Although it looked like the annual Neah-Kah-Nie tournament might not happen this season, Neah-Kah-Nie Athletic Director Corey Douma was able to work his magic and put together a few winter break games.
By Max Kirkendall
The first game of the tournament on Dec. 28 pitted two local Tillamook County teams against each other in the Tillamook High School girls team and the Neah-Kah-Nie girls. Since the Lady Mooks play at the 4A level and the Lady Pirates play at the 2A level, the meeting last Friday was a rare one. Despite entering the game on a three game losing skid, the Cheesemakers proved to be the better team as they jumped out to an early lead and never gave it up. At the half, Tillamook held a 16-8 advantage over Neah-Kah-Nie behind the scoring and rebounding prowess of junior Lexie Crabtree. The second half proved to be all Tillamook as the Lady Mooks cruised to a 33-18 win in the game.
“It looked like we had been on winter break for a few days,” Neah-Kah-Nie head coach Corey Douma said. “Tillamook had more energy than we did. We missed way too many easy shots but it’s always good to get those games out of the way before you start league again.”
The Pirates played just one game after Douma decided to scrap the tournament format on the girls side and just set up a few games for the teams to play. Next up for Neah-Kah-Nie will be a matchup against 2-10 Columbia Christian on Friday Dec. 4. Douma said he is looking forward to seeing his team get back on track this week.
“I’m excited to get a few good practices in and get ready for Columbia Christian next Friday,” Douma said.
For the Cheesemakers, they ended up playing 1A Jewell the following day to get a few more reps before league play begins on Jan. 15 against top ranked Banks. Against the Blue Jays, the Lady Mooks proved once again that they were the better team by running away with a 39-22 victory.
The Pirate boys faced a couple of different teams over the course of the two days in a tournament format. Among the teams competing along with Neah-Kah-Nie was Siletz Valley, Warrenton and the Astoria JV team.
The Pirates played against 1A Siletz Valley in game one. Siletz entered the game with a 5-3 record. However, the Pirates were utterly dominant from start to finish to improve to 6-3 on the season. Neah-Kah-Nie opened the game with a 21 point first quarter and held the Indians to just five in the opening period. The Pirates lead ballooned to 37-14 by halftime, en route to a 56-40 win.
On Dec. 29, the Pirates faced a much-improved Warrenton Warriors team that they beat earlier in the season 48-46 on Dec. 7. The Warriors got a bit of revenge against the Pirates this time around winning 45-35, improving to 7-4 this season at the 3A level.
The annual tournament was much smaller this year, as compared to year’s past. However, Douma was pleased to get a few games together to help the teams shake off some of the rust from the holiday season.
“We had a boys and girls team drop out late and we had to scramble to find their replacement,” Douma said. “I was very thankful that the Astoria JV boys and Tillamook JV girls were able to fill in at the last second.”