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Girls' basketball: Tribe downs Astoria, will host playoff game

Senior Abby Kessi came up huge for the Indians in her final regular season game, scoring 18 points to help Scappoose push past Astoria


by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Abby Kessi looks to pass out of a double team after snagging one of her team-high nine rebounds during the Indians' win over Astoria.Sometimes, it's best to simply get out of the way and let the hot hand take over.

For Scappoose, fighting in their regular season finale for the chance to host a playoff game, that hot hand belonged to senior forward Abby Kessi, who led the Indians with 18 points and nine boards in a thrilling, 43-39 win over Astoria on Feb. 21.

The victory, which is their second in a row to close what head coach David Spirlin refers to as the second of three “seasons” sets up a home game on Feb. 25, where the Indians will play either Tillamook or Astoria once again.

On Friday night, though, the two squads proved exactly why they'd entered the game deadlocked for third place in the Cowapa League.

Astoria chose to sit back in a zone rather than attempt to press Scappoose, opting to deny the easy entry passes that have been a staple for the Indians this season. Throughout the first half, Scappoose struggled to get the ball inside to Kessi, often losing possession or watching their passes get tipped away and out of bounds.

A few adjustments between the first and second quarters started to loosen a few things up. The Fishermen nailed a three-pointer midway through the period, but that was the only break in a run that put the home team up by eight.

Astoria, though, finished the half by scoring the last two baskets, and carried their new found momentum into the third period. They fought to within 29-28, and again were within one point after three quarters.

Things remained as tight as ever through the final frame. Astoria fought for and gained a brief lead at 38-37, but with just a few minutes remaining, the Indians found another gear. Kessi scored five in a row, and senior Lacey Updike added a free throw to cap a 6-0 run, and the Fishermen weren't able to get anything to fall in their final few attempts, save from a lone offering from the charity stripe.

The seniors will get one last chance to play on the home floor ahead of the upcoming post season when they will take on whomever wins between Tillamook and Astoria when they face off on Monday evening. Game time between Scappoose and their next opponent is expected to be the usual 7 p.m.

SUMMARY

Scappoose 43, Astoria 39

ASTO 9 8 14 8 39

SCAP 12 11 9 11 – 43

Scappoose (43): Spang 2, Wight 2, Kessi 18, Tinning 4, Courtney, Updike 8, Vardanega 3, Raya, Bailey, Kopra 4