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Banks notches important win against Astoria

Braves remain in the state playoff chase with a 49-40 victory

The Banks boys basketball team got its revenge against Astoria on Friday night.

Three weeks ago, the Braves collapsed down the stretch and allowed Astoria to rally from a five-point deficit for a 36-34 victory in both teams’ Cowapa League opener. On Friday, the Braves once again built an early lead against the Fishermen, but this time they didn’t let it slip away, and the end result was a 49-40 victory that kept Banks squarely in the state playoff hunt.

“We got a little bit of revenge against them,” Banks head coach Pat Marlia said. “When we played them at their place, we didn’t score in the last five minutes and they won it on a shot with less than 10 seconds left. For us, Friday was good. We needed that one.”

The win improved Banks’ record to 6-13 this season and 2-4 in league play, keeping the Braves tied with Astoria for fifth place and just two games behind league leaders Seaside and Tillamook, which each own 4-2 records in league play.

“We were kind of backed into a corner being 1-4 (in league),” Marlia said. “We were trying to save our playoff lives. Another loss would have really hurt our playoff chances because being in the sixth spot gets you eliminated.

“This was a really important win for us to get.”

The top two teams in the Cowapa will earn automatic state playoff berths, while the third- through fifth-place finishers will stage a two-game playoff for the league’s final postseason bid.

With four games left in the regular season, Banks could realistically finish anywhere from first to last in the league.

“Our league is just a juggernaut,” Marlia said. “Everybody is right there within two games of each other, so in the second half of the league schedule it could swing the other way and a team from the bottom could finish first or second. You just never know.”

For now, Banks is just happy to be back in the thick of things after snapping a three-game losing streak.

On Friday, Devyn Renne led the way with 14 points, including 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. Dallin Shurts, the Braves’ 6-foot-6 senior post, returned after missing several games with a concussion and finished with eight points and eight rebounds.

Jesus Narvaez had eight points, five assists and four steals, while Jake Evans also chipped in eight points.

Banks led by four at halftime but surged in the third quarter behind two 3-pointers from Renne and one more from Narvaez. The lead ballooned to 14 points in the fourth quarter before Astoria started chipping away, but the Fishermen would never seriously threaten.

“We kind of broke it open a little bit in the third,” Marlia said. “We got the lead up to 14 in the fourth, then we started turning the ball over and doing some silly things — we’d dribble it off our knee or throw a pass out of bounds.”

Dalton Renne helped the Braves stave off Astoria’s comeback bid by going 4-for-6 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

“Those were big. That helped reduce a lot of the stress and a lot of the pressure,” Marlia said. “We were able to counter their buckets by making our free throws.”

Shurts put an exclamation point on the victory with a big two-handed dunk in the game’s final minute.

“That was a pretty cool way to end it,” Marlia said.

At the end of the day, the victory helped boost the Braves’ playoff chances while also giving the team some momentum heading into the home stretch.

“I think if we were to have lost that game, the next four were going to be really tough,” Marlia said. “That would have put an extreme amount of pressure on our kids to win three or maybe all four of those games.

“It was nice to get a little revenge for the earlier loss (to Astoria). I think it put some life into our guys, and hopefully it gives them some momentum going into these last four games.”

Banks traveled to Seaside on Tuesday, but results were not available at press deadline. Next up, the Braves visit Tillamook (11-7, 4-2) for a 7 p.m. game on Thursday, followed by home games against Valley Catholic and Scappoose next week.


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