SPOKANE, Wash. — It was snowing outside the stadium and there was a minor hurricane inside.
The Naselle girls basketball team hit rough weather Wednesday against a strong, defensively minded Mount Vernon Christian. The Hurricanes won 29-19 to advance and play third-ranked Almira-Coulee-Hartline Thursday, taking their season record to 22-3 and sending Naselle home.
The game began in promising fashion as all-league player of the year Lilli Zimmerman opened the scoring and led the Comets to a 9-8 lead after eight minutes. The second quarter, however, saw a lengthy period when the Hurricane defense kept NHS at bay, then transitioned to some occasionally pretty passing to lead 20-12 at the half.
Play in the third quarter went back and forth, with the teams only able to score six points between them. A brief Comet rally brought the score to 22-19, but a Hurricane basket and then a three-pointer in quick succession moved the scoreboard beyond reach as time ebbed away.
Coach Rose Nisbet’s team ended with a 15-9 season record.
“We just couldn’t get in the groove,” the coach said, after consoling her players, who included five seniors. “They did a good job with the press and that’s what we couldn’t do. Normally we can break a press, but we couldn’t get a connection.”
She commended the team for coping with the pressure of appearing at the finals.
“It’s a big stage to be on. We were more relaxed in the second half,” she said. “I’m proud of our girls. But not everyone can have a happy ending.”