Oakesdale was the one team that found a way to beat Pomeroy this season.
The Nighthawks had the answer again Friday night.
Lizzy Perry scored 14 points, and the third-seeded Nighthawks held on late to beat top-seeded Pomeroy 37-34 and move on to Saturday’s championship game of the State 1B girls basketball tournament at the Spokane Arena.
Oakesdale (19-7) will play Inchelium in the title game at 9 p.m. Pomeroy (22-2) will square off against Mount Vernon Christian for third place at 1 p.m.
Keely Maves’ layup pulled Pomeroy within 35-34 with a minute left. After both teams failed to score on their next possessions, Perry made both ends of a 1-and-1 opportunity at the foul line to extend Oakesdale’s lead to three with 5 seconds remaining.
Sydney Watko was fouled on the ensuing inbounds pass, but she missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Pomeroy maintained possession, however, by scrambling for a tie-up on a loose ball. Emma Severs got an open look from the left corner, but her potential tying 3-pointer fell short as time expired.
The Nighthawks players rushed off the court to the awaiting arms and cheers of family and supporters in the crowd.
“There’s a lot of emotion there,” Oakesdale coach Heidi Perry said. “They’re pretty young. We have four seniors, but we put a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of freshmen and sophomores. … We have a lot of respect for (Pomeroy). We knew they would be the team to beat this year. But we felt like if we played defense, we could beat them.”
The Nighthawks successfully made Pomeroy’s offense one-dimensional. Maddy Dixon led the Pirates with 16 points, but she was forced into 3-for-13 shooting from the field as Oakesdale smothered her with double teams before and after she had the ball. The Pirates grew shy from the perimeter as the clock ticked away and the pressure mounted.
“We just have this mentality to play relentless defense,” Lizzy Perry said. “We want to shut down every person. We’re there for each other.”
Jessie Reed had 11 points, four rebounds and three steals for Oakesdale, which never trailed after taking a 4-3 lead early in the first quarter.
The Pirates, who split two games against Oakesdale during the regular season and beat the Nighthawks in the district championship, had lost in the state championship game each of the previous two years.
Dixon, who will play at NAIA University of Providence in Great Falls, Montana, next year, grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Maves finished with nine points and six rebounds.
Inchelium 67, Mount Vernon Christian 42: No. 2 seed Inchelium wore down the fifth-seeded Hurricanes with its harassing defense, and the Hornets (24-2) clinched a spot in the championship game with a one-sided victory.
Rylee Desautel made five 3-pointers en route to 24 points for the Hornets, who led 32-19 at halftime. Mia Pakootas had 14 points and nine rebounds, and Zalissa Finley added nine points and 12 rebounds.
Inchelium faced its opponent in the championship game earlier this year; the Hornets beat Oakesdale 72-48 in late December.
Josie Droog scored 26 points, including six 3-pointers, to pace Mount Vernon Christian (21-7).