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Tekoa-Oakesdale Nighthawks advance to second round in State 1B girls basketball tournament

Nerves, not emotions, were a concern for the Tekoa-Oakesdale girls on Thursday.

They didn’t think about a last Nighthawks hurrah before the “co-op divorce” that goes into effect at the end of the school year.

“That’s just small-town politics. You never really understand it,” senior Mattie Jo Johnson said about the things that led to Tekoa and Oakesdale splitting after 30 years and Tekoa aligning with Rosalia next fall.

The long-time issue that concerned the girls, for now, is that the Nighthawks hadn’t been to state since 2007.

And it showed.

Tekoa-Oakesdale shot 26 percent in the first half and led Neah Bay 24-23 before the girls settled down and pulled out a 56-43 win in a first-round game of the State 1B girls basketball tournament at the Arena.

“It was super exciting, really fun,” Johnson said after scoring 17 points. “I’m glad we got the first game jitters out of the way. Now on to the second game.”

Tekoa-Oakesdale (21-4) faces Mount Vernon Christian (25-3), a 60-37 winner over Taholah, in the first semifinal tonight at 7:15.

A key point came early in the third quarter when, with the Nighthawks up 30-26, Alexa Lindgren knocked down consecutive 3-pointers for a 10-point lead. Those were the only 3’s the team had. A bit later Olivia Pakootas, who had 14 points and nine rebounds, followed her own miss for an 11-point lead and then Cassandra Mendoza scored at the 2:33 mark to make it 41-29.

Tekoa-Oakesdale, which shot 40 percent after the break, didn’t help itself by going 10 of 16 from the free-throw line in the second half, but Neah Bay didn’t score beyond the 3:20 mark.

“We had to adjust to everything,” Johnson said. “After halftime we worked together and stuff started sinking. We made it happen.”