comets responded by moving out of their zone and sticking Dalton, their defensive stopper, on Dietrich.

The Kodiaks went on a long scoring drought, allowing Naselle to pull away with a 27-0 run that lasted until the final minute. Echo Cenci zipped a pass across the defense to Hollie Haataia for an open baseline jumper to boost the Comet lead to 32-25. Haataia’s put-back high off the top of the square on the backboard made it 36-25 after three. Cenci made another nifty feed early in the fourth, rebounding Dalton’s missed free throw and making a shovel pass to Bella Colombo, who stretched the lead to 14 points. Cenci bounced a pass past a defender to lead Steenerson toward the basket for an easy score that made it 43-25 with about six minutes to go.

Cenci finished with five assists off the bench, showing how she has improved her feel for the game during her the course of her sophomore year.

“We flipped,” Dalton said. “Echo normally leads in steals and I lead in assists, and this game it was the other way around. Echo has really grown this year in seeing the floor.”

Steenerson led Naselle with 17 points, nine in the fourth quarter. Dalton finished with 14 points and five steals. Haataia hit five of six shots for 10 points.

Both teams won their remaining games to finish 5-1 in league play. Naselle won the coin-flip for District seeding, and will have a bye through semifinals. That game will be Saturday, Feb. 15 at a time to be determined at Castle Rock against either Three Rivers Christian, North River or Mary M. Knight.

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

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