Mia Pakootas played even bigger than her 6-foot-2 frame would suggest.
The Inchelium senior dominated both ends of the floor, and the second-seeded Hornets outlasted No. 3 seed Oakesdale 46-34 to win the State 1B girls basketball tournament championship Friday night at the Arena. It was the Hornets’ first state title.
Pakootas ended her prep career with the Hornets (25-2) with a 12-point, 15-rebound performance, and she used her towering presence in the post to great effect with four blocked shots and three steals.
“It was a struggle, honestly,” Pakootas said. “But my teammates were able to lift me up. … There were so many people here supporting me.”
“Mia came out big, and that’s what our game plan was – play big,” senior Rylee Desautel said.
Oakesdale (19-8) pulled within 33-30 on a Jessie Reed free throw with just over 5 minutes left in the game. Zalissa Finley and Desautel scored buckets 20 seconds apart for Inchelium, however, and Pakootas’ two free throws stretched the margin to 39-30 with 3 1/2 minutes to play.
Lauryn Rawls and Reed scored on back-to-back possessions as the Nighthawks climbed within 39-34 with 1:51 left, but Finley hit a baseline jumper and made 1 of 2 free throws to give Inchelium a 42-34 lead.
“The younger players were really trying hard to get our six seniors to the state championship,” said junior Chenoa Erickson, who scored nine points. “It meant everything to us.”
Finley, a freshman, finished with eight rebounds, and eighth-grader AnnMarie Simpson scored 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting.
“(Erickson and Simpson) both did great,” Pakootas said. “Grace Kohler came in and with Chenoa were super supportive and really stepped up. They kept encouraging us.”
Lizzy Perry led Oakesdale with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. LouEllen Reed added nine points, and Jessie Reed hauled down 10 rebounds.
The Nighthawks jumped ahead early, scoring 13 of 18 points during one stretch to take a 13-7 lead in the first quarter. Oakesdale led 15-13 after one quarter.
A Perry 3-pointer gave the Nighthawks an 18-13 lead, but Inchelium ended the half scoring nine of the final 12 points of the quarter to head into halftime nursing a 22-21 lead.
A Desautel layup gave the Hornets a 31-23 advantage midway through the third period, but Oakesdale battled back within three following a LouEllen Reed layin and Julie Baljo’s 3-pointer. After Inchelium carried a 33-28 advantage into the fourth quarter, Oakesdale never got closer than three the rest of the way.
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