SEASIDE — If the North Marion boys basketball team came into Friday’s game with the No. 1 ranking … what does that make the team that beat the Huskies by 30 points?
Unbeatable? Unstoppable? Definitely awesome.
Pick any of the above, and that would describe the Seaside Seagulls when they’re at their best.
The point is, if the Gulls play like they did in the second half of Friday’s 80-50 win over North Marion … they will be unbeatable, unstoppable AND awesome.
For much of the last four years, the Gulls have been the Team to Beat in the world of Oregon 4A high school basketball.
The Gulls seem to hold that title once again, following Friday’s thrashing, pounding and dismantling of North Marion.
Although the Huskies put up a brief battle in the second quarter, that’s all it was. Brief.
Midway through the third period, Seaside held a slim 38-35 lead. By the end of the same quarter, the Gulls led 60-37.
The 22-2 run was keyed by 11 points from Brayden Johnson — who also keyed the rest of the night for the Gulls, scoring a career-high 34 points, four points shy of the school record.
From the 3:57 mark of the third quarter to the opening minutes of the fourth, Johnson scored 13 points, which included three 3-pointers and four points off his own steals.
Ryan Hague added 19 points of his own, as the two seniors (by themselves!) outscored the Huskies, 53-50.
It was clear for all who saw it — when they’re on, these Gulls are unstoppable.
“We haven’t competed for four straight quarters this year,” said Seaside coach Bill Westerholm. “This is the first time we’ve competed for all four quarters.
“The middle of the third quarter, I told them, ‘we’re up 11 right now.’ We’ve been in this position many times this year, and we end up playing even or having a letdown. We have to be smart and be solid on defense, and we finally had a different energy and a different focus tonight.”
He added, “We’ve had four really good days of practice. We know what our RPI and ranking is right now, so we know we have to get some quality wins, because we haven’t had a quality win yet. So we were looking forward to this game. We had a good game plan coming in, and this is the most focused I’ve seen this group of kids.”
And the Gulls set the tone early, making every one of their first four shots from the field, which happened to be two 3-pointers from Brayden Johnson, and two triples by Beau Johnson and Hague.
Not to be outdone — and showing a bit of their No. 1 ranking — the Huskies countered with three 3-pointers by Brady Hansen and an 11-2 run late in the first quarter, and led 23-22 early in the second period.
That, however, was North Marion’s final lead of the night.
A layup by Stephen Snyder and an offensive rebound basket from Derrick Bennett gave Seaside a 26-23 lead, and the Gulls never trailed again.
The Huskies simply had no answer for Brayden Johnson and Hague, who combined for 35 second half points.
“We came out on fire,” Westerholm said. “Brayden obviously shot extremely well tonight. To him, he’s always open. And it’s OK when he makes ‘em.”
Snyder finished with 10 points.
And once the Gulls made their 22-2 run, “we kind of had them where we wanted them,” Westerholm said. “We started rebounding their missed shots and things started going our way. I’m proud of the kids for their effort and responding, and now we’re going in the right direction.”
Seaside opens the Cowapa League season Tuesday at Astoria.