WESTPORT - Nate Sultemeier sank a pair of crucial free throws with four seconds remaining to help Naselle defeat a stubborn Ocosta team 57-53 in Westport Thursday. The Comets had soared over Ocosta 41-31 midway through the third period, but the Wildcats clawed back to within two points at 55-53 inside the final minute of the physical fray.

Besides making it a two-possession game with his final foul shots, Sultemeier, a senior guard finished with 17 points, converted all eight of his free tosses during the contest, and dished out four assists. "We were up in the third period by 10 points, but Ocosta battled back on us," coach Brian Macy explained. "Fortunately for us we did a good job of holding onto the basketball at the end of the game and keeping them from scoring other than at the foul line."

Ocosta's two-headed monster of 6-foot-5 Richard Graham (20 points and 19 rebounds) and point guard Kaylan Forbis (19 points and added 11 boards). A.J. Oglesby grabbed 10 caroms for Ocosta who is now 2-5 in league play and 6-9 overall.

Naselle countered with Conor Smith's nine points and 13 rebounds and Austin Burkhalter chipped in 12 points and nine boards as the duo battled Graham all evening in the paint. Nick Hines added seven points, four steals and had the unenviable task of guarding Forbis, Drew Macy scored five points and had four assists as did Hines and Sultemeier, Randy Hamm scored four points and Alan Erickson contributed two tallies to the win.

The Comets were 19-54 from the field for 35 percent and sank 13-23 from the free throw line for 57 percent, while Ocosta was 20-50 from the floor for 40 percent and made 11-15 foul shots for 73 percent. Ocosta's Graham dominated inside early in the contest to give his team a 17-10 lead after one period, but Naselle hustled back into the contest by intermission to take the lead 29-27.

The Comets had but 11 turnovers in the contest and forced Ocosta into tossing the ball away 23 times. The Wildcats won the battle of the boards 41-33. Naselle is now 5-1 in the Pacific and tied for first place and 10-3 for the season. The Comets junior varsity, who has only lost once this season, dominated the preliminary game.

Naselle - Baker 1, Sultemeier 17, Hines 7, Macy 5, Burkhalter 12, Erickson 2, Smith 9, Hamm 4

Ocosta - Forbis 19, Mitchell 8, Oglesby 6, Graham 20

Burkhalter's bombs help Comets blast

Willapa Valley 65-56 to stay atop PacificMENLO - Austin Burkhalter bombarded the Valley Vikings with five three-pointers and 18 points and Nate Sultemeier dished out a season-high 10 assists and scored 14 points to lead Naselle to a 65-56 Pacific 2B League win at Valley's Tenoski Gym Friday. Valley Coach John Pearson lamented, "Every time we'd make a run at Naselle and get close Burkhalter would hit a three."

The Comets had fashioned a 17-point lead in the third period, but the Vikings were able to draw within six before Burkhalter, Sultemeier and company pulled away with their sixth league win in seven tries. Naselle remains tied with North Beach atop the Pacific with a 6-1 record and they improve to 11-3 overall, while Valley is 2-5 in league play and 6-7 on the season.

"We played better offensively tonight, but still missed some high percentage shots," Coach Brian Macy explained. "It's always nice to get a win at Valley, but it would have been better to keep the comfortable lead that we worked hard to get. Both Ocosta Thursday and Valley tonight are improving teams and the bottom line is that it was good to get two league wins on the road."

Burkhalter finished with a double-double as he pulled down 10 rebounds to go with his 18 points and Sultemeier had a double-double the hard way by handing out a season-high 10 assists to go with his 14 points and four steals. Conor Smith also recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 caroms, Nick Hines added seven points, Manny Lopez scored six off the bench, Alan Erickson put down four tallies and Drew Macy and Randy Hamm each contributed three points to the winning total.

Aaron Friese led Valley with 18 and Matt Friese and Josh Freeman each scored 10, Blade Bolden added 11, while Will Rocket and Josh Freeman each snared 10 rebounds for the Vikings. The Comets shot 39 percent from the floor, going 21-54 including seven three-pointers and were 16-24 from the free throw line for 67 percent. Valley was 23-49 for 47 percent from the field and 7-16 for 44 percent from the charity stripe.

Naselle won the junior varsity game to up their record to 13-1 on the season.

Naselle - Sultemeier 14, Hines 7, Macy 3, Burkhalter 18, Erickson 4, Smith 10, Hamm 3, Lopez 6

Valley - M. Friese 10, A. Friese 18, Lundy 2, Nissell 3, Bolden 11, Rocket 2, Freeman 10

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