There wasn’t too much at stake for the Astoria girls basketball team Wednesday night at the Brick House.
Win or lose, the Lady Fishermen were moving on to the regional play-in round, and win or lose, their ranking wasn’t going to change. Much.
But when it’s a Clatsop Clash, there’s the “personal pride” thing. And that was enough to get Astoria fired up for the Cowapa League playoff with Seaside.
Astoria’s Brooklynn Hankwitz scored 16 points, and the Lady Fishermen topped the Gulls for the third time this season, 46-36.
Astoria (15-9 overall) dropped a spot in the rankings and will play at Molalla in the regional play-in round, day and time to be announced. The season comes to an end for the Gulls, 8-17 overall.
Astoria also managed to overcome the dreaded “third meeting” jinx in Wednesday’s game. Even though Seaside lost both regular season meetings, the advantage usually belongs to the losing team the third time around.
“I hate playing the same team three times in a season,” said Astoria coach Mike Jacobson. “It doesn’t matter who it is or how you’ve played against them, it’s tough to beat a team three times.
“And Seaside played well tonight,” he said. “They wanted to win.”
At the same time, it’s tough to beat Jacobson in Clatsop Clash league playoff games.
In three postseason meetings between Astoria and Seaside, Jacobson is a combined 3-0 as coach (2-0 as Seaside’s coach, now 1-0 with Astoria).
Wednesday’s final score might have favored Seaside, if the Gulls had not missed 16 free throws and 32 shots from the field. Seaside also had 25 turnovers.
As it was, neither team was shy about shooting the ball, as the Gulls and Fishermen combined to take 104 shots from the field, missing 78.
And with a combined 26 fouls in the second half, it was tough for either team to get into a rhythm. Astoria would threaten to pull away several times, and Seaside would respond with a run of its own.
For Astoria, “I think it was nerves,” Jacobson said. “We weren’t in the gym (Tuesday), so we got out of our routine, and the early start today didn’t help. But some of the kids stepped up today and played good. We need everybody, and I think that showed tonight.”
Three-pointers by Hailey O’Brien and Julia Norris helped the Lady Fishermen build a quick 11-0 lead.
Seaside closed to within 11-6, and Astoria answered with a 9-2 run for a 20-6 lead.
Annaka Garhofer and Jetta Ideue knocked down 3-pointers to bring the Gulls back to within 20-14 at halftime. Seaside’s 6-2 run to start the second half had the Gulls within 22-20, and Jacobson called a timeout. And his team responded.
Following the timeout, freshman Halle Helmersen drained a pair of 3-pointers off the bench, and Hankwitz added two scores underneath for a 32-22 lead.
“We kind of backed off with the intensity level a little, and we had to get ‘em back on the right path,” Jacobson said of his players. “And we made a 10-0 run after they got within two. Brooklynn stayed out of foul trouble and did a great job, and Halle came off the bench and had a great game.”
The Gulls still managed to stay within 10 points, but a stretch of eight straight missed free throws in the second half cost Seaside.
Ideue eventually fouled out, while Astoria’s Kajsa Jackson, O’Brien, Kelsey Fausett and Hankwitz combined to make 6-of-8 free throws in the final minutes to secure the win.
“We were going to get another game no matter what, but we told the girls that they had to come out and play hard,” Jacobson said. “That’s the maturity of a good team.”