The Astoria girls basketball team locked up at least a share of the Cowapa League championship Tuesday night, with a 46-45 win at Valley Catholic.
The Lady Fishermen finish league play with a 7-1 record, still a half-game ahead of second-place Banks (6-1), which closes league play Thursday against Seaside.
Tuesday's win did not come easy, as Valley Catholic staged a fourth-quarter rally and nearly pulled off a huge upset.
“We about gave (the Valiants) the game in the fourth quarter,” said Astoria coach Mike Jacobson. “But we pulled it out. We were out of position defensively and we lost track of No. 4 (Valley's Callie Kawaguchi, who scored a game-high 21 points).
“Anyway, we pulled out the win for at least a share of the Cowapa League championship. Been a long time coming for the Astoria girls program.”
And the Lady Fishermen are one step closer to their first state tournament appearance since 2002.
If Banks should defeat Seaside on Thursday, Astoria would play the Braves (at Tillamook) Saturday for the league's No. 1 seed. And that's just the beginning of a long series of league playoff games.
Valley Catholic will likely host Seaside on Saturday, with the winner of that game to play the loser of Banks vs. Astoria next Monday, at the higher-seeded team. The winner of Valley Catholic vs. Seaside would play the winner of Banks vs. Astoria next Tuesday.
The Lady Fishermen would be outright league champions if Seaside wins Thursday at Banks.
Astoria led 14-3 after one quarter against the Valiants, who trailed 36-24 after three quarters.
Valley Catholic went on a 21-10 run in the final period, but the Fishermen held on for the victory.
Hailey O'Brien led Astoria with 20 points, followed by Kelsey Fausett with nine and Brooklynn Hankwitz with eight.