SPOKANE, Wash. — A great start by the Naselle boys basketball team turned into a gut-wrenching finish Wednesday morning for the Comets in a first-round game of the Class 1B boys basketball state tournament.
Tacoma Baptist rallied from an 11-point deficit in the first half, took the lead in the third quarter and held on for a 50-47 win over Naselle.
It was a loser-out game for the Comets, who finished the season 18-7 overall.
Naselle’s Kolby Glenn and Antonio Nolan both knocked down 3-pointers in the opening minute for a quick 6-0 lead, then the Comets increased it to 11-2.
After the Crusaders rallied back to within 15-12, Donny Edwards scored back-to-back hoops, and Naselle pushed the lead back to 25-14.
The Crusaders rallied again towards the end of the first half, and opened the third quarter with a 10-3 run that gave Tacoma a 32-30 advantage.
Naselle quickly regained the lead on a Corey Gregory 3-pointer, and missed free throws by the Crusaders kept the Comets in front after three quarters, 36-33.
In the fourth, a three-point play by Tacoma pulled the Crusaders even again at 38-38, and a 3-pointer moments later put Tacoma in front, 41-38.
The Comets staged a brief rally of their own when Cole Dorman scored following a timeout. A basket by Edwards brought the Comets to within 43-42 with 1:35 left, and after a Tacoma turnover, Jacob Eaton made one free throw to tie it at 43-43 with 1:00 remaining.
But the Crusaders answered with a 3-pointer from Bradley Swillie — Tacoma Baptist’s eighth-grade phenom — then scored again and converted a three-point play for a 49-43 lead with just 32 seconds left.
Eaton’s late basket had Naselle within 49-45, but Tacoma made 1-of-2 free throws to secure the win.
Edwards led the Comets with 13 points, while P.J. Talen scored 24 for Tacoma Baptist, with Swillie adding 15.
The Crusaders (23-5) advance to play No. 1 seed Sunnyside Christian in a Thursday quarterfinal.