It's a two-team race in Cowapa League boys basketball — and with four league games remaining, the Banks Braves just took the lead.
In their first meeting since last year's state championship, the No. 6-ranked Seaside Gulls and the No. 7-ranked Braves played the momentum game Tuesday night at Banks.
And “Big Mo” was with the Braves in the fourth quarter, when Banks overcame a 44-38 deficit to start the quarter and outscored Seaside 35-16 to win, 70-63.
Banks improves to 4-0 in league, while Seaside drops to 3-1. The two teams will close out the league season Feb. 20 at Seaside, and could end up playing another league championship tie-breaker after that.
Both teams had big swings and scoring runs throughout Tuesday's game.
Sparked by three straight 3-pointers from Seaside's Brayden Johnson, the Gulls led 25-11 early in the second period.
Later in the quarter, an offensive rebound basket by Stephen Snyder had Seaside in front 29-21.
From there, the Braves made their first big run of the night, as a bucket by Tyler Exline sparked a 13-0 Banks rally.
Trailing 34-29 early in the third quarter, the Gulls answered with 15 unanswered points of their own.
A jump shot by Ryan Hague and a 3-pointer from Beau Johnson, followed by baskets from Snyder, Hague and Derrick Bennett capped a 15-0 run by the Gulls, who led 44-36 in the closing seconds of the third.
But the biggest — and last — run of the night belonged to the Braves.
An offensive rebound score by Charles White to close the third represented the first two points of a 22-3 rally.
The star was Exline, a 6-foot-2 junior who connected on four 3-pointers in a two-minute span to give Banks a 58-47 advantage.
The Gulls made four 3-pointers of their own in the final quarter, but Banks picked up three baskets from Jacob Slifka, then made 9-of-10 free throws in the final 2:29 to close out the win.
Exline led all scorers with 21 points, with Slifka adding 17 and White with 10.
Brayden Johnson led Seaside with 16 points, with Hague scoring 15, Beau Johnson with 13 and Snyder chipping in 12.