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Tuesday, January 6, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Prep Basketball -- Ex-Naselle Coach Returns A Winner

Seattle Times Staff

NASELLE - Lyle Patterson wanted to return to Naselle High School for a 33rd and final season as boys basketball coach.

But four weeks before the start of practice, the Naselle School Board voted to replace the second all-time winningest coach in state history.

Last night, Patterson returned to the Naselle gym - as an assistant coach for Knappa, Ore.

Knappa, employing Patterson's swarming defense he made successful in 32 seasons at Naselle, handed the Comets an 89-46 pounding before a packed house.

Knappa, ranked No. 1 in Oregon's Class 2A poll, improved to 9-0. Naselle, now coached by Ryan Bjornsgard, fell to 2-7.

"Everybody's so nice, it's almost heartwarming," Patterson told a friend after last night's game.

Earlier this summer, it was a dispute that split a community. Although the school board voted unanimously to replace Patterson at the Naselle helm, some members of the community didn't agree. One resident submitted a petition both pro and con for Patterson at the school board meeting in which the veteran coach was fired. The petition favored rehiring Patterson by a margin of 227-27.

Patterson compiled a record of 623-230 in his 32 seasons at Naselle - second only to Mercer Island's Ed Pepple on the state's all-time list for victories.

Patterson's Comets posted a 60-49 record in Class B state-tournament games. They appeared in the state-championship game five times - and finished second five times. They also had three third-place finishes, four fourths, one fifth, three sixths, one seventh and two eighth-place finishes at state.

Patterson's teams won 15 district titles and owned a 119-43 record in district-tournament play.

Seattle Lutheran 76, King's West 56 - Mike Shields poured in 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Seattle Lutheran (4-0, 9-1) remained unbeaten in Sea-Tac B League play and posted its ninth consecutive victory overall. Erich Neupert scored 20 points for the Saints, who led 22-13 after one quarter and hammered King's West on the boards. Josh Morse led the Warriors with 28 points.

GIRLS GAME

At King's West 66, Seattle Lutheran 43 - Beth Ellis scored 21 points to lead the Warriors (3-0, 8-2) over the Saints in a Sea-Tac B League game. Lindsay Friesen added 16 points and Paige Kuske grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with nine steals for the Warriors. Brit Christopher led Seattle Lutheran with 17 points.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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