“It was a physical, hard fought game, like it often is against Neah-Kah-Nie,” Nestucca girls basketball coach Tim Foster said.
A packed gym at Nestucca High School Jan. 10 was treated to a pair of nail-biting games between Tillamook County rivals Nestucca and Neah-Kah-Nie. The girls opened up the evening with a physical, foul-filled game that looked to be safely in the hands of the Bobcats for the majority of the night.
“I thought we did a decent job attacking the basket and getting ourselves to the foul line, especially since our outside shots weren’t falling,” Foster said.
Their consistent attack on offense helped the Bobcats build a 10 point lead going into the fourth quarter. However, the resilient Lady Pirates fought tooth and nail to erase a 10 point fourth quarter deficit and cut Nestucca’s lead down to just two points with just a few seconds to go.
“We were aggressive offensively for only one quarter,” Neah-Kah-Nie head coach Corey Douma said. “I thought our defense was solid all night, a few mistakes here and there but we were so timid on offense quarters 1-3 that it left us in a big hole that we almost got ourselves out of.”
The Pirates’ fourth quarter attack was led by senior Alicia Cruz Lilly, who compiled the majority of her points off of drives to the basket. After Lilly’s bucket cut the Nestucca lead to two, all the Bobcats had to do was get the ball inbounds and wait to be fouled. A questionable no-call on the Bobcats proceeding inbound play allowed Nestucca to get the ball inbounds before getting fouled.
“The non-call at the end with 3.1 seconds left was highly disappointing,” Douma said. “We should have had the ball out of bounds under our basket with a chance to win or tie but that was taken away from us. Who’s to say if we would have made it or not or even get a shot off but at least we would have gotten a chance.”
Clutch, late game free throws by sophomore Shamilee Chatelain, junior Olivia Leslie and senior Yatzari Ozuna iced the game for the Lady Cats and Nestucca prevailed to earn a 38-33 win. Leslie led the way for Nestucca with 15 points from 10 free throws. It was a relieving win for the Lady Cats, but Foster knows that the game could have easily slipped away from them.
“We definitely did not do a good job closing this game out,” Foster said. “We didn’t take care of the ball as well as we could have, and gave them too many scoring opportunities in the final three or four minutes.”
After the Pirates league game against Gaston Tuesday, they will be hosting league leader Portland Christian Friday before traveling to City Christian on Saturday. Douma is looking forward to getting back on track this week against some tough competition.
“Portland Christian seems to be playing better and better, so that will be tough one,” Douma said. “Then City on Saturday, who seems to be playing well, I am sure they will be up for the game since we were able to sneak out a win against them in December.”