Gladstone holds off late Seaside push, scratches out 71-67 playoff win
The Gladstone Gladiators knew that the Seaside Seagulls were going to make a fourth-quarter run.
The Seagulls came hard, but not quite hard enough.
Gladstone's Jeremy De Voe scored 11 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, including the go-ahead free throws with 22.7 seconds remaining to lift the Gladiators to a 71-67 home win in Saturday's opening round of the OSAA 4A boys basketball playoffs.
Brandon Wanlass added two free throws with nine seconds left to help seal the win, sending the No. 8 Gladiators (20-5) into Thursday's quarterfinals against top-ranked Marist Catholic (22-3) at Forest Grove High School.
"Our kids rose to the occasion," Gladiators coach Cody Aker said. "For us, it's been a couple of years since we've been to the site of the finals. We've got a good group of juniors and seniors that have really bought in and we're getting to that point where we're playing some good basketball."
After Gladstone's Sebastian Peiffer made one of two free throws to give the Gladiators a 61-52 lead with 5:02 remaining, Seaside went on a 12-2 run that ended with Ryan Hague hitting a pull-up jumper to give the Seagulls a 64-63 lead with 1:48 left.
Peiffer answered with two buckets on strong drives to the basket, but Hague countered with a 3-pointer from the tied the score at 67-67 with a minute to play.
The Seagull got the ball back on a Gladstone turnover and looked as if they were ready to work the clock down for a final shot when De Voe, the Gladiators' junior post, poked the ball away from Conner Langmo near mid-court.
In the race for the loose ball, Langmo tripped De Voe, sending one of Gladstone's best free-throw shooters to the line with 22.7 seconds left.
"My head was rushing," said De Voe, who made both free throws to give the Gladiators a 69-67 lead. "I thought the referee called a travel on me. But I'm glad I got that steal and came through in the clutch for my team with the free throws."
Seaside's Beau Johnson put up a 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining that missed everything, and the Seagulls fouled Wanlass, whose two free throws with nine seconds left helped put the game away.
"Defense was the key to that one," De Voe said. "This game is about runs, so you've got to play defense and limit the other team's runs as much as possible.
"Seaside is a great team and they just came and played their hearts out. We just came out and had more intensity and I think it was because we had a home-court advantage."
Hague finished with a team-high 17 points for Seaside, while Brayden Johnson added 14 and Beau Johnson scored nine for the Seagulls, who had played in the 4A championship final each of the past four seasons, winning state titles in 2017 and 2018.
"It was an intense game," Seagulls coach Bill Westerholm said. "There are two teams playing here that I believe are both top-five teams. Unfortunately, we had to play on the road in a tough environment against a very, very good team.
"They hit a lot of big shots, we hit a lot of big shots, and it was a great game to coach in, a great game to watch. I thought we made more mistakes than they did and that was the difference in the game."
Wanlass finished with 18 points, Peiffer had 14, and Jude Ashpole added nine for the Gladiators.
SEASIDE 24 12 9 22 — 67
GLADSTONE 21 20 12 18 — 71
Seaside (67) — Ryan Hague 17, Br. Johnson 14, Be. Johnson 9, Sibony 8, Snyder 7, Rich 5, Langmo 4, Pugh 3.
Gladstone (71) — Jeremy De Voe 20, Wanlass 18, Peiffer 14, Ashpole 9, Bulisco 8, Tacha 2, Harman, Dewall.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.