Thursday night's battle at the Brick House didn't mean much on paper for the Astoria boys basketball team.
Two games behind league champion Tillamook, and with a two-game cushion on third-place Scappoose, the Fishermen had already wrapped up second place in the Cowapa League.
But with their Clatsop Clash rivals in town and Senior Night in front of the home crowd, there was plenty of incentive for the Fishermen as they took the floor for their regular season finale.
And after a nice sendoff for the three seniors, the Fishermen gave a nice farewell appearance of their own to the Brick House crowd, with a convincing 51-31 win over the Gulls.
Next up for Seaside: a league playoff Tuesday at Banks. Next up for Astoria: a long break. Unless they can scrounge up a nonleague game next week, the next official action for the Fishermen will be a second-round state playoff game at Brookings-Harbor, March 6.
"What we'd like to do is add a game next Friday," said Astoria coach Chris Hunt, even if it's against alumni. "We'll figure out some way to do a scrimmage and play. When you play against alumni it still counts as a game, but we've got so many open dates it doesn't matter. We had seven games we didn't play."
The Fishermen took their game outside in Thursday's Clatsop Clash. Not literally - Astoria was bombing away from the 3-point line. The Fishermen connected on 8-of-18 shots from the arc, including four 3-point bombs in the first quarter.
Jordan Poyer drained a pair of 3-pointers, Alex Eterno added another, and Max Johnson connected from beyond the arc late in the opening period for an 18-8 lead.
Jacob Davis came off the bench and tried his hand from 3-point land, and connected midway through the second quarter to spark a 10-1 run.
Poyer followed up his own miss with an offensive rebound basket, then scored on a spin move to give Astoria a 32-15 lead with three minutes remaining in the first half.
The Gulls closed to within 32-22 early in the second half, while the Fishermen did not score again until Poyer drained a 3-pointer late in the third quarter.
"We were kind of stuck on 32 to start the second half, but we were able to regain it enough to finish strong," Hunt said. "(The Gulls) know they're going to play on Tuesday against Banks, so they want to go in with some positive momentum.
"I think our kids were pumped," he added. "It was Senior Night, against Seaside ... I thought we were a little flat Tuesday (vs. Yamhill-Carlton). We played O.K., but I thought they were ready and pumped up tonight."
Ian Erickson and Davis popped in a pair of treys to close out the third quarter, and the Fishermen lead reached 20 points midway through the fourth period.
"The kids have been working on (3-pointers), and they've been hitting them," Hunt said. "We tell them, 'If you're open, shoot.' If you're going to work to get an open shot, you can't be afraid to pull the trigger."
Justin Laird finished with a game-high 16 points (12 in the first half) for the Gulls, who were 13-of-39 from the field.
The Fishermen will now have two weeks to prepare for Brookings-Harbor. The Bruins have spent most of the season ranked No. 1 atop the Class 4A coaches poll, and will be big favorites in the second-round contest.
Then again, the Fishermen took on No. 1-ranked Central in the state football playoffs, and we all know how that one turned out.
"Brookings finished second last year in state, their core group is back ... it will be a challenge," Hunt said. "But our football team played Central before the finals and won. You've got to play the best at some point. It just so happens we'll play them right off the bat. We'll be ready to go."
Astoria set to host wrestlingAstoria High School will be the host for the 2009 Cowapa League wrestling championships, which begin today at 3 p.m.
Weigh-in for wrestlers is 1 p.m., and doors open for spectators at 2 p.m.
Today's admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students. Saturday's wrestling begins at 11 a.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for students. Doors open at 10 a.m. for spectators.
A two-day pass is also available at $11 for adults, $5 for students. The Astoria Youth Athletics Booster club hosts a Saturday breakfast in the AHS Commons area, beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Knappa baseball tryoutsKnappa Cal Ripken Baseball tryouts will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, at Hilda Lahti Elementary. Tryouts are for 8- to 12-year-olds. Registration forms are available at the school office.