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The Braves take a step back with a home loss to the Gulls, following a big win at Vallley Catholic.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Banks' Kate Hailey drives the lane during the Braves' Cowapa League game against Seaside Tuesday, Feb. 4, at Banks High School.Despite a starting lineup full of fresh faces, the loss of a two-time state player of the year, and a roster with seven freshmen and sophomores, this season is no longer just about growth —which is why this loss hurt.

The Banks girls basketball team, fresh from a big road win over Cowapa League foe Valley Catholic last week, took a step backwards in a 37-30 loss to visiting Seaside Tuesday night, Feb. 4, at Banks High School.

The loss was especially hard to swallow due to the heightened expectations as the result of vast improvement over the past few weeks. While breaking-in a new lineup to start the year, along with initiating young and inexperienced talent to varsity level basketball, the Braves understandably started slow, winning just six of their first 13 games. But over the last month, in which Banks had won four of five games and played No. 4-ranked Astoria tough in a 9-point defeat, the improvement was evident and in turn expectations were on the rise. Which is why the defeat at the hands of the 7-9 Seagulls was so disappointing.

"We felt like this was a game that we could win," Banks head coach Brandon Begley said. "We put ourselves in a position to at least have a shot for a league title, but the effort just wasn't there tonight and that's on me for not getting the girls ready."

The game was played mostly even in the first half, with Banks guard Maggie Streblow and Seaside post Ruby Douglas leading their respective teams to a 20-20 first half tie. But in the second half it was a different story, as the Seagulls (8-9, 2-2) outscored the Braves 10-2 in the third quarter en route to a 30-22 lead heading to the fourth.

Banks (10-9, 2-2) battled from there, fighting hard to work their way back by way of a staunch defense and close-in, middle, and long range shots, but little was falling. They managed to pull within six when Kate Hailey scored early in the fourth, then following a couple Seagull baskets, got to within six again after two Streblow free throws with 20 seconds remaining. But a failed late 3-point attempt ultimately spelled the end for the Braves, and with it the disappointment of a loss that will hurt Begley for a day or two to come.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Banks' Nya Johnson attacks the baseline during the Braves' Cowapa League game against Seaside Tuesday, Feb. 4, at Banks High School."A lot of what we're doing as coaches this year is teaching them how to prepare for games and how to get up for every single game, and not just the big games," the coach said. "We still got to work on and teach them how to practice the right way and how to get prepared and just be ready. Not only physically, but mentally for every single game."

It wasn't all bad though, according to Begley. Even in the wake of what could only be described as a disappointing loss, the coach was complimentary of his team overall and remains encouraged by what he's seen over the past month, along with what he believes is possible going forward.

"Even though we struggled tonight offensively, it will be there," he said. "They're starting to do the things that we want them to do, and defensively we've been really solid. Even in this game we played pretty good defensively, we just have to be better offensively to give ourselves a chance.

"We're making strides and our young kids are getting better every single day, and our older kids are stepping up and doing what we need them to do."

Streblow led Banks with 11 points. Other Brave scorers included: Hailey 7, Nya Johnson 4, Hailey Evans 4, Halle VanDomelen 2, and Betta Minervini 2.

Seaside was led by Douglas' 12 points. Other Seagull scorers included: Lilli Taylor 8, Ellisa Blodgett 6, Tristyn McFadden 4, Caleigh Peterson 4, and Jadah Doney 3.

Banks is next scheduled to play at Tillamook at 6:00 p.m. this Friday, Feb. 7, at Tillamook High School.


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