A swarm of Pirates didn’t make it an easy win for the Bobcats on Feb. 11.
The game was tied with about three minutes left when Brett Elder hit a shot to give the Bobcats a lead they would hold for the rest of the game.
Nestucca closed out the game for a 31-26 win that had coach Jim Kiser breathing a sigh of relief.
The win gave the Bobcats a 10-6 league record, putting them in a tie with Knappa for fourth in the Northwest League race and setting up a playoff between the two teams Thursday in Cloverdale.
Knappa is 0-2 against the Bobcats this season.
Hold off Pirates
The 19th-ranked Bobcats had their hands full Thursday when the Pirates came to town.
In an extreme low-score first quarter, it was the Pirated holding a 5-3 lead at the first buzzer.
The second quarter was even slower, with the Bobcats scoring all four points on a pair of free throws by Elder and a basket by Cole Strober.
Ahead 7-5 going into the third quarter, the Bobcats picked up the pace, taking a 14-6 lead with three minutes left.
Neah-Kah-Nie would make a run, closing the scoring gap to 15-13 with less than 40 seconds left in the quarter.
In the final quarter, that same pattern continued, with Nestucca getting a lead and the Pirates fighting back.
Max Halverson hit a three-pointer with 4:26 on the clock and followed it with another shorter-range basket less than a minute later to tie the game at 21.
After Elder’s basket gave the Bobcats the lead again, Strober hit a pair of free throws, followed by Elder doing the same.
A three-pointer from the Pirates cut the lead to just 27-24 with about a minute left, but the Bobcats were getting points from the free throw line. In the final minute, the Bobcats would get three more points from Strober, while Elder added one.
Elder got 10 of his final 18 points from the free throw line, while Strober added five of his seven points from the free throw line in the final quarter. Wyatt Link and Lucas McKillip each added three.
The Bobcats did hit as many baskets as the Pirates (7-5) or as many three-point baskets (3-2). It was the 10 for 12 night at the free throw line where the hosts pulled out the win. The Pirates only had four points from the line.
Halverson led the Pirates with 10 points – all in the second half. Garrit Champ had seven points, while Chase Dorsey and Will Davidson finishing with three points.