Timberwolves knock out Comets in district dog fight

Leo Mendoza leaps to defend against Morton-White Pass.

CENTRALIA – The Comets far and away played their best two basketball games of the season in the 2B District IV Tournament. Unfortunately their opponents were defending state champ PeEll and a combined team from Morton-White Pass that has the talent to contend for a state title. The Timberwolves eliminated Naselle 66-60 in a dog fight in Centralia Wednesday, Feb. 16.

With 1:41 left in the fray, Andy Gonzales tied the game at 59-59 with an old-fashioned three-point play. It was then that the Sume twins, Cameron and Devin, took charge of the contest. They had been averaging a combined 14 points per game and were non-starters at times, but they scored six of the last seven points for M-WP and the duo tallied 41 points on the night.

“We couldn’t have guarded (Cameron) Sume any closer without getting inside his jersey and he still hit five NBA-range three-pointers,” Coach Brian Macy said. “You guys left it all out there on the court tonight. Coaches (Scott) Smith, (Paul) Wirkkala, and I couldn’t have asked for two finer efforts than what you guys gave these last two games. They had two guys who played the game of their lives and that’s what it took to beat us after they stomped us (58-38) and Ilwaco (71-49) in the Christmas Tournament. This just shows how much you guys have improved as a basketball team.”

Gonzales came off the bench to score 16 points in the paint and grab six rebounds against opponents five inches taller. He was 7-9 from the field for 78 percent. Leo Mendoza, as he has done all season, led the Comets with a gutsy 21-point and six-rebound performance against the double-teaming T-Wolves throughout the fray.

Seniors Ollie Baker finished with four points, six rebounds, and three assists and Chase Chapman had a pair of steals in their final game for the Comets. Rob Baker contributed 11 points and three assists and Nick Strange also hit double-figures with 10 and had six boards. Naselle was 23-61 from the field for 38 percent including six three-pointers, but were a mediocre 8-16 from the line. “When you are within a basket with 27 seconds to go, those eight free throws could have really helped,” Macy said.

M-WP was a hot 22-47 from the field for 47 percent and they sank seven treys, while shooting a scorching (and game-winning) 15-20 from the free throw stripe for 75 percent. The Comets and MWP were even in rebounding at 36 apiece despite being out-sized at all five positions, but Naselle turned the basketball over seven times in the final period alone.

Coach Macy praised the seniors, saying, “Ollie has a passion for basketball and I won’t forget his (28-point) game against Valley this year. Andy played his best game ever tonight both on offense and defense. Leo had a great four years with many monster games and Chase always gave a great effort. Our seniors put in the time in the gym. They did what it takes.”  

Naselle ends their season with a 9-13 mark after finishing third in the Pacific League. 

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