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Now that was a high school basketball game

Indians comeback before largest county basketball crowd
by: Self-portrait Sports Editor John Brewington

Walking into the Scappoose High gym just a little late for the boys game on Friday night wasn't recommended. There were no seats to be had, even standing room was at a premium.

Fans were turning out to watch the Scappoose and Seaside teams square off for the Cowapa League championship. With nearly 1,000 people on hand it may have been the highest attended basketball game in Columbia County history.

Oh, there have been some pretty crowded venues over the years, but I don't think any of the others could hold the crowd that showed up in Scappoose.

Athletic Director Robert Medley brought in several temporary bleachers for what is normally the pretty open side of the gym. They were all filled and people were standing behind them as well. With the main bleacher capacity at 700, there were probably easily another 300 crammed into nooks and crannies all around the floor.

Fans certainly got what they paid for. If they got there early, they got to see the Scappoose girls take charge of a game with Seaside and pull off a win. The win sent the Scappoose and Seaside girls to Tillamook (neutral court) for a playoff game the next night. Seaside, Scappoose, and Astoria were tied for the fourth and final league playoff berth. Actually, it's a 'play-in' berth, but it's reallythe same thing. The Lady Indians lost Saturday, but it was still a good game to watch on Friday.The boys game was also a good one to watch. A bigger Seaside time took control near the end of the first period and had built a 13-point lead towards the end of the third period.

It seemed like Scappoose was dead. Never tell the Indians that, though. Over the next four minutes, they had erased the Seaside lead and moved in front for good. In the last 8:30 of the game, they would outscore the Gulls 26-7.

Seaside might have gotten a little worn out by the quick-footed Indians. The Scappoose win left the two teams tied for the league title. A playoff was slated Tuesday night in Tillamook to determine the league champion.

They're playing for pride and honor, but it doesn't make a whole lot of different for the play-ins or the playoffs. The league winner will host the No. 4 team from the Tri-Valley League, more than likely Gladstone (3-6 league, 9-11 season). The second place team will host Molalla (6-3, 15-8). Molalla is ranked 11th, just ahead of Scappoose and more likely than not the tougher team. Gladstone is ranked 21 The trick is to get past that team and make it into the real playoffs the following week. That's the top 16. Home teams and pairings will be determined by the Oregon School Activities Association rankings. It's possible, but unlikely Scappoose would have a first-round home game. Seaside, by virtue of their current fourth-place ranking will undoubtedly have a home game if they win their play-in game.

If the game were held this week and all the top 16 teams win (unlikely) that would mean Scappoose would travel to Newport for their game, probably Feb. 25. Seaside could host Philomath. That can and probably will change. Both teams could do quite well in the playoffs.

Over in the 5A ranks, the situation is a little different. The teams divide up into Northern and Southern Division teams for the play-ins. The St. Helens boys are currently ranked 24. They were to travel to Sandy on Tuesday for their last Northwest Oregon Conference game on Tuesday. Sandy is one spot ahead of them in the standings. If St. Helens stays where it is at, it probably will go to Cleveland on Friday or Saturday. If the Lions move up, they could face Liberty. They can move two spots to avoid a league opponent, but how it works out will remain to be seen.

The St. Helens Lady Lions are also going to have a play-in game. Only two schools will be eliminated and there are four from the North Division below them in the rankings. That makes them around 13th in the standings and that would pit them against Wilsonville, another NWOC team. Can't do that so they could go to play at The Dalles-Wahtonka.

The Scappoose girls have been eliminated from the 4A postseason.

We'll have to wait and see. The only thing certain right now before the Tuesday games is that Scappoose will have a home game this Friday or Saturday.