The final non-conference game of the season for the North Marion boys basketball game pitted two 4A powerhouses against each other at North Marion High School on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the No. 3-ranked Huskies, the streaking No. 4 Seaside Seagulls could not be denied, winning 44-37 for Seasides 12th straight win in a row.
The Seagulls entered the game as one of the hottest 4A teams in the state, having won every game since a season-opening loss to Liberty on Dec. 4.
But the Huskies were fresh off a 62-60 victory over another ranked team, the No. 7 Valley Catholic Valiants on Tuesday, and were looking to head into conference play next week with another win over a top-tier opponent.
And North Marion came close Friday night. After the two teams closed the first quarter of play tied at 10 points each, the Seagulls rushed out of the gates in the second period and established a double-digit lead that the team maintained throughout the second and third periods.
The Huskies trailed 38-27 entering the fourth quarter, but slowly crept closer by pressuring the ball and denying the Seagulls opportunities to score.
North Marion pulled within four points toward the middle of the quarter when senior wing Drew Torian scored back-to-back layups. Following Torians second basket, an argument started between the referee and Seaside coach Bill Westerholm, leading to a technical foul on Westerholm that the Huskies Tanner Scanlan converted into 1-of-2 free throws to make it a 39-35 game.
Thats as close as North Marion got it, though. The two teams traded possessions without scoring for the next several minutes before Seaside senior wing Jaxson Smith broke the drought with a pair of free throws to make it 41-35 with 1:16 left.
Torian attacked the basket on the next offensive possession, leading to a pair of free throws that he split. After the Huskies forced a Seagull turnover, Torian again went 1-of-2 from the line to bring it back to a four-point deficit, 41-37, with 36 seconds remaining.
Another basket by Smith followed by back-to-back 3-point misses for the Huskies spelled the end of North Marions rally attempt.
The Huskies (11-3) were led by 12 points from Torian, followed by eight from Scanlan and seven from Hunter Martin. Seaside was paced by 15 from Smith.
The loss halted North Marions season-long win streak at five games, tying the streak that the Huskies started to open the season. The game against Seaside was North Marions seventh straight against an opponent ranked in the OSAA top 10. The Huskies went 5-2 in that span.
North Marion will continue its season Tuesday when it opens its Oregon West Conference schedule against the Yamhill-Carlton Tigers (4-9) at home at 5:30 p.m.
Seaside (12-1) plays its conference-opener on the road at No. 6 Scappoose (10-3) Tuesday at 6 p.m.