Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Oakesdale girls beat Pomeroy, make final

 

March 12, 2020

The Oakesdale girls react after their 37-34 win over Pomeroy in the state 1B semifinals at Spokane Arena.

Three weeks ago, leading up to the Oakesdale girls district playoff game against Colton, Nighthawks Coach Heidi Perry told her team something.

Back in September, after she was hired to coach the varsity girls this year, she changed the passcode on her phone to 030720 – March 7, 2020, the day of the state basketball finals.

Perry had told the team all season they were one of the best teams in the state.

How did she know?

"I know who those girls are, what they have inside them," she said. "I don't think a lot of teams were prepared for the style of defense we played."

On March 7, Oakesdale led 15-13 at the end of the first quarter in the state championship game against Inchellium.

"We can't hear you!" chanted the large Inchellium crowd. "We can't hear you!"

Moments passed and a few Oakesdale students pointed to the scoreboard.

Just before the start of the third quarter, Coach Perry stood at courtside for a SWX television interview. She was asked what her team needed to do for the second half – Inchellium led 22-21.

"Block out," Perry said. "We gotta get our butt on somebody."

The Hornets soon opened a lead, 33-28.

Into the fourth quarter, Inchellium's 6'2" senior Mia Pakootas blocked a Jessie Reed shot, then a Bree Rawls shot; Hornets ball.

On Oakesdale's next possession, Reed missed two free throws, then Pakootas stuffed a Reed shot underneath.

Reed later stepped to the free throw line for Oakesdale in a one-and-one, still time, under a minute remaining.

She put up the first shot.

It bounced out and Pakootas came down with the rebound.

Two Hornets free throws followed to seal the game. Pakootas scored 12 points with 15 rebounds. Perry led Oakesdale with 12 points while LouEllen Reed scored nine.

"It was pretty incredible. It was a dream to get to the state championship," said Perry, referring to the introductions at the darkened Arena, the tunnel. "State basketball is way cooler than anything else."

"We just couldn't hit a bucket," said Coach Perry.

On the way to the title game, Oakesdale beat Lummi Nation in the first round, Neah Bay in the quarterfinals and in the semis, Pomeroy.

STATE SEMIFINAL: Oakesdale-

PomerOy IV

Pomeroy coach Tai Bye told the East Washingtonian newspaper at the end of the regular season that her team's goal was not to go undefeated this year, it was to win a state championship.

The reason neither came to fruition was the Oakesdale girls.

After Pomeroy lost the last two state 1B championship games to Colton, they returned multiple players in 2019-20 for a chance to get back one more time and win it.

This year, the Pirates were seeded no. 1. No.3-state-seed Oakesdale had not been to Spokane Arena since 2017. In the interim, they extended their streak of volleyball state titles to four. That ended last November – to Pomeroy.

Four months later, Oakesdale and Pomeroy met in the state basketball semifinals.

Oakesdale would shoot 15-of-16 free throws in the game, including 8-for-8 from Lizzy Perry. Freshman Jessie Reed went 5-of-6 and Bree Rawls 2-for-2. Pomeroy shot 12 of-19.

Oakesdale won 37-34.

"Winning the semifinal against Pomeroy, that was our championship. That was huge," said, Lizzy Perry, a senior and three-year starter. "This year was a complete mission for them."

Oakesdale's last two seasons ended in the District Nine second-place game, losing to Pomeroy.

This year, in the third quarter in the state semis at Spokane Arena, Perry answered a Pomeory shot with a long drive for 27-20 Oakesdale. Pirates sophomore Keely Maves then scored inside to cut the lead back to five points, then a Maves steal.

She raced up the floor on the dribble and Perry stole it back.

In the fourth quarter, Pomeroy center Maddy Dixon missed from two feet, the ball sitting on the rim before falling out. A jump ball, the Nighthawks' LouEllen Reed vs. Dixon, before a Pomeroy steal and a score by senior guard Heidi Heytvelt, 29-27.

Pomeroy still had not led since the start of the game.

Alyssa Wolf put up an airball from the top of the key, before the Pirates' Emma Severs went back in, a junior, the star for Pomeroy in last year's championship game before she injured her knee over the summer and missed all of volleyball season, only returning to basketball two weeks ago for the district championship game in Walla Walla -- where Pomeroy beat Oakesdale 50-39.

After a timeout in Spokane, with everything on the line, under a minute remaining, Perry drove and took the ball up for a shot – denied by Dixon. Pomeroy got the loose ball, time out Pirates, down 37-34 – 26 seconds to go.

The ensuing inbound pass went to Heytvelt; no one open, she called time out again; 16 seconds left.

Back on the floor, a collision after an inbound, foul on Oakesdale's Reed and Sydney Watko went to the line. She missed.

Then with 3.3 seconds left, a tie-up, jump ball, possession-arrow Pomeroy.

They still had a chance to force overtime.

On the inbound, Severs passed to Heytvelt in the corner, who threw the ball to Alyssa Wolf up high as Heytvelt set a screen for Severs. Wolf threw it back to Severs, open in the corner. The shot – to tie it – buzzer, no, off the front of the rim.

Dixon, a senior and three-year starter for Pomeroy went 3-for-13 from the field in the loss, scoring 16 points with eight rebounds. Maves, a sophomore, scored nine points with six rebounds.

Perry led Oakesdale with 14 points and Reed had 11. Oakesdale (19-8 on the year, including state) was headed to the state championship game. Pomeroy dropped to the third-fifth place game, their record, 23-2. They beat Mount Vernon Christian the next morning 48-26 to take third.

"The plan was to harass Emma Severs," said Coach Perry. "That really helped us because she hurt us in the district championship. We had somebody all over her, when she was in the game."

Severs was 0-for-3 from the field, playing 13 minutes.

What about Dixon, was she cold or was it the defense?

"It was our defense," said Perry. "We just kept rotating fresh on her, Lauren (Rawls) or Kaylee (Hinnenkamp). Jessie Reed coming to help. Putting a lot of pressure on their ballhandlers made it hard to pass into her... There was not a lot of offense in the game. We know each other so well. You kind of get to a stalemate."

 

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