The two teams that were destined to meet in the 2020 state tournament met Friday night at the Brick House in a nonleague meeting of two 4A girls basketball powers. And don't be surprised to see the two teams battle again in the postseason.
For now, the Philomath Warriors won the contest that was never contested in 2020, using a 33-point night from senior Sage Kramer for a 44-31 win over Astoria.
Philomath is the team of the present, as the Warriors came in ranked No. 1 in the most recent coaches poll. Meanwhile, Astoria appears to be the 4A team of the future, with one junior, a sophomore and two freshmen in the starting lineup.
And Astoria still kept the game close throughout the first half. The Fishermen held an early lead on back-to-back baskets from Caleigh Peterson and Shelby Bruney, and trailed by just seven at halftime, 22-15.
But it was Kramer who the Lady Fish could not find an answer for.
The 5-foot-11-inch senior answered every Astoria run with layups, 3-point plays, offensive rebounds scores or made 3-pointers (three). Six-three junior Abigail Brown was the next highest scorer for Philomath, with five points.
Astoria trailed by as much as 30-16 in the third quarter, but battled back to within 10 points in the fourth quarter, and even picked up an extra point, as freshman Tayla Huber was awarded three points on a two-point jump shot with 3:28 left.
But that would be Astoria's final field goal, as a jump shot by Brown and a few free throws helped the Warriors clinch the win. Huber led Astoria with nine points.
Lady Fish 49, Tigers 32
Following Friday's loss, Astoria bounced back less than 24 hours later with a 49-32 win at Yamhill-Carlton.
Freshman Shelby Bruney scored 15 for the Fishermen, who had the game wrapped up by halftime with a 35-14 lead.
Astoria improved to 1-2 overall, while the Tigers dropped to 1-4.
Gulls fall twice at Junction City
Klamath Union outscored Seaside 28-16 over the second and third quarters, helping the Pelicans score a 44-31 win over Seaside in a first round girls basketball game of the Junction City Holiday Classic.
The Lady Gulls also came up short in a second round contest Saturday, as Sweet Home topped Seaside 23-21.
Seaside had a balanced scoring effort in Friday's game, with nine points each from Abby Nofield, Madi Olson and Lilli Taylor.
Anna Mendez and Alex Slaven had nine points apiece and Erin Garcia added eight for Klamath Union.
In other weekend girls basketball action, Amity defeated Warrenton 53-25, and Jewell split a pair of games, topping Delphian 24-9 after a 29-20 loss to Southwest Christian.