The Nixyaawii girls' basketball team was knocked from the state playoffs by the Joseph Eagles for the third year in a row Feb. 28, falling 54-30 in a game coach Jeremy Maddern said was eerily similar to their last meeting earlier this season.
"It was pretty much a blueprint of the last game," he said. "We shot pretty bad and they played really good defense. It really had a lot to do with them. They're the best team in the state for a reason. We went 1-for-12 from the line and we missed some open shots but most of our shots we had a hand in our face."
With 6-foot-3 Nikky Parks patrolling the paint, the Golden Eagles (24-4) found inside buckets nearly impossible to come by and senior post Mariah Watchman finished with just two points.
"They were keying on (Watchman) for sure," Maddern said. "With Parks in the middle it's really hard to get much on the inside."
Parks led the game with 23 points and Anna Bird added 18 for the Eagles (21-2).
Maddern said he was proud of the fact his team out rebounded Joseph, which had been a focal point for them all week. The Golden Eagles won that battle 33-20, led by eight from Kaneesha Perry.
Miriah Withers and Kristi Miller led Nixyaawii with seven points while Perry added six.
Maddern said he's confident this will be the last time his team is eliminated by Joseph as they graduate five seniors, including Parks and Bird.
"This is pretty much their last hurrah," he said.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles will bring several key players back next season.
"Obviously replacing Mariah is going to be difficult but we're bring four of five starters and seven of nine lettermen back," he said.
Next, the Joseph girls will return for the fourth consecutive year to Baker City for the final rounds of the state playoffs. Joseph begins March 5, when the girls play against Crane High (26-1) in a quarterfinal. Tip off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
"Our girls are excited about making another trip to Baker City," Joseph coach Lance Homan said. "They don't want to come home until late Saturday night."