By Garth Meyer
Gazette Reporter 

One for the ages in Whitman County: Vikings take Oakesdale, league on last shot


February 7, 2019

Austin Jones

--Cap Perry photo

Garfield/Palouse sophomore guard Austin Jones takes the shot to win.

It came down to two deep shots from Austin Jones, the last of which left his hands with 4.8 seconds remaining.

In the crowded Oakesdale gym Saturday night, Feb. 2, with double-doors behind the stage curtains propped wide open to cool it down, Garfield/Palouse and Oakesdale met for the second time this season, the two teams tied for first-place in the Southeast 1B league all year.

The Vikings broke the tie, winning 41-39 after Jones, a Gar/Pal sophomore guard, hit a last three-pointer from near the 10-foot volleyball line. Just before, Oakesdale's Evan Henning made two free throws to put Oakesdale up by a point.

Sometimes a great notion is realized.

On senior night for the Nighthawks, in a game that featured three pairs of brothers on each roster, the two veteran groups that were neck-and-neck for second in league last year and neck-and-neck for first this year had the final game of the 2018-19 regular season to decide it.

It started with Oakesdale missing. Garfield/Palouse was on, a Jones three-pointer put the score at 8-0 before Oakesdale's Wesley Castanon put up a three-pointer, no, at the 3:06 mark of the first quarter.

The specter rose of the 17-percent shooting night Oakesdale had in a loss at Palouse Jan. 11.

Then Matt Hockett hit a six-foot jump shot to put the Nighthawks on the scoreboard.

Castanon, a senior guard and saddlebronc rider, took another shot from outside, it went in, 8-5.

Evan Henning then got a steal and score for Oakesdale to cut it to 11-9 with 58 seconds left in the first quarter.

Into the second, Castanon hit a three-pointer from the corner for a 15-15 tie at 4:40 in the second quarter.

Gar/Pal went ahead again. Oakesdale leading scorer Kieron Anderson, a senior center, made a slicing drive for a two-footer to keep the score within two at 21-19. Anderson then denied the Vikings' Ely Hawkins, another senior, from three feet. At the other end of the floor, Hockett made one of two free throws to cut Gar/Pal's lead to 21-20.

With under a minute left to halftime, Hawkins hit two free throws and Hockett got called for an offensive foul driving the baseline.

Under 17 seconds, Garfield/Palouse ball and Blake Jones, a junior forward, got called for traveling. Three seconds remained, Oakesdale inbounded and got off a long shot, too early, off target. The teams went into the locker rooms under the stage with the score 23-20 Gar/Pal.


Opening the third quarter, Oakesdale's Jacob Himes, a guard, another senior, passed underneath to Anderson to cut the margin back to a point, 23-22.

Blake Jones then hit from outside for 26-23 Gar/Pal. Oakesdale passed the ball around and Castanon hit a 12-footer from up high, cutting it to 26-25.

Oakesdale, switching to zone defense, still had never led.

Vikings ball and a whistle on Tanner Anderson, a senior post; traveling. Oakesdale possession, Himes brought it up the floor, his team passed it around, and he went up for a 10-foot jumper, off the rim and backboard, no.

Next a whistle on Gar/Pal's Caden Sanderson, another senior; traveling.

Oakesdale ball again.

"Kansas!" called out coach Carl Crider from the bench and the team worked passes again, still trailing.

Himes went up for a 12-foot jump shot and hit, 27-26. Oakesdale had the lead.

Blake Jones followed with two free throws for Gar/Pal.

Back and forth, Austin Jones, Blake's little brother, pushed the ball up the floor and turned it over.

"Slow it down a little, boys," said Tanner Anderson at mid-court.

Then a steal by Himes, under the Gar/Pal basket, taking it away from Tanner's brother, Jacob Anderson, a sophomore forward.

Oakesdale possession and Kieron Anderson hit a six-foot jumper for 29-28 Oakesdale at the 3:31 point of the third quarter; time out Gar/Pal.

Out of the break came Jordan Paddock, a 5'8'" backup guard for the Vikings, another senior, as Garfield/Paouse coach Steve Swinney switched to a smaller, faster lineup.

More contention – Himes and Hawkins wrestled to a jump ball. Himes caused another turnover and Oakesdale took possession again at 26 seconds left in the third.

"Passing game, one shot, one shot!" called Crider.

Oakesdale threw the ball around, and Henning got tied up by Blake Jones and they never got a shot off.

Still time left and Austin Jones threw a half-court shot and the buzzer sounded, end of quarter, Oakesdale up 29-28.


Into the fourth quarter, Kieron Anderson hit two free throws, Ely Hawkins scored inside, Paddock got a rebound off a Hockett miss, Paddock followed with an offensive rebound and Himes got called for his first foul.

Paddock hit a banked-in three-pointer from the top of the key and Gar/Pal went back up 33-31.

Oakesdale ball and Castanon drove, collision and whistle, Tanner Anderson drew the charge. He and his teammates broke into a roar.

Oakesdale's Henning got a steal under the basket and Himes traveled.

Back down the floor for Garfield/Palouse and Himes, falling out of bounds, tossed an errant ball off Hawkins for Oakesdale possession, 3:50 left.

Castanon hit from 10 feet, tying the game at 33-33 followed by timeout Vikings after a questionable Gar/Pal possession call on a rebound knocked out of bounds.

Still tied, at 2:46 remaining in the game, coming out of the timeout, Blake Jones picked up an offensive foul, his third. Oakesdale passed the ball around, Himes drove, cut a path off the side of the key and leapt for a shot, off the glass and in, whistle, foul on Gar/Pal.

Himes went to the line and missed, Oakesdale still up two, 35-33.

Under two minutes left, a travel call on Jacob Anderson gave the ball back and Hockett drove in tight, shot a baseline three-footer and missed, went back up and wrenched down his own rebound and scored.

Oakesdale led by four, its largest lead of the game.

Time out Gar/Pal with 1:44 on the clock.

Out of the timeout, Blake Jones took a quick three-pointer, off, Kieron Anderson rebounded, Oakesdale worked the ball around, over to Henning for, a lay-up – missed it.

Gar/Pal rebound, the Vikings ran up the floor and Austin Jones threw over the key to Hawkins underneath to cut the Nighthawks lead to two.

Under a minute and again timeout Gar/Pal.


In the huddle, knowing Oakesdale would inbound from the sideline on their own half of the court, Swinney drew out a plan for the Jones boys to trap whichever Oakesdale player caught the inbound. The Vikings would guard close near the key but lay off up high for a likely inbound toward half court.

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Out of the time out, Oakedale threw the ball into Hockett in the upper corner and Blake Jones converged, with Austin closing. Hockett dribbled, pulled the ball up and pivoted, Blake Jones knocked the ball loose and Hockett sprinted after him and the ball, a whistle, foul on Hockett.

Gar/Pal possession, a few passes in, Austin Jones shot from the top of the key, bam, three points, Gar-Pal up 38-37, under 20 seconds left.

Oakesdale ball, more quick passes and Henning drove for a shot, no, but a foul.

The clock showed 11.6 seconds.

Henning, a senior, stepped to the free throw line and dribbled, once, twice, and the crowd in the University of Idaho-surplused wooden bleachers shushed.

Not a decibel in the gym.

Explosion! Tied 38-38 and Henning stood at the line for another free throw. He dribbled once, twice and it was again as quiet as Black Road out of Belmont.

He shot.

Explosion! Oakesdale up 39-38.

Gar-Pal inbounded to Austin Jones and he pushed the ball up the floor, the clock dying. 9, 8, 7, past halfcourt, 6, 5, a somewhat screen from Tanner Anderson, 4 and and Jones shot it from high above the the key.

Swish! 41-39 Vikings.

Was it over?

No, 1.5 seconds on the clock, timeout Oakesdale.

Crider kneeled in front of his team once again and drew on the dry-erase clipboard.

On the inbound, Castanon rolled the ball up the floor and Henning picked it up, put up the shot from before half-court, the buzzer sounded and the ball bounced off the backboard.


"They were pretty juiced afterward. A bunch of happy boys," Swinney said Tuesday. "They had to give it everything they had to get this game. Both teams worked as hard as they could possibly work, and both teams had some luck at times. It was two teams that really wanted it, the ball rolled our way and I'm really thankful for that."

What was the plan bringing in Paddock?

"To try to contain them, and keep in front of them," Swinney said. "On one of those rebounds, I didn't think he could jump that high."

So the Jones boys trap went according to plan?

"It did, that's what I mean by some luck," said Swinney. "Blake's our best defensive player. He's just an all-around basketball player."

What was the intention for Austin Jones at the end?

"To come off the screen to look to attack or pull up for a shot, or penetrate and dish, maybe get fouled," Swinney said. "The screen kind of worked."

Was the shot he took approved?

"He's got the green light on it," Swinney said. "I knew it was good as soon as it left his hand. For a sophomore to take a shot like that... it gave me a whole new respect for the young man."

Would the coach want any possessions in this game back?

"In the second half I wanted a lot of possessions back," Swinney said. "When they went into a zone, we just weren't running the offense right, not looking to attack. I think it was fatigue, we had a hard physical game against Pomeroy the night before. Not cutting into the zone, just staying on the perimeter. We weren't attacking like we want to."


"The air was probably a little thicker than most nights," Crider said Monday, on the magnitude of the game. "It obviously meant a lot to both teams. We had put ourselves in a great position to close it out."

Were there any possessions in the game he'd like to have back?

"Not really, just when they trapped Hockett, one more pivot and I might have called a timeout because we had timeouts to use. But by the time I really thought about it the ball was out."

What did he think of the night overall?

"It was a pretty well-played game, but the points were hard to come by," Crider said. "Points were at a real premium."


Blake Jones led all scorers with 16 points while Austin Jones had 12 and Ely Hawkins six.

For Oakesdale, Kieron Anderson scored 12 points, Castanon 11 and Hockett eight. Anderson got seven rebounds.

Evan Henning

--Cap Perry photo

Oakesdale senior Evan Henning drives. His two free throws with 11 seconds left in the game put Oakesdale up 39-38.

Jordan PaddockAustin JonesEvan Henning

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