Seaside has gone toe-to-toe this year with some of the best 4A girls basketball teams in the state — Banks, North Marion, Stayton — but the Lady Gulls just seem to have trouble rising to the occasion against Astoria.
Astoria won its fifth-straight Clatsop Clash, 43-23, Friday night at the Brick House, setting up a first-place showdown Tuesday with Banks.
Meanwhile, ever since the graduation of Maddi Utti, the Gulls haven’t been much of a challenge for Astoria, which knocked off Seaside three times last season, and now twice this year — all by double-digit margins.
“Astoria presents a lot of challenges for us, as they have multiple kids and ways to score,” said Seaside coach Mike Hawes, “though (Hailey) O’Brien seems to flourish against us.”
Hawes was speaking of Astoria junior Hailey O’Brien, who has now scored a combined 38 points in two games this year vs. the Gulls. She led the Fishermen with 18 in Friday’s win.
O’Brien was part of Astoria’s big first quarter, in which the Lady Fish were 6-for-13 from the field, 4-of-6 from the 3-point line, with two treys from O’Brien and one each for Julia Norris and Halle Helmersen.
Astoria led 17-7 after the first eight minutes. Both teams struggled after that.
Over the final three quarters, the Fishermen were 1-for-12 on 3-pointers, with 16 turnovers. Seaside had 26 turnovers on the night, and finished 1-for-14 from the 3-point line.
“Sometimes we have painful offensive nights. and this was one of them,” Hawes said. “Too many turnovers, not enough shot attempts, too few makes. Even if you’re playing decent defense, everything is magnified. The girls played hard and we’ll keep plugging away.”
Meanwhile, Astoria (4-1 in league) is poised to tie Banks (5-0) atop the Cowapa standings with a win Tuesday.
With the exception of a Jan. 18 loss at Banks, no team has even come close to the Lady Fishermen, whose last eight victories have come by an average margin of 27 points per game.
Following Tuesday’s game vs. Banks, Astoria closes the league season with games at Tillamook and Valley Catholic, as the Fishermen look to secure their first state tournament appearance since 2002.