CENTRALIA, Wash. - "We just did not attack the basket in the second half," Coach Bobby Torppa lamented after his Comets dropped a 39-29 decision to Toutle Lake in the opening round of the class 2B girls' District IV tournament in Centralia Monday.
A poor second half in which Naselle scored only six points the final 15 minutes, 14 seconds to the Ducks' 25 was the difference.
Emily Green knocked down three treys in the second period to help the Comets take a 20-14 lead into the locker room. After Nicole Tarabochia scored two of her team-high 13 points to open the third stanza and then Toutle's Christian Carlson was whistled for a charging foul and then a technical, it looked like the Comets had the game well in hand.
Green made the first foul shot to put her team ahead 23-14, but then Naselle didn't score again until Tarabochia made a field goal six minutes later and Nicole Laney's driving layup with 13 seconds to go in the third frame tied the game at 27-27.
Green's bevy of three-pointers had helped put Naselle in the lead 18-13 in the second period after Carlson had scored the Ducks' first 11 points by herself. She finished the contest with 19 points. The final period, the Comets managed only six shots from the field and they whiffed on all of them.
Tarabochia finally sank a pair of foul shots with 1:20 remaining in the game to draw Naselle within 38-29, but her two points was the sum of the Comets' output during the final frame.
Naselle was 10-40 from the field for 25 percent and only 3-16 in the second half, while Toutle wasn't much better, going 14-43 for 33 percent. The Comets made 6-11 from the line (55 percent) and the Ducks were 10-21 from the stripe (48 percent) as officials let them play a physical brand of basketball.
The Comets turned the ball over 26 times to 24 for the Ducks and Toutle Lake out-rebounded Naselle 34-29. Fouls were 16 for the Comets to 13 for the Ducks. Nicole Laney scored two points and had four steals and four assists and Green had three assists to go with 10 points. Shelby Leeland had eight rebounds and four points to round out scoring for Naselle.
White Pass and Northwest Christian play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Montesano. The Comets will play the loser at 1 p.m. Saturday at a location to be announced. A loss will end Naselle's season and three straight victories will earn the team a state tournament berth. The Comets are 6-15 on the season.