The Joseph Eagles girls’ basketball squad captured their second straight Old Oregon League title after defeating Powder Valley, 31-26 in the district championship game on Saturday, Feb. 22 at Baker City.
Coach Lance Homan expressed pride at the Eagles’ district performance.
“I am thoroughly impressed and happy with our girls,” he said. “They went to Baker with a goal and they were able to achieve those goals.”
The Eagles didn’t win the championship without a fight, however, including a tough contest versus the Wallowa Cougars that saw JCS come out on the top end of a 52-48 score that paved the way for the championship game. Homan called the game a hard-fought battle against a very good Wallowa team.
The coach noted that he’s excited with the way the girls battled and never gave up as the game could have gone either way.
“They had chances to fold, but they stayed strong and focused and were able to come away with a victory,” he said.
Player extraordinaire, Sabrina Albee, laced 16 points with Camille Crenshaw launched 15 points into the bucket. Madelyn Nelson landed nine points, while Brianna Micka pocketed eight in the hoop.
“Camille really carried us the first half offensively as Sabrina was in foul trouble,” Homan said. “Crenshaw played the best I have seen her play all year.”
The Eagles faced Powder Valley the following day for one of their toughest matches of the year. Homan noted that because of excellent defense on both teams, both teams also struggled offensively.
The Badgers were much improved from the first time the Eagles played them. Homan said that Powder is well coached and were ready for everything Joseph threw at them.
“I was proud of how our girls stayed focused and they were able to pull it out,” he said.
Albee again nailed down 16 points while Nelson fired in six. 6. Micka made two clutch free throws with the clock running short to put the Eagles up by four.
“Those free throws were big under enormous circumstances,” Homan said. “If she doesn’t make those it is a two point game with little time left.”
The coach said the year thus far has been trying for the basketball program and the school with the loss of its gym due to fire in January.
“This district championship is so meaningful to our school, community, and team,” he said. “I am so happy for our girls and what this means to them. They have been through so much and to be able to come home with a district championship board that will be hung in the gym when it’s finished is priceless.”
To top the championship off, several Eagles players received league accolades. Albee snagged the Old Oregon League Player of the Year for the second season in a row. Nelson copped first-team all league honors for the second year in a row as well. Micka made the cut for all-league second-team honors.
The Eagles will play an undetermined opponent in the first round of the Division 1A State Championship playoffs in Enterprise on Friday, Feb. 28.