SEASIDE A big defensive effort and a "run for the ages" was all the Seaside boys basketball team needed Tuesday night, as the Gulls scored win No. 22 in a row with a 58-36 victory over Tillamook.
In the end, Senior Night at Seaside really turned out no different than any other night for the past two months as the Gulls jumped out to a big first-half lead, then put the game on cruise control in the second half for yet another win.
Still, the Gulls' Senior Night celebration before the game was nice - especially since it spanned the length of the gym floor, with nine seniors on the roster, plus their parent escorts.
"We had a nice crowd tonight, and we've been well-supported all year," said Seaside coach Bill Westerholm, whose team improves to 22-1 overall. "Senior Night was a great way to go out for this group of kids. We'll have more home games (in the postseason), but it's just an all-around great group of kids. Good students, good kids ... they deserve it."
But even with the 22 straight victories and a perfect 9-0 league record, the Gulls still have one final obstacle to overcome.
Seaside visits Scappoose Friday night, with a Cowapa League title on the line. The Gulls already have at least a tie for the Cowapa crown - they can win it outright, along with the league's No. 1 seed, with a victory over the Indians (8-1).
The Cheesemakers managed to keep Tuesday's game close through one quarter - trailing 9-5 after one - but a big Seaside rally to end the second period led to another big rally for the Gulls to start the third.
Midway through the second quarter, Tillamook's Trent Harp made 1-of-2 free throws to bring the Cheesemakers to within 17-10.
From there, a flurry of fouls on Tillamook led to six straight free throws for the Gulls. Tillamook senior Jordan Schriber picked up a technical foul with nine seconds left in the first half, and Seaside's Charles Hawes capped it with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 26-10.
And the Gulls were just getting started.
Nick Nelson, Andrew Potter and Jason Pfund all had easy baskets to start the third period, and Nelson drilled a 3-pointer then scored off a steal.
In all, it was a 26-0 run for the Gulls, which resulted in a 43-10 lead midway through the third quarter.
"That was one of the better defensive efforts that we've had since I've been here," Westerholm said. "The defensive effort from baseline to baseline was great. Tillamook only had 10 points at halftime. We struggled to get 26, but it was nice defense. Eddie Soller is just like a glove out there. (Schriber) had a nice dunk, but other than that, Eddie shut him down."
For good measure, Seaside's Ben DeGandi added a pair of 3-pointers later in the third, and Aaron Chesnut made another to start the fourth, as the lead reached 58-26, before Tillamook closed the game with a 10-0 run.
Nelson and Pfund scored 11 points apiece for the Gulls, with nine points for Potter and eight by Chesnut.
"I think we've had seven different leading scorers this year, and now we've had eight," Westerholm said. "Our guys aren't selfish, and that's one reason why we're doing so well. They pull for each other, and it's a great thing to be a part of."