The Astoria boys basketball team battled as best they could against the No. 1-ranked Banks Braves, but a Fishermen rally midway through the second half ran out of steam, and the Braves escaped the Brick House with a 57-38 win Friday night.
Sparked by a pair of baskets from Karsten Johnson in the closing seconds of the third quarter, the Fishermen reeled off a 10-2 run and trailed the Braves 46-36 with 3:35 remaining.
Astoria went to a press defense to continue the comeback, but the Braves went to their height advantage and broke the press with a few over-the-top passes and breakaway layups. As a result, the Braves turned their 46-36 lead into a 57-36 lead in the final minute.
Johnson scored nine points and added a couple of big blocked shots to lead Astoria, while Blake Gobel topped the Braves with 24 points. The undefeated Braves (18-0) will face their toughest challenge of the season Tuesday when they host Seaside.