The Seaside girls basketball team defeated the Yamhill-Carlton Tigers 46-35 Friday to steal first place in the Cowapa league as the 2008-2009 season winds down. By defeating the Tigers on their home court, the Gulls now control their own destiny. If they can win their remaining three games, they will have the home court advantage for the playoffs, which is important, especially with teams like Yamhill-Carlton and Seaside.
The Gulls lost to the Tigers twice before this season; first at the Stayton Classic on Dec. 30 (50-61), then in Yamhill on Jan. 9 (39-53). Their win Friday was a gutsy affair, with both teams digging deep to pull out the victory. In the end it was the Gulls who had the stronger defense that enabled them to shut down key Tiger players, such as Elle Jo Anderson who ended the game with just seven points.
Seasides record now stands at 6-1 (14-5) to the Tigers 5-2 (13-7). The Gulls have three games left on their regular schedule. They play Banks (away) on Wednesday, Feb. 11; Scappoose (away) on Friday, Feb. 13; and Astoria at home for the second Clatsop Clash on Friday, Feb. 20.
On the surface, a victory for the Gulls upcoming game with Banks (0-7) would seem to be a no-brainer, but Seaside is not about to take anything for granted. It is important that the Gulls finish strong. Head coach Mike Jacobson cannot let his team have an off night in the remaining three games.
Although Scappoose is just 3-4, they have a strong team too, and could surprise a Seaside team that was not on its toes. Of course, the most exciting game of the remaining three is the contest with Astoria, in Seasidethe Gulls last game of the regular season. The Gulls crushed the Fishermen in their first meeting on January 22 (57-29), so Astoria will be out to avenge that lopsided defeat. The Gulls need to stick to what they do best: a swarming defense that drives their opponents crazy.
The big story of Fridays game was the shutting down of Yamhill-Carltons big post player, Elle Jo Anderson. Seasides Megan Potter showed that she is more than a match for Anderson in the paint. Anderson, who injured her ankle in the last 30 seconds of the game, ended up with just seven points, which is remarkable seeing that she dominated the first two outings between the teams.
Friday the Gulls led from start to finish, but that didnt mean that Yamhill-Carlton didnt make the game interesting. While the Gulls outscored the Tigers in the first half 28-12, the Tigers outscored Seaside in the final two periods, 23-18. Just when the Gulls seemed to be able to breathe a little easier, Anderson would crash the boards, make a flip pass to the point guard Kori Bellwood and YC would inch a little closer to Seaside. The Tigers Bellwood and Skye Larson made the Seaside crowd restless with their outside shooting, but every time Yamhill-Carlton seemed to get back into the game, the Gulls made a big play, such as a steal by senior Ashley Mayfield, a rebound by Megan Potter, or a drive to the basket by Anna Toyas.
Sometimes in close games it is the little things that make the difference between winning and losing. Late in Friday nights game the Tigers inched to within eight points and looked to be taking over the momentum. To the Gulls credit, they did not cave in, and in the last few minutes, when YC had to foul to stop the clock, the Gulls made their free throws, effectively putting the game away.
For the game, Ashley Mayfield ended with 18 points, Anna Toyas had 8, Becca Lent 7, Megan Potter 6, Riley Tadei 4, and Sarah LaCoste 3. For Yamhill, Carrie Skuzeski had 8 points, Elle Jo Anderson had 7, Skye Larson 7, Kori Bellwood 5, Dylan Fox 3, Katlyn Adams 3, and Alexis Findley 2.