After outscoring the competition 120-35 in the first two rounds, the Astoria Lady Fishermen faced some tough competition Saturday night in the championship game of the Les Schwab Invitational in Coos Bay.
And in a possible preview of the Class 4A state championship game, Philomath scored a 51-50 win over the Fishermen, who lost for the first time this season.
Philomath’s Sage Kramer made 1-of-2 free throws with 0.8 seconds remaining for the winning point.
Astoria had tied the game at 50-50, when Kelsey Fausett hit two free throws with 16 seconds remaining.
Astoria’s 6-0 record to start the season was still the best in school history for the Fishermen, who were coming off wins over Crook County (60-13) and Marshfield (60-22). In their first six games, Astoria’s average margin of victory was 36.3 points.
And the Fishermen found themselves leading by 13 points in Saturday’s game against the unbeaten Warriors, who gradually fought their way back and took advantage of Astoria fouls and turnovers.
“We’ve talked about taking care of the little things when we play good teams, and we didn’t do that against Philomath,” said Astoria coach Mike Jacobson. “A few turnovers and a couple fouls late in the game hurt us.”
He added, “You can get away with that playing some games, but when you play a team like Philomath (the new No. 1-ranked team in the OSAA rankings) you can’t.”
It was also the closest game of the season for the Warriors (7-0), whose previous closest contest was a 62-36 win over Central.
“We wanted to control Kramer and (Emma) Pankalla, and for the most part we did a good job on them,” Jacobson said. “We created 32 turnovers with our defense, which was good, but we just couldn’t capitalize at times.”
The Astoria players “were pretty disappointed, but they know what we have to work on,” he said. The Fishermen have a first round bye in the upcoming Dulcich Tournament, which begins Thursday.
Hailey O’Brien led Astoria with 15 points, followed by Halle Helmersen and Julia Norris with 10 apiece.
Kramer and Pankalla both poured in 15 points for Philomath, with Mia Rust adding 14.
Fausett and O’Brien both made the all-tournament team, while Pankalla was named the Most Valuable Player.
Astoria 60, Marshfield 22
The Fishermen secured their spot in the final with a 60-22 win over Marshfield Friday.
Astoria went on a 21-2 run and forced 28 turnovers in the first half. The Fishermen had 20 steals before halftime.
Hailey O’Brien led Astoria with 18 points, followed by Brooklynn Hankwitz (11) and Mollie Matthews (10). Kajsa Jackson added eight points and 10 rebounds.